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The feminine power in Spenser’s “The Faerie Queene”

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  1. Introduction.
  2. How Archimago tricks Redcrosse.
  3. The feminine power that Una has.
  4. The power that Duessa has over Redcrosse.
  5. Conclusion.

Throughout The Faerie Queene, there are female representations, the most prominent female characters are Una and Duessa, but there are also Errour, Lucifera, Night, Caelia and her three daughters. These female characters exude a certain form of power: Errour has physical power; Lucifera has power over a kingdom; Caelia has heavenly power; and Night has magical powers. Una has the heavenly power of truth in contrast to Duessa's power of falsehood and black magic. Although all these characters have individual power, they all share a common feminine power over men. Edmund Spenser's epic, The Faerie Queene, uses the female characters Una and Duessa to represent the path of good and the path of evil respectively; by pairing these characters with the Redcrosse Knight, Spenser illustrates the power, whether good or evil that women possess to compel men to action.

[...] After this battle Redcrosse and Una are meet Archimago whom uses the feminine power to break Redcrosse from Una. Archimago tricks Redcrosse by using his black magic to create an image of Una, in which she is depicted as lustful. When Redcrosse sees this image of Una and another man in inappropriate relations, he is nearly compelled to kill her. Spenser states, cleane dismayd to see so uncouth sight, / And halfe enragèd at her shamelesse guise, / He thought have slaine her in his fierce despight:? ( 1.1 .50). [...]


[...] The House of Pride is Lucifera's house in which there begins a procession of Lucifera's counsel men; Lucifera demonstrates her feminine power over men in the rule of her kingdom. Lucifera is the Queen of her kingdom, therefore all men must obey her, and even her counsel men are subservient. Bones of men lay at her feet as she sits in her throne, but unlike a man she does not use force to rule, but rather political cunning. While at the House of Pride Redcrosse must battle Sansjoy, near the conclusion of this battle, Duessa cloaks Sansjoy in a cloud of night to save him, and thereafter Night comes and the trio retreat in Hades. [...]

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