Edmund Spenser – The Faerie Queene (ctd.)

Despair continues his rhetorical attack, pointing out to Redcrosse his multiple sins, including leaving Una and hooking up with Duessa. Also so recently he’s wished for death in the dungeon and the odds are, soon he is going to be in a similar predicament, so why not end all now? Finally, he shows him a painting of the damned souls suffering in hell, although this one seems to me to be a rather counterargument – if Redcrosse considers himself damned, surely he would like to put off the moment of death and going to hell? But Redcrosse seems convinced, becoming paler and weaker, and the cunning Despair brings him all the instruments through which he can shorten his life. But Una snatches the knife out of Redcrosse’s hand and talks some Christian sense into him: Isn’t he one of the elect? Doesn’t he know that for God grace always is more important then justice? The knight rises and leaves, and Despair tries to hang himself out of, well, despair, but he cannot succeed even in that – he cannot kill himself. Spenser seems to forget completely about Trevisan, whom Redcrosse made stay with him and who surely would be as susceptible to Despair. I don’t know if he’s going to reappear, but that wouldn’t be the first narrative hole in TFQ. End of Canto 9.

P.S. I am going away, so the regular posting will commence after a week or so.


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