Percival or Perceval is one of King Arthur's legendary Knights of the Round Table.
There are many versions of Percivale's birth. In most accounts he is of royal birth; his father is either Sir Gawain or King Pellinore. His mother, mostly unnamed, is sometimes recorded as Lady Ragnell.
Percivale is often portrayed as an innocent; he grew up uninitiated in the ways of men in the Welsh forests until he was 15. Legend has it that Percivale was originally a thief who Lancelot took under his wing. After showing the virtues of a knight, he was knighted and invited to join the Knights of the Round Table.
Percivale went to become one of the "greats" in Arthurian legend when he was one of only two (or three depending on the source) knights to find the Holy Grail (the other being Sir Galahad). He is also credited with killing the Red Knight.
In Welsh, his name is Peredur. His sister is Dindrane.
In original versions of the story Percivale is the only knight who achieved the Grail quest; subsequently his stature is matched (or usurped) by Sir Galahad. Percivale eventually went on to marry Lady Blanchefleur and become the King of Cartomek after healing the Fisher King; the story recurs as a potent metaphor in some modern retellings, particularly in T.S. Eliot's epic poem The Waste Land and the film The Fisher King.
Chrétien de Troyes wrote the first literary retelling of the Percivale story, as Le Roman de Perceval ou le Conte du Graal. Wolfram von Eschenbach's Parzival and Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur are two other famous accounts of his adventures.
He eventually became the subject of Richard Wagner's opera Parsifal.
Large portions of this text was originally taken from: Wikipedia. (2004). Percival (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Percival). Retrieved Sept. 25, 2004.