The earthly human society continues to be faced by various impediments to its existence and continuity. Some of these varied issues include; the reality a bout truth and faith, the unending evils, the confusion of love and the persistence search for purity. It is because of these squabbles that Edmunds Spencer’s ‘Faerie Queene’ was written. The book focuses largely on the central theme of holiness and how it can be achieved in the society. Holiness would mean being pure, clean and godly. However it can not exist without evil. According to Wauchope, holiness could be compared to light and evil compared to darkness. Holiness therefore the main drive and urge for any person who wishes to attain the highest faculties in life, truth, faith and love.
The work of any writer cannot be clear and complete unless various characters are employed in order to bring out the intended message. As such Spencer has notable characters that have different purpose. Book 1, Cont I, introduces Redcrosse who is the Knight of Holiness that works collaboratively with Una, a beautiful lady who is out to represent truth and faith of a true Christian. It is matter to be noted that for any person who aims to be a true Christian full of holiness, he must have true faith. The religious battles that exist in the world today can be traced back to the christs’era. Most of our time is faced by lack of virtue of holiness, persistent evil that threatens the human race specifically occurring as a result of superiority struggles among the major religions of the time. The world known religion catholic is being condemned for not presenting truth to its followers and uses various images that are meant to deceive.
The strength of Knight and the lady Una is as a result of boldness, courage and sheer determination to achieve victory by fervently fighting evil and false religion (‘Faerie Queene II,147-48) . The Roman Empire worked continuously hard to ensure that the whole world remains bound by one religion but however, because of increased awareness and freedom, the England people led a determined rebellion and broke away from Roman Catholic to form a true religion of Protestants and Anglicans. This fierce break-up aggravated evil in the society, where most people were killed for defending their faith. Most Martyrs like Stephen were forced to die because of trying light to bring to the world. The true position for any Christian should be to aim at fighting for righteousness and work towards ensuring that evil does ensue too soon.
Every society that tries to advance in holiness still has to face the hurdles of vice. The two elements are parts of the same coin that operate at the extreme ends. Hamilton highlights in his book, that evil will take the slightest opportunity to engulf holiness. Una who is representing truth happens to meet Duessa, who on contrary represents false images that are used to deceive and confuse the faith of Una. She is torn between the devil and deep sea losing when she encounters Duessa.That being a strong religion, Catholic Church still focuses on use of images which carry false meaning. These images could be source of idolatry, which caused the rebellion of the Protestants. Indeed any individual with divine faith and holiness cannot accept to throw away his noble pursuit because victory does not come easily.
Fighting evil in the society requires one to stay on course even when it seems tough. This would require surrounding yourself with life performers who have achieved the highest ladder in the fields of faith, character and honour. When Knight Meets Una, a strong bond is developed that help them to remain focused in their mission to achieve holiness and eradicate evil. Therefore when cooperation exists among the members of the society, then notable vices like rape, idolatry and innocent killings cannot continue to escalate further. This is not an individual effort but an integral one which requires positive mindset that Redcrosse is urged to have. ‘Resolved in minde all suddenly to win’ (Faerie Queene, I.210).
Human beings still remain to be the weakest creature that is easily lured into evil. Many a time most people have found themselves on the crossroads, more on the wrong side than on the right side of it, because they were tempted by other people; who because of weaker power for self defence of individual values and virtues had to give into it. Wauchope infer a case where Archimago tries to separate Redcrosse from Una through lust and deception, which he falls into. Once separated he becomes extremely weak making it easy for Duessa to deceive him even more. It is good to note that whenever truth is separated from holiness, confusion ensue as people are lost in faith. Thus in our present times it is essential that we keep good companies and associations that can help us grow in faith ,develop the power to defend our believes, not being easily led astray from truth and fall into the paths of evil by the already fallen. This will help enrich the soul, mind and body which in turn will help to perpetuate holiness in all kind and spheres of life.
Evil in our society can only be eliminated only and only if we take collective initiative to set rules that will help lighten our lives than darkening it. Only when truth is adhered to that we can forge a way out to develop standards of morals that every member is expected to follow. There is a great overall evil that threatens mankind, the very basic evil of sin. This is the dragon that Redcrosse defeