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Essay about The Faerie Queene by Edmond Spenser

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In Edmund Spenser’s epic romance titled, The Faerie Queene, the author takes the reader on a journey with the naive Red Crosse Knight on his route to finding holiness. On the Red Crosse Knights journey to holiness, he encounters two very different women that affect his travels to becoming a virtuous man. The first woman the Red Crosse encounters is Una, a woman that represents innocents, purity, and truth. Una is beautiful and graceful yet appears to be the strong force that leads the Red Crosse Knight to a more virtuous life. To oppose the truth in Una, Spenser creates Duessa a juxtaposition to Una’s personality. The Red Crosse encounters trouble when he is deceived by the wicked Duessa who represents duplicity, falsehood and deceitfulness. Duessa, like Una appears to be very beautiful but her looks, like her personality is deceiving. Unlike Una, Duessa’s beauty is only skin-deep, a detail that the Red Cross Knight learns the hard way. Throughout the epic romance, Spenser depicts the representation of the women of the sixteenth century through a variety of female figures. While women like Una and later Caelia and her daughters represent the grace and faithfulness in women, other figures like Duessa and Errour represent the falsehood and evil of women. While Spenser created two very different types of women in The Faerie Queene: Book One, the two types of women are similar in the sense that they appear to be very strong at times and very weak at others.
Because a woman was in reign during the sixteenth century, women, for the first time, had power within society. While many authors of the sixteenth century depicted women as simply damsels in distress, Spenser portrays the two main women in the piece as potentially strong women....


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..., Jr., Harry. "Sexual And Religious Politics In Book I Of Spenser's "Faerie Queene.” E English Literary Renaissance 34.2 (2004): 201-242. Academic Search Premier. Web.
Broaddus, James W. "A Galenic Reading Of The Redcrosse Knight's "Goodly Court" Of Fidessa/Duessa." Studies In Philology 109.3 (2012): 192-198. Academic Search Premier. Web.
Jeyathurai, Dashini Ann. “Exorcizing Female Power in The Faerie Queene :The Treatment of Duessa in the Book of Holiness” . Lethbridge Undergraduate Research Journal. 3.2. 2008 Web.
Jordan, Richard Douglas. "Una Among The Satyrs The Faerie Queene, 1.6." Modern Language Quarterly 38.2 (1977): 123. Academic Search Premier. Web. 22 Apr. 2014.
Spenser, Edmund. "The Faerie Queen, Book 1." Greenblatt, Stephen. The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Ninth Edition: Volume B. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2012. 781-934. Print.



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