Abstract

Spenser's representation of Archimago in book 1 of Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene is divided. On the one hand the old enchanter is comically treated as a figure whose personal interventions are seldom fully successful despite his magic and mumbo jumbo. But on the other hand, he succeeds when his deception is internalized by the protagonist, the Redcross Knight, as self-deception. Redcross too easily loses faith in Una, lets himself get victimized by Duessa, and maintains his bad faith to the very end of the first book. Because the poem fuses the Christian quest for identity with the chivalric quest for manhood, the spiritual dangers connected with loss of faith get dramatized predominantly as sexual dangers, and women become the scapegoats enabling Redcross to justify behavior that would otherwise fill him with despair.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1522-9270
Print ISSN
0039-3657
Pages
pp. 19-64
Launched on MUSE
2003-02-25
Open Access
No
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