Amfortas, King of the Grail, went to fight Klingsor, who had applied to join the Order of the Grail and and even castrated himself in order to comply with their rigorous code of chastity. However the knights of the Grail rejected him, and he is now bent on destroying them. Kundry, who once laughed at Jesus on the cross and has since wandered restlessly from age to age, seduced the approaching Amfortas at Klingsor´s behest. Klingsor then seized the holy spear that pierced Jesus on the cross, the two relics of the Holy Grail are this spear and the cup from which Jesus drank at the last supper. With the spear, Klingsor´s inflicted a painful wound on Amfortas that can only be healed by the spear. However, the knights of the Grail must win back the spear before this can come to pass. Only a pure fool “made wise through pity” can accomplish this.
Parsifal appears in the Grail´s domain, where only those called to serve the Grail are allowed. Gurnemanz, a comrade in arms of Titurel, the first King of the Grail, therefore takes the young man who has run away from his mother to Amfortas´castle. He believes he may have found the “pure fool” in him. Parsifal watches as the suffering Amfortas begs to be relieved of the duty of uncovering the Grail, which will give new life not only to the knights of the Grail, but also to Amfortas himself. Amfortas wants only to die. However, he is obliged to submit and uncover the Grail. Parsifal remains silent, thus exasperating Gurnemanz, who sends him away. Parsifal comes to Klingsor’s realm, where he withstands the seductive charms of the flower girls. Only Kundry, forced to act by Klingsor, is able to hold him. However, when she kisses him, he suddenly understands what happened to Amfortas and pushes her away: he has become wise through pity. When Klingsor hurls the holy spear at him, he seizes it, causing Klingsor’s realm to collapse. He promises Kundry salvation. After arduous years of wandering, on Good Friday Parsifal again finds the Grail’s domain, where he meets Gurnemanz. Kundry is also present and is baptized by Parsifal. In the temple of the Grail, Parsifal heals Amfortas’ wound and becomes the new King of the Grail.