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Different allegories in The Faerie Queene Book- 1

An allegory is a detailed description of one thing under the guise of another. A story, which is outwardly plain may have a hidden meaning. When two parallel meanings are presented in a story with a purpose of moral instruction, it becomes an allegory. The Book 1 of The Faerie Queene contains allegories at different levels such as..... 

(i) Moral and spiritual

(ii) Religious 

(iii) Personal and political.

In this famous book of allegory Edmund Spenser has shown the interaction of virtues and vices, and finally the triumph of virtue. The good characters stand for the various virtues and the bad characters stand for the corresponding vices.
different allegories in The Faerie Queene

The Red Cross Knight, bearing the sign of the Cross on his armour and also on his shield, stands for Holiness. The cross is a symbol of the crucifixion of Lord Jesus Christ, and the red colour symbolises the blood of Christ. Therefore, he is an ardent follower of the teachings of Christ. Lady Una stands for Truth, Goodness and Wisdom. Her parents symbolise Human race, and the Dragon who has imprisoned them stands for evil. The mission of Holiness is to help Truth fight Evil and thus regains its rightful place in the human heart. At the religious level the Reformation of Churches may be interpreted allegorically. The Red Cross at this level stands for the Reformed Church of England, fighting the corruption, Pride and manifold evils of the Papacy, Paganism and Catholicism. The parents of Lady Una represents humanity and the foul Dragon who has imprisoned them, is the Pope of Rome. Archimago Symbolises the hypocrisy of the Papacy.

The mission of Una (wisdom) is to restore her parents to freedom and in her encounter she is helped by the Red Cross Knight. In other words, the people of England had to struggle against the evils and corruptions of the Catholic Church in order to restore the true Church of England.

At the personal and political level of the allegory, Queen Elizabeth is Gloriana, the Fairy Queen and the pride and glory of England, who sets various adventures to her knights, symbolising the courtiers of the queen of England, and the Red Cross Knight is one of them.

The journey of the Red Cross Knight along with Una signifies the spiritual journey of man through the dangers of life towards ultimate Truth and perfection. The Red Cross Knight and Una start for their adventure of releasing her parents from the Dragon, symbolising atheism and heresy. On their way they encounter the monster Error who is defeated by the knight. Allegorically, it means that when Holiness and Truth are united, Error and Evil cannot cause any harm to a holy person. Holiness emboldened by the power of Truth will always overpower Error.

Having vanquished the first enemy, the Red Cross Knight encounters another more dangerous form of evil, Hypocrisy in the person of Archimago. Allegorically, so long as Holiness and Truth are united, they are invincible, but as soon as they are separated, each of them falls victim to various dangers and deceptions.


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