Morgan le Fay /ˈmɔːrɡən lə ˈfeɪ/, alternatively known as Morgan le Faye, Morgen, Morgaine, Morgain, Morgana, Morganna, Morgant, Morgane, Morgne, Morge, Morgue, and other names, is a powerful enchantress in the Arthurian legend of the 6th century AD. Not to confused with Goddess Morrígan from Celtic pre-history c.15th century BC.
Early works featuring Morgan do not elaborate her character beyond her role as a enchantress or sorceress. She became both more prominent and morally ambivalent in later texts, in particular in cyclical prose works such as the Lancelot-Grail and the Post-Vulgate Cycle, in which she turns into a dangerous enemy of King Arthur and antagonist of some tales.
The earliest accounts of Geoffrey of Monmouth in Vita Merlini and Gerald of Wales refer to Morgan in conjunction with the Isle of Apples (Avalon) to which the fatally wounded Arthur was carried off after the Battle of Camlann. To the former, in early chivalric romances by Chrétien de Troyes, she also figures as a healer. Her character may be partially derived from that of the Welsh goddess Modron and other myths. She is often said to be the daughter of Arthur's mother Lady Igraine and her first husband Gorlois, so that Arthur, the son of Igraine and Uther Pendragon, is her half-brother. She becomes an apprentice of Merlin and a vindictive adversary of Arthur and the knights of the Round Table, with a special hatred for his wife Queen Guinevere. In Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur and elsewhere, she is unhappily married to King Urien, with whom she has the son Ywain, and her sisters include Morgause. She is also wanton and sexually aggressive, with many lovers including Merlin and Accolon, and an unrequited love for Lancelot. Morgan is an indirect instrument of Arthur's death, though she eventually reconciles with him and retains her original role, serving as one of the sorcerous queens who take him on his final journey to Avalon.