Filmography In Arthurian Movies - Research Paper

1865 words - 8 pages

The subject that I have decided to focus my filmography on is the character of Merlin or Merlin Ambrosius. This character is first conceived into literary existence by Geoffrey of Monmouth, who combined existing stories of Myrddin Wyllt (or Merlinus Caledonensis), a North Brythonic prophet and madman with no connection to King Arthur, with tales of the Romano-British war leaderAmbrosiusAurelianus to form the composite figure he calledMerlin Ambrosius, who is now known simply as Merlin. This fictional figure representing a magician and a so-called prophet has been prevalent in both literature and cinematic works since long before the 11th century. Therefore, it can be reasonably concluded that creators of literary pieces have deemed him a very prominent figure of the Arthurian Legend.

Merlins character has been the most intriguing of all Arthurian personalities in terms of his identity. Medieval manuscripts depict him in various forms, the role of a prophet, at others a magician, or even a cleric. These subtleties make it difficult to paint an accurate picture of Merlin or rather the true Merlin.

Geoffrey of Monmouth had Myrddin Wyllt in mind when he wrote his earliest surviving work, the Prophetiae Merlini (Prophecies of Merlin), which he claimed were the actual words of the legendary poet and madman. This collection of writings can be regarded as the first historical source for the man known as Merlin. However, Prophetiae Merlini has not been able to give us much detail about the history and upbringing of Merlin. His next work, Historia Regum Britanniae, attempted to provide a clearer depiction of the character, likening him in personality to Aurelius Ambrosius, taken from Nennius' Historia Brittonum. His last work Vita Merlini sheds light on Merlins abilities to foretell the future and manipulate Arthur to seek his way through trials and tribulations to become King of Britain.

Later accounts of Merlin can be found in pieces by Robert do Boron, Thomas Mallory and others which include works such as the Old French Poem Merlin, Le Morte dArthur etc.

The reason I chose the films undermentioned is because all of them try to twist and play with Merlins character while retaining his general purpose in the context of the plot.

1. Disneys The Sword in the Stone (1963) Wolfgang Reigerman
The Sword in the Stone is an animated classic from Disney which portrays King Arthur as a young boy placed under the tutorship of Merlin, who is shown as a wise but quirky old man. Although the film's target audience is young children, there are many themes discussed which are characteristic of a good individual in general. If we put the comical part aside, critical traits of a person of noble character are taught to young Arthur by Merlin, such as showing justice and love towards fellow peers and community members. Merlin also embeds into Arthur's mind logic and problem solving, which are two skills that when put together can transform a person and ra...

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