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. [...]
[...] When Redcrosse and Una are in the House of Holiness, which is a direct contrast to Redcrosse's time in the House of Pride, other female characters demonstrate feminine power over men. In the House of Holiness Redcrosse meets Caelia and her three daughters: Fidelia, Speranza, and Charissa. There are implications of the feminine power in the house of holiness because Redcrosse is a student while Fidelia, Speranza, and Charissa are his teachers and he must obey them. Furthermore, Redcrosse is taken by Mercie to the seven-beaded men; this instance displays feminine power because the seven-beaded men respect and acknowledge Mercie so greatly that they humbly take in Redcrosse to further teach him about faith. [...]
[...] Duessa exercises her feminine power to engage in lustful play with Redcrosse after she finds he has left the House of Pride. She finds Redcrosse resting beside a fountain, though she is mad at him for leaving her, they quickly divert into a more pleasurable discussion. Redcrosse is completely absorbed with Duessa that he, “Pourd out in loosnesse on the grassy grownd, / Both carelesse of his health, and of his ( 1.7 .7). Duessa now has complete control of Redcrosse; he is acting in ways unfit for a knight and is not being observant of his surroundings. [...]
[...] The feminine power that Una has over men is evident when she is by herself in the woods and a lion comes after her. Spenser states that, have attonce devoured her tender corse; / But to the pray when as he drew more ny, / His bloudie rage asswaged with remorse, / And with the sight amazed, fogat his furious forse” ( 1.3 .5). The lion, which most commonly represents male courage, was primed to eat Una, but once he gets close enough he is so amazed with her that his rage dissipates entirely. [...]
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