Merlin Essay

Throughout the ages Merlin has been depicted as a druid, bard, necromancer, magician and prophet. Though we may never know if any of his fictitious interpretations are truthful, we speculate he was nothing more than a Celtic bard who lived in the 500’s near Solway Frith. It is said that this strange poet, going under the alias of Myrddin, was a madman and a prophet. Myrddin’s claim to fame was creating so much tension between the British chieftains of his time that they fought each other in the Battle of Arderydd. After the battle Myrddin supposedly goes insane and wanders into the forest of Celidon. He is later found dead on a riverbank nearby.

The mythical Merlin has a far deeper story. Demons decided that too many people were escaping their grasp, so they decided to engender an evil being to remedy their situation. They gave this being many abilities, such as prophetic visions, and the ability to call upon the arcane powers of magic. What these demons oversaw was the intervention of a priest named Blaise. Blasie discovered the demon’s plot when one of the nuns was with child, and there was no father. Blaise told his superiors who in turn sentenced the nun to death on charges of heresy. Blaise would have none of this, since the nun had done nothing wrong. He locked her in a tower as a precaution in case anything did happen, but when the boy was born he was immediately baptized annulling the evil placed upon him by the demons. Blaise named this child Merlin.

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When Blaise’s superiors learned of Merlin’s birth, they again sentenced her to death on more charges of heresy. Because of Merlin’s gifts he was able to talk to and console his mother, he told her that no harm would come to her as long as she allowed him to speak at the trial. Although only five days old, Merlin spoke so forcefully at his mother’s trial that she was acquitted of all charges set against her by the church.

Before Merlin was born there was a struggle amongst the British nobles. King Constans had died and an evil man named Vortigern took the throne. Constans’ children, Uther Pendragon and Ambrosius Aurelianus, fled to the court of his cousin, Budic I of Brittany. There Ambrosius Aurelianus and his brother Uther were raised in Budic’s court until they could raise an army against Vortigern.
After the battle that left Vortigern king, there was no stronghold for Vortigern to rule from, so he set out to build a castle. Vortigern chose a location on the Salisbury plains on wich to build his fortress. There was a problem, every time the masons built up the wall it would fall over in the night. Vortigern consulted his court astrologers. They told him that the walls would not stand until the blood of a child with no father wetted the foundation of the castle. Vortigern and his forces knew of only one such child, Merlin.

Merlin was four years old when he was abducted from his mother by Vortigern’s forces. Along the journey back to Vortigern, Merlin astounded his captors with his prophecies so much that they spared his life. Merlin became the head consul to Vortigern, and was a great asset to him.
On the problem of the castle construction, Merlin told Vortigern that the walls were falling due to a subterranean struggle between a red and a white dragon shaking the earth on the Salisbury plains. Sure enough, the dragons soon brought their fight above ground for all to see, with the white triumphing over the red. Merlin said the defeat of the red dragon symbolized the imminent demise of Vortigern. Soon after the castle was finished, troops lead by Uther and Ambrosius Aurelianus raided Vortigern’s castle, resulting in the death of Vortigern and Ambrosius Aurelianus.

Uther was proclaimed king and Merlin was once again elected as his consul. Merlin felt sorry for the death of Ambrosius Aurelianus and conjured stones from Ireland and formed the “Giant’s Ring” or what we now call Stonehenge. It is said that a comet in the shape of a dragon shone in the sky the night of Ambrosius Aurelianus’s burial, and as a tribute to his brother, Uther added “Pendragon” to his name.

Merlin served Uther diligently. Merlin designed and built Uther’s castle using nothing but his magic. Merlin also built the round table for the purest knights of the kingdom to sit. At the instatement of the round table, Uther held a huge festival for the knights applying to be one of the Knights of the Round Table.
They came from all across Britain accompanied by their wives. One such knight by the name of Gorlois, brought with him his wife Ygerna. As soon as Uther saw Ygerna, he fell in love with her. When Gorlois heard of this he lead an army to kill Uther, that ended up with Gorlois being slain before he could even get near him.
Uther was still in love with Ygerna so he had Merlin give him the image of Gorlois. Ygerna received Uther as Gorlois and conceived the future King Arthur. When Ygerna learned of the death of her husband, she had no choice but to marry Uther. When Arthur was born he was given to Sir Hector, who was to bring him up as his own to rid Arthur of any noble pride. Unbeknownst to the people it was Merlin’s plan to bring Arthur in as king by performing a miracle he prophesized would bring a great king to power.

When Uther died, Merlin coaxed Nimu, the lady of the lake, to give him the magical sword Excalibur that Merlin encased in a stone slab outside a church near Sir Hector’s home. At an athletic competition, one of Arthur’s brothers broke his sword, so Arthur was assigned for running home to get a new one. On his way he passed the sword in the stone, and proceeded to pull it out, not knowing this was the magical Excalibur destined to the great king. Upon bringing it back to the competition he was hailed as the new king.

Merlin’s demise comes about when he falls deeply in love with Nimue, the lady of the lake. He teaches her how to summon up the arcane forces and use them in spells. Merlin taught her so well that she soon became even more powerful then Merlin. She gradually became tired of the old man and decided to rid herself of his presence. Nimue proceeded to cast a spell that imprisoned Merlin in an oak tree, thus ending Merlin’s legacy.

Mythology Essays


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