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Home » , » Describe the fight between the Red Cross Knight and the monster Error

Edmund Spenser begins his epic with the adventures of the Knight of the Red Cross, who was deputed by the Fairy Queen to relieve the distress of Lady Una, whose parents dwelt in perpetual dread of a fierce Dragon that had laid waste their whole kingdom and threatened them with death and destruction. The Knight of the Red Cross accompanied by Lady Una, proceeded his journey to accomplish the task entrusted to him. As he was going through a wood, he found himself before a cave. This was the cave of monster Error, represented as a horrible creature, with the face of a woman and the hind part a serpent. After much terrible fighting, the monster was killed by the Knight, as we find in Book-I of The Faerie Queene.

The fight between the Knight and the monster proved to be the most fierce one. At one point in the course of his fighting, the Knight found himself in the tight grip of the monster's huge tail. At this time Lady Una shouted to the Knight to show his bravery. She urged him to have faith in himself and in Jesus Christ and to fight bravely.Inspired by the lady's words, the Knight fought with redoubled vigour and courage. He was able to release himself from the grip of the monster's tail. He then pressed the monster's throat with such force that she threw out a lot of filth from her mouth. Black poison and big lumps of flesh and raw meat came out from her belly. The monster had many young ones which had all taken shelter inside her mouth when the Knight had entered the cave. These little dragons also now emerged from the monster's mouth. Ultimately, the Knight succeeded in cutting off the monster's head and killing her. Her offsprings now began to drink the blood which was flowing from her large wound. They drank so much blood that their bodies swelled with it, and their bellies burst open with the consequence that they all died. This was the first adventure of the Red Cross Knight and Lady Una congratulated him on his victory.

Behind these bare facts, there are spiritual and moral conceptions which blend and fuse in each other. The Red Cross Knight who is appointed by the Fairy Queen to assist Lady Una in freeing her parents from the prison of Dragon is the embodiment of Holiness. Lady Una stands for Truth, Goodness and Wisdom and her parents symbolise Humanity held by Evil represented by the foul Dragon. The mission of Holiness is to champion the cause of Truth and regain the right of human race, held in subjection by the mighty force of evil.

Again, religious as well as political issues of the day are intermingled in the allegory. The Knight of the Red Cross is St. George or the Reformed Church of England or England as a militant spiritual force, fighting corruption, pride and manifold evils of Papacy, Paganism and Catholicism. Una is truth as embodied in the doctrines of the National English Church.

Una's parents represent humanity. The foul Dragon that forces Una's parents to keep themselves confined within their castle is the Antichrist or the Pope of Rome.

The fight of the Red Cross Knight with the monster Error, is conflict between Protestantism and Catholicism. The books and Papers vomited by Error allude to the scurrilous pamphlets directed against Queen Elizabeth by the Roman Catholics.

Thus, in the mission of Red Cross Knight and Una we have seen that so long as Truth and Holiness or true religion are united, Error, however, founded on learning cannot stand against holiness. Thus the Knight's encounter with Monster Error epitomises the whole Book-I of The Faerie Queene.


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