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The faces of the Goddess.

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Maggie Walker Mr. McConnell ENG 4A1 December 21, 2001 The faces of the Goddess Throughout history women have empowered themselves by taking on many different titles and roles. This can be seen in the two allegorical fantasy novels The Mists of Avalon and Forest house, both written by Marion Zimmer Bradley. In both novels we see the female protagonists take on many different roles as they move throughout the different stages of their lives. In the novels it is believed that the Goddess shows herself in every woman. The stages and roles held by the two priestesses, Morgaine and Eilan, represent the different forms the Goddess takes. Morgaine shows the Goddess within her when she acts as the Maiden or Virgin huntress, the Mother of all men and as the Old Death-crone. These forms of the Goddess show themselves in Eilan as the Maiden, the loving Mother and the Lady of Ravens or Death-crone. Both Morgaine's and Eilan's actions throughout the novels show that they represent the three faces of the Goddess: the Virgin Maiden, the lover of men and gods; the Mother, life-giver and caretaker of men; and the Old Death-crone, killer of men. To begin, Morgaine represents the Virgin Maiden, the lover of the God and Summer-king. This is shown when Morgaine is thinking to herself about her past while weaving a spell to kill Avalloch. She is planning to set her lover Accolon on the throne in the place of Avalloch after the king Uriens dies. Morgaine speaks in her mind: Years ago she had been the Virgin Huntress, blessing the Horned One and sending him forth to run with the deer and to conquer or die as the Goddess might decree. ...read more.


Throughout her entire life it was he who she focused on. Arthur was her prodigy child, who would to grow up to be the greatest king that ever reined preserving Avalon and herself. Arthur is now an old man but despite the changes that time has brought Morgaine still comes to him as the Mother in his final moment of need. She cradles him in her arms like a child and comforts him, wiping away the tears he sheds. As the Mother she provides for him the last necessity he will ever need: Love. Another example of the Mother Goddess showing herself in Morgaine is demonstrated earlier on when Morgaine is in Camelot speaking with Gwenhwyfar. After Gwenhwyfar tells the story of the Virgin Mary Morgaine ponders on the topic: "I myself gave up my maidenhood to the Horned One and bore a son to the King Stag... will Gwydion set me on the throne in Heaven as Mother of God?" (Page 738) This is important because it shows that Morgaine has made a connection between herself and the biblical figure, Mary. She sees that they were both virgins made to be mothers by a God. She feels that her son may become a God just as Jesus did and she will be like Mary. Later on in the novel Morgaine realises that the image of the Virgin or Mother Mary is just another form of the Goddess. This is significant because when Morgaine sees herself as Mary she is actually envisioning herself as the Mother Goddess that is within every woman. ...read more.


Eilan demonstrates this later on when her rebel brother is killed by her bodyguard for hitting her. After he dies her cousin Dieda proclaims, " Is this your reward for faithfulness to our people? I would have willingly given my own life-" (Page 382). Huw the bodyguard had been taught to kill all that violate the High Priestess and was carrying out Eilans orders when he did so. Like the Death-crone, Eilan kills indiscriminately. All men will eventually die by the hand of the Goddess even those she favours. Although Cyneric was her brother he had to pay for his sin in the appropriate manner. Forsaking a High Priestess is comparable to Kevin forsaking the Goddess; both sacrileges must be punished. Eilan also shows that she has the power of the Death-crone to decide whom lives and who dies. Dieda would have gladly given her life to pay for Cyneric's wrongdoing, yet Eilan let her live and Cyneric die. Overall, Eilan represents the Death-crone, killer of men. Throughout both novels Morgaine and Eilan embody and show characteristics of the old Death-crone to those around them. In conclusion, both Morgaine and Eilan act in ways that show they represent the many forms the Goddess takes. In Marion Zimmer Bradley's masterpieces The mists of Avalon and Forest House we are confronted with female characters that go beyond the roles woman were expected to play. The two priestess's looked inside themselves and found the power to be the Goddess on Earth. These novels show that if one believes in themselves and the Goddess inside them, they can be anyone and do anything. This lesson can be applied to everyone regardless of gender. Walker 1 ...read more.

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