Filling In The Gaps Women As A Compliment To The Redcrosse

Filling In The Gaps: Women As A Compliment To The Redcrosse Knight?s Morality

Edmund Spenser?s Faerie Queen is stocked full of overtly allegorical characters. Nearly every character in the poem represents a certain theme or motif, with ripe symbolism in their actions, appearance, and even their names. Spenser makes little attempt to veil these thematic metaphors, going so far as to call the characters by their given allegorical content: for instance, the knights Sansloy, Sansjoy, and Sansfoy are named for their lack of law, joy, and faith, respectively. However, when reading more deeply, we can understand allegorical meaning on more subtle levels as well. There are many female characters in this first book of Spenser?s epic, with individual symbolism attributed to each. These range from the deceptively named Fidessa and the obvious queen Pride to Una, whose name and virtue encompass all, and the aptly titled sisters of Fidelia, Speranza, and Charissa. Each of these women carries her own meaning, which is shown in her actions and relations with the Redcrosse Knight. However, as we look at the book holistically, patterns begin to emerge in the behaviors of these women, tied to their respective characterizations. In fact, we may divide many of the women into

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