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Merlin the Political, Spiritual and Romantic Shape-Shifter in Robert de Boron’s, Joseph of Arimathea, Merlin, Perceval: The Trilogy of Prose Romances and Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene

Gloria Roxanne Buckley


Merlin as an allegorical character has been dwelling in caves and forests casting spells and operating as a political, spiritual and romantic shape-shifter within our minds for centuries.     Merlin’s shape-shifting and clairvoyance dates back to Greek mythology with Tiresias who shape-shifts gender and sees all as a blind seer.  Much like Merlin our early seer sees the future as it is happening and offers truthful forecasts of fate (Schutz 277).  An examination of the Trilogy and The Faerie Queene shall reveal that Merlin whether rooted in Christian scripture or Christian Cabalistic Imperialistic white magic has remained throughout the centuries as a truly omnipresent shape-shifter through his props and has created a legend of spiritual, political and romantic transcendence. Robert and Spenser utilized Merlin for different purposes, Robert to foster Christianity and Spenser to foster the strength of the monarchy.  Ultimately, both writers created a humanistic character that would change the course of events.


Political; Spiritual; Romantic; Shape-Shifter

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