The Faerie Queene Book I by Edmund Spenser is an allegorical epic poem in which Spenser describes adventures of a hero, Redcrosse, and his achievement in his quest taken on Una’s behalf. His quest is a spiritual allegory; it represents the Christian struggling heroically against many tribulations and temptations—dishonesty, the seven deadly sins, and despair—to some of which he succumbs before finally emerging successful. Although this poem focuses mainly on Redcrosse as the heroic protagonist Spenser’s female characters play an important role in his journey. According to Dashini Ann Jeyathurai, author of Exorcizing Female Power in The Faerie Queene :The Treatment of Duessa in the Book of Holiness the female body is a powerful place of controversy. It is often portrayed as unclear, disguised and frequently misinterpreted by both the male characters and the readers. Jeyathurai writes “Yet, it is precisely the enigma of the female body that lends itself to being the site where power dynamics between the male and the female play out”. Two of the foremost female characters within Spenser epic poem are Una and Duessa. Both characters are very different, each representing two contrasting sides of faith, Christianity and Catholicism; for Spenser good and evil. Focusing on the symbolism of each character and on their differing, encouraging or pessimistic, influence on Redcrosse shows Spenser’s spiritual allegories and opinion of each Church. Una who represents the one true church Christianity first appears in Canto one. Her name from its Latin origins means one, and in Gaelic it means lamb. Both origins allude to Christianity and purity. She is meant to represent something pure and is even described as “pure and innocent, as that same l.
. .tributes to Redcrosse’s journey and the plot of this epic poem. It is clear that Spenser views the Catholic Church as weak and sinful. Also clear is that he view Christianity as the true faith. Works CitedJeyathurai, Dashini Ann. “Exorcizing Female Power in The Faerie Queene :The Treatment of Duessa in the Book of Holiness.” Lethbridge Undergraduate Research Journal. 2nd ed. Vol. 3. Northfield, MI: Lethbridge Undergraduate Research Journal, 2008. Lethbridge Undergraduate Research Journal. 2008. Web. 5 May 2011. . SparkNotes Editors. “SparkNote on The Faerie Queene.” SparkNotes.com. SparkNotes LLC. n.d.. Web. 3 May 2011. Spenser, Edmund. “The Fearie Queene Book I.” The Norton Anthology of English Literature. By Logan Greenblatt. 8th ed. Vol. B. New York: W.W. Norton, 2006. 714-856. Print.