Difference In The Christianity And Catholicism As Shown By Una And Duessa.

2041 words - 8 pages

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 lambe”. Her obvious innocence is shown further in physical description. Una is described as hiding under a “vele, that wimpled was full low/And over all a blacke stole she did throw” (1, 4, 31-32). Una’s beauty is hidden; she is cloaked in a long black veil. Perhaps symbolizing her purity until marriage, she is devoid of beauty therefore remains devoid of sexuality. Again a lamb is mentioned in this Stanza, she is followed by a lamb, to further show her innocence. Any reference to a lamb in the bible always signifies innocence and often is associated with Jesus himself. Throughout the novel Una remains pure and true to Redcrosse, even through their peril Una always chooses the path of good, and at times has to rescue Redcrosse from evil. Her symbol as the one true church carries out as she travels with Redcrosse. As mentions, she continuously acts as a guide and help for the hero. Spenser does this to show that through your quest as a Christian the church is always there, showing you, and guiding you away from evil. Una’s name can also mean truth; the virtue of truth has great Christian importance. For a Christians to be faithful and holy he/she must have true faith. The plot of book one shows the importance of having...

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