Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts




Both works, Chretien's and Wolfram’s, are literary masterpieces of the Middle Ages. The story of the Grail can be placed along side of Dante's Commedia in symbolical content. Like most medieval writings the Grail romances are full of allegory, remote allusions to symbolic relationships, and striking analogies, all of which leave us with a sense of wonder and amazement. First of all we wonder whether or not a connection, which we might find symbolical was put there accidentally or not; we wonder whether we are seeing too much or too little symbolic value. It is characteristic of the authors never to tell us when they are using symbolism and when they are not. Wolfram does not say that the three drops of blood on the snow, which remind Parzival of his beloved wife, are symbolical of three characteristics of his wife, or whether there is any meaning in the number three, or whether the colors red on white have any special significance. He leaves it up to the reader, or, rather in medieval times, the hearer, to discover whatever he may. Thus in order to understand the work itself we must discuss the characteristics of symbolism in general and medieval symbolism in particular.