Comparison Of Paradise Lost And The Faerie

Queene Essay, Research Paper

In both Paradise Lost and The Faerie Queene there are many images of sin. When scrutinized, it can be shown through both poems that pride is a downfall, that pride is the root of all sin and that all other unrighteous acts follow shortly after the introduction of pride. The fall of many characters in Paradise Lost and The Faerie Queene can be accounted for by pride. Three characters were found to be excellent examples of this Satan, Eve and Orgoglio. The best example is Satan, who was known as Lucifer in heaven (bringer of light), “Till pride and worse ambition threw me down,”(4:40). Unfortunately Lucifer believed “to have equaled the most high”(1:40), which led to his demise for when he, “Raised impious war in Heaven and battle proud,”(1:43), he was cast from heaven into “A dungeon horrible on all sides round / As one giant furnace flamed; yet from those flames / No light, but rather darkness visible”(1:61-63). Satan believed himself to be equal to God, as he wasn’t happy with his current status and this pride was the cause of his descent into darkness. Eve on the other hand wasn’t as disillusioned by visions of grandeur, at first. She allowed her self-pride to interfere with common sense when she wished to “divide our labors;”(9:214) in tending the garden. When Adam voiced his negative opinion, Eve presses guilt on him, “His fraud is, then, thy fear; which plain infers / Thy equal fear that my firm faith and love / Can by his fraud be shaken or seduced: Thoughts, which how found they harbor in thy breast , / Adam, misthought of her to thee so dear?”"(9:285-289). Eve does eventually get Adam’s reluctant permission and ventures off, unaware of “Such ambush hid among sweet flowers and shades”(9:408). This ambush was Satan in the form of a serpent, who first implants images of greatness “Who sees thee? (and what is one?) who shouldst be / A goddess among gods, adored and served / By angels numberless thy daily train.”"(9:546-548). Then Satan tells Eve of “A goodly tree Loaden with fruit of fairest colors mixed,”(9:576-577), and how when Satan ate of the tree, how it caused “strange alteration in me, to degree / Of reason in my inward powers, and speech”(9:599-600). Satan has now implanted in Eve’s mind how by eating fruit of this tree, she can become a god, “I, of brute, human; ye, of human, gods.”(9:712). Satan’s words begin to take affect on Eve and she wonders, “What fear I then, rather what know to fear / Under this ignorance of good and evil, / Of God or death, of law or penalty?”, thus convincing herself to eat the fruit and stating her lack of fear of God and his laws. Once she had eaten the fruit she felt that “such delight till then, as seemed / In fruit she never tasted, whether true / Or fancied so, through expectation high / Of knowledge; nor was godhead from her thought.”(9:787-790), as she reveled in the fruit, Eve, innocent in the beginning, allowed her self pride to get the better of her, as she believed herself willful enough to fight the temptation of sin. Unfortunately, she was swayed to sin by the serpent. Orgoglio, the giant, represents pride of the flesh. In Canto 7, “when the knight he spide, he gan advance”(7:91), he attacks the knight and is on the verge of killing him when Duessa says, “”O great Orgoglio, greatest under skye, / O hold thy mortall hand for Ladies sake, / Hold for my sake, and do him not to dye, / But vanquisht thine eternall bondslave make, / And me thy worthy meed unto thy Lemen take.”"(7:122-126). Orgoglio then spares the Red Cross Knight for Duessa, and takes them to the castle. The sparing of the Red Cross Knight shows his weakness as being his pride of flesh, as he should have him, but was most likely preoccupied with thoughts of, “he with Duessa dalliance fownd”(8:41). If Orgoglio had killed the Red Cross Knight he probably wouldn’t have been killed himself, as Arthur would not have had reason to do battle with him. Pride is just a starting point down the path of sin. Once Eve had eaten the forbidden fruit, she offered “low reverence done as to the power / that dwelt within,”(9:835-836) by worshipping the Tree of Knowledge. She then brings back fruit for Adam who also falls prey to the idea of godliness, “But to be gods, or angels, demigods.”(9:937) and he too eats the fruit. Soon after they both feel “Carnal desire inflaming”(9:1013) and “they there fill of love and love’s disport / Took largely of their mutual guilt the seal, The solace of their sin.”(9:1042-1044). Now their innocence is lost and Adam states “find we know / Both good and evil, good lost and evil got:”(9:1071-1072) and they find that “high winds worse within / Began to rise, high passion, anger, hate, / Mistrust, suspicion, discord, and shook sore / Their inward state of mind,”(9:1122-1125). The fruit, which they ate, stole their innocence from them and opened their eyes to the world. The knowledge that the fruit gave them made Adam and Eve into humans and therefore they were subject to human urges of pleasure. Unfortunately, the majority of these human urges are sinful.

