The most important and knowledgeable people in history are not born with their
talents or contributions. They, as everyone does, need a person to give them the option
and the encouragement to achieve their fate. In The Crystal Cave, Mary Stewart portrays
the life of Merlin, the main character, as he grows into a reputable individual of the time.
Merlin begins his childhood as a boy who not many care for. Through the help of some
important people, such as Tremorinus, Galapas, and Ambrosius, Merlin develops into a
intellectual and knowledgeable individual.
Sometimes all it takes to advance in knowledge is a little space. Merlin is already
a knowledgeable man when he meets Tremorinus, a master engineer, who openly
welcomes Merlin into his workshop. Merlin remarks on how Tremorinus, “allows me
to learn all I can from him, gives me space in the workshops and material to
experiment with.” (181). Merlin is able to learn a myriad of information while in
Tremorinus\' presence. This space that Tremorinus gives Merlin is the right tool to entitle
Merlin to advance intellectually.
Some mentors provide the space for knowledge to grow, but others are more
effective because they set the foundation for the knowledge to develop. The personage
who is the most efficacious and who bestows the true idea of knowledge on Merlin is
Galapas. One day Merlin travels through the forest and stumbles on what looks like an
inhabited cave. In the cave Merlin meets Galapas for the first time. Galapas teaches
Merlin an innumerable amount of information, but he, "hardly thought of [his] time with
him as lessons." (54). The information that Merlin receives is more useful than the
subjects of languages and geometry that he learns from Demetrius, his first tutor. Merlin
learns how to; collect herbs for medicine, study dead animals to learn of their organs,
stop bleeding, set broken bones, and cleanse a wound to stop infection. Merlin loves his
visits with Galapas. Merlin states, “Whenever I could, once and sometimes twice in the
week, I rode up the valley to the cave.” (53). The spark of interest, to obtain
knowledge, that Galapas creates develops Merlin into the knowledgeable individual he is
known to be.
Many people contribute to the intellectual development of an individual,
but others provide the rare opportunities to procure this wisdom. Ambrosius provides
Merlin the chance to obtain much knowledge from his teachers and from his own
experiences. Ambrosius arranges for Belasius, a proficient mathematician and
astronomer, to tutor Merlin. Belasius challenges Merlin by giving him difficult problems
to solve. Merlin comments on how he, "walked through the problems he set me as if the
field of knowledge were an open meadow with a pathway leading plain across it for all to
see." (135). Merlin excels at the effective challenges Belasius presents him. These
challenges are an effective way for Merlin to learn difficult subjects. Belasius also
inadvertently introduces Merlin into other aspects of different and secret cultures. One
day Merlin stumbles onto Belasius and others performing a sacrifice for their secret and
illegal religion. Merlin should be punished because he observes this ritual, but
Ambrosius allows him to do as he chooses so Merlin can find his one true God.
Ambrosius also allows Merlin the personal freedom to adventure on his own to achieve
knowledge through his own experiences. Merlin has permission to walk around the town
and speak to and learn from whoever he likes. One idea he is curious about is how the
"standing stones," (182), were lifted into place. Merlin discovers the answer from a blind
man who sings songs to the public. Merlin learns information from the songs of the blind
man on a variety of subjects including, "...the men of old who had raised the standing
stones." (184). Sometimes the access to knowledge and the gift of personal freedom are
all it takes to develop one’s true character and Merlin\'s true character is of an intelligent
human being.
Merlin is a remarkable individual who survives the steep climb on the journey of
life. He is able to endure this quest because of the influence of particular people. Their
influence help Merlin become a knowledgeable individual who has an everlasting
position in the Arthurian Legend. Merlin has talents and unique characteristics which
everyone can look upon with respect and admiration.
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