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Allegory as a Literary Device

Good versus evil is one of the most commonly used themes in literature. Edmund Spensers Faerie Queene is no exception to this theme. The story consists of a knight who must save the day and win the hand of his true love. This plot in itself is really common in story plots. The Faerie Queene, however, adds a little life to this old tradition. Allegory is placed in this story and really makes up the theme and brings it to life. Allegory is a literary device where a metaphor is extended throughout the narrative and the characters in the story symbolize a type of virtue. The Faerie Queene is full of allegory, as a matter of fact; every character symbolizes some type of virtue or person in history. Without the use of this literary device, this story would be as common as all the other good versus evil themed stories are, but instead, it has become a classic in literary history. The main character of the narrative is Redcrosse Knight who is the typical hero of the story. He symbolizes the virtue of holiness and also is seen depicting Saint George who is the patron saint of England. Redcrosse is used in this manner to illustrate Spensers thoughts on the battle going on in England at the time between the Catholic Church, the old church, and the new Protestant church. What had happened in history at the time of the writing of the story was that of course, Catholicism had beat out the old church and become the main religion in England until King Henry VIII made himself head of the church and started the new church of Protestantism. At the time, Protestantism was basically a mix of the two old churches and wasnt hoarded over by a pope. This historical event is what is depicted in the story, showing how the new church is better and able to beat out the evil ways of the Catholics. Now Redcrosses goal is to save Unas parents and Una is his one true love. The parents represent the old church and were captured by a dragon, which is the Catholic Churc...

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