Speculah:The Questing Beast Theory
The Questing Beast, or the Beast Glatisant (Barking Beast), is a monster from Arthurian legend. It is the subject of quests undertaken by famous knights such as King Pellinore, Sir Palamedes, and Sir Percival. This theory posits its legend may have influenced Kyubey's design and naming.
Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur contains one of the earliest accounts of the Beast's legend: King Arthur sees the beast drinking from a pool just after he wakes from a disturbing dream that foretells the destruction of the realm by Mordred, his son by his sister Morganna. He is then approached by King Pellinore who confides that it is his family quest to hunt the beast. Merlin reveals the Questing Beast had been borne of a human woman, a princess who lusted after her own brother. She slept with a devil who had promised to make the boy love her; but the devil manipulated her into accusing her brother of rape. Their father had him torn apart by dogs as punishment. Before he died, however, he prophesied that his sister would give birth to an abomination which would make the same sounds as the pack of dogs that was about to kill him. The beast has been taken as a symbol of the incest, violence, and chaos that eventually destroys Arthur's kingdom.
Malory describes the Beast as having the head and neck of a serpent, the body of a leopard, the haunches of a lion and the feet of a hart. Its name comes from the great noise it emits from its belly, a barking like "thirty couple hounds questing". 'Glatisant' is related to the French word glapissant, 'yelping' or 'barking', especially of small dogs or foxes. The Perlesvaus, however, offers an entirely different depiction of the Questing Beast than the more popular account above; it is described instead it as pure white, smaller than a fox, and beautiful to look upon -- quite similar to the depiction of Kyubey in Madoka Magica. The noise from its belly is the sound of its offspring who tear the creature apart from the inside; the author takes the beast as a symbol of Christ, destroyed by the followers of the Old Law, the Twelve Tribes of Israel. Gerbert de Montreuil provides a similar vision of the Questing Beast in his continuation of Perceval, the Story of the Grail, though he describes it to be "wondrously large" and interprets the noise and subsequent gruesome death by its own offspring as a symbol of impious churchgoers who disturb the sanctity of Mass by talking.
According to this theory, the name Kyubey (キュゥべえ, Kyuubee) could be regarded as a transliteration of the Questing Beast's initials, Q (Kyuu) and B (Bee, pronounced 'bay'), or alternatively a pronunciation of Qu and Be. The naming of the original creature may have influenced the design of Kyubey's function as a contractor of Puella Magi -- that is, a giver of quests. The reputation of malice that he's garnered similarly coincides with his precedent.
Incidentally, in episode 8, Homura interprets the name Kyubey as an abbreviation of the word 'incubator.'
- The shape of Kyubey's ears and head may be a symbol of the uterus.