The Presence of Percival Employing a multitude of memories, reflections and ultimate confessions from Lancelot Lamar, the author uses Percival as a tool to illustrate the hero?s fall from grace as a result of society?s aberration. Although the priest-psychologist merely ?stand[s] by the window? (1) for a majority of the monologue, Lancelot?s verbalization is a direct result of Percival?s presence. One might argue that Lancelot would tell his story regardless of Percy, but without his proximity and persistence, the reader would have no one with whom to identify. Initially, Percival seems to have a distinct function in Walker Percy?s Lancelot. It is assumed that the priest and Lance will engage in continuing dialogue, however, this presumption is drastically altered. Few specific details are learned of Percival, yet this does not lessen his overall impact. The reader is aware of the history between the two, verified by the main character?s line, ?It?s been years and you?ve changed a great deal, but I know you all right.? (3).
Is it completely necessary to ?know? every character? Certainly it is not. What we do not know about Percival merely adds the element of mystique.
The actual kinship between the Lancelot and the priest is one of constant compliment to the other?s words. For example, at one point Lance senses that something is bothering his friend. The protagonist inquires, ?Are you in love?? (5).
... the sword Excalibur and is scabbard. Lancelot (also spelled Lancelot and sometimes called Lancelot of the Lake and Prince of Benoioc ... the similarities and differences between King Arthur and Sir Lancelot is one aspect that keeps Arthurian legend fascinating many ... knights captive, including several knights of the Round Table. Lancelot challenged the knight, who was called Sir Turquine, during ...
This insight illustrates the bond the two share, and how it presently appears to be closer than ever. Lancelot asks the question because he does not clearly understand ?love? himself. His sense of loving someone has been entirely distorted and corrupted by his society. Lamar does not exclusively present the argument of love; in fact, Percival questions his friend to the same extent. Lance replies, ?Why are you always asking me about love? Have you been crossed up too?? (129).
The dominant conversationalist is a position that bounces back and forth almost in a pattern.
Percival?s predominant duty is to allow Lance to voice his feelings that have been kept inside. As soon as the hero begins with the bulk of his monologue, the reader is aware of Percival?s purpose. For instance, Lance once remarks, ?As I say, seeing you allowed me to remember the circumstances under which I discovered my wife had deceived me…carnal relations with another man.? Lance does not completely comprehend why he is opening up to his friend, but the memories continue to dispense. Lamar explains how there is an underlying need to talk to Percy, becoming easier as he continues. The motif of ?opening up? continues throughout, and falls within a constant pattern. Percival is the reason for Lance?s development as time progresses. The role of the psychologist is taking effect in the hero?s favor. The final scene sums up Walker Percy?s intentions for Percival. The priest is finally answering Lance?s questions, however, after a lengthy digression it seems somewhat unneeded. Although after desperately trying to incorporate religion into helping Lancelot, Percival is just concerned with aiding his companion, putting religion aside. After hearing, first hand, about all Lance has experienced, one must admire Percival?s steadfastness. The final scene exemplifies the juxtaposition between Lance and Percy, and how it is Percival?s presence that has a positive affect on the hero. With the final question standing, ?Is there anything you wish to tell me before I leave?? (279), the reader is expelled with the echo of a single, foreshadowing utterance ? ?Yes.?