The Monster in The Faerie Queene: Good and Evil
“The Faerie Queene” is a very famous poem written by Edmond Spenser in year 1590. This poem is about a Redcross armor, who is sent on a mission to defeat the dragon of deception to free parents of Una. This poem consists of multiple characters that symbolizes different themes. Alike other pieces of literature which carries the theme of good versus evil, this poem also consists of an evil monster named Errour. The presentation of the monster in this text is very unique as it sets the mood for the audience by building interest and encourage them to read further. It is important to illustrate negative actions and appearance of a character to inform the reader about the role and purpose of the antagonist. The idea that good always comes from evil is a lesson to learn in life and everyone must be acknowledged of both sides.
The evil character in The Faerie Queene, Errour is first described very mysteriously. Spenser displays this in the poem when Redcross with the lady on the white donkey gets lost in the woods and has to decide on a path (Spenser188.8.131.52). Errour lives in a cave in the forest away from everyone else where no one can come. This isolates her from the rest of the world as she lives alone giving her power of being a leader. This is shown in text when Spenser notes “At length it brought them to a hollow cave, /Amid the thickest woods” (Spenser184.108.40.206-7). The most interesting feature of this evil monster is its physical appearance. “Halfe like a serpent horribly displaide, / But th’other halfe did womans shape retaine (Spenser.220.127.116.11-6). The monster Errour appears as half woman and half serpent, which looks unordinary and scary. Errour has a huge long tail spread over her which consists of knots and tangles which takes up most of the cave (Spenser18.104.22.168-9). This interesting aspect of her being half human and half a monster displays both good and evil. However, the good side is represented with her fear of light when Redcross enters her cave. Spenser bring in the light from Redcross’s armor, which shines on Errour leaving her terrified. “Their dam vpstart, out of her den effraide, /And rushed forth, hurling her hideous taile, /About her cursed head, whose folds displaid” (Spenser.22.214.171.124-8). Light is a sign of peace, simplicity, humanity and yet Errour is afraid of it shows how much she is damaged and troubled inside that there is no good left. This is perhaps why she is still half human and half monster.
In addition, due to the light not only is Errour not happy but her little tiny monster babies get scared and to hide they jump into her mouth. “Soone as that vncouth light vpon them shone, /Into her mouth they crept, and suddain all were gone” (Spenser.126.96.36.199-6). Light is a weakness and a threat to her when she puts her kinds into her mouth but she is a mother and a monster with both good and bad or a human figure which is more like an animal so she reacts and is a panicking animal when she sees the light and the armor. This is a human nature of Errour because of her attachment to her kids gives them a mother like connection which is never bad or evil like. Another aspect is seen later in the poem when Redcross and Errour gets into a fight resulting in Redcross killing Errour. At the moment of death, the little baby monsters all jump on Errour sucking her blood making her death their life (Spenser.188.8.131.52). The killing of Errour is very disgusting as “she spewd out of her filthy maw, /A floud of poyson horrible and blacke, /Full of great lumpes of flesh and gobbets raw, /Therewith she spewd out of her filthy maw, /A floud of poyson horrible and blacke, /Full of great lumpes of flesh and gobbets raw (Spenser.1.1.19-20.172-7). Furthermore, when Errour spews vomit full of books and papers with loathly frogs and toades. These books and papers are the various pamphlets from the pamphlet wars which are religious showing another positive sign of humanity in Errour.
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