The Loathly Damsel
Kundrie (or Kundry), the ‘‘Grail Messenger,’’ a character
who first appears in the eleventh-century romance by Chrétien
de Troyes that developed the legend of the Holy Grail, Le Conte
del Graal, also known as Perceval. One would imagine that the
holder of the Grail would be saint-like, but Chrétien de Troyes
describes her as ‘‘a damsel more hideous than could be pictured
outside hell.’’ Wolfram von Eschenbach, who elaborated
on de Troyes’ work, refers to her in his work as ‘‘Kundrie la Sorcière.’’
Kundry, in Richard Wagner’s music-drama ‘‘Parsifal,’’
represents sin.