The Red Cross Knight also allowed his pride to lead himself down the path of sin. When he and Una stay at Archimago’s hermitage, they had no knowledge that their host “seekes out mighty charmes, to trouble sleepy mindes.”(1:324). The Red Cross Knight retires for the night and when he is awakened, “Lo there before his face his Lady is, / Under blake stole hyding her bayted hooke, / And as half blushing offred him to kis,”(1:437-439), the knight is shocked as he believes Una to be chaste and pure and declines her advances. He is awoken again to see the false Una and a squire, “full closely ment / In wanton lust and lewd embracement:”(2:40-41), he immediately leaves the hermitage and Una. The reason why the Red Cross knight leaves Una at the hermitage, is because he is shocked by what thinks to have seen, and has lost all respect for her. He cannot have pride in himself for escorting and defending Una, if he has no respect for her. Once he is separated from Una (Truth) he is easily overcome by Duessa (Falsehood), “And in his falsed fancy he her takes / To be the fairest wight that lived yit;”(2:264-265). The Red Cross Knight is so overcome by lust that he allows himself to be sidetracked and ventures to the House of Pride, where he is unknowingly deceived by Duessa, “I was cast, / By this false faytor, who unworthy ware / his worthy shield Me silly maid away with him he bare / And ever since hath kept in dark some cave,”(4:418-422), when she sides with Sans joy. The Red Cross Knight is easily sidetracked when he is separated from Una; he allows his foolish lust to cause him to forget his main purpose. He also allows himself, “goodly court he made still to his Dame, / Pourd out in loosnesse on the grassy ground, / Both carelesse of his health, and of his fame:”(7:55-57), which is what drove him away from Una in the beginning. The pride of Satan led him to many sins. Satan is an “artificer of fraud”(4:121) and is continually lying to his followers, Eve and often himself. He is driven by evil, “As being contrary to his high will Our labor must be to pervert that end / And out of good still to find means of evil;”(1:163-165), and wants revenge against God, for what he has done to himself. He plans on getting vengeance through the downfall of men, “To waste his whole creation, or possess / All as our own, and drive, as we were driven, / The puny habitants: or if not drive / Seduce them to our party, that their God / May prove their foe,”(2:365-369) The return to what is right and virtuous in the Faerie Queene involves much symbolism. The Red Cross Knight was called this because “on his brest a bloudie Crosse he bore, / The dear remembrance of his dying Lord, / For whose sweet sake that glorious badge he wore,”(1:10-12), this armor was symbolic of Christian faith and therefore as long as the Red Cross Knight wore the armor he was protected by his faith. Once the Red Cross Knight is “Disarmed all of yron-coted plate,”(7:17) he has rejected his faith and is soon, “Pound out in loosnesse on the grassy grownd,”(7:56), with the false Duessa. At this moment he is extremely prone and when the giant Orgoglio attacks he is unprepared and soon finds himself “in a Dongeon deepe”(7:135) in Orgoglio’s castle. Meanwhile, Una hears of the Red Cross Knight’s troubles and finds Arthur, who represents Christ. Arthur agrees to help Una by saving the Red Cross Knight. He accomplishes this by defeating Orgoglio when “He smote off his left arme”(8:87), when they gain access into the castle they find the Red Cross Knight as “A ruefull spectacle of deathe and ghastly drere.”(8:360). The Red Cross Knight is freed of his bonds and is allowed to return to his Christian faith (his armor) because of his redemption by Christ (Arthur). Once pride and sin have entered into a person they may still repent by admitting God and his virtues back into oneself. Adam and Eve pray to god for forgiveness in Book XI, because they are repentant for their sins God feels that they are redeemed and grants them forgiveness. Adam is then shown the future of mankind, he is “Full of doubt Whether I should repent me now of sin / By me done and occasioned, or rejoice / Much more that much more good thereof shall spring;”(12:474-476). Adam and Eve repented their sins and were forgiven for them. Adam was shown that all wasn’t lost by their exile from Paradise, for though they had “To leave this paradise; but shalt possess / A Paradise within thee, happier far.”(12:586-587).



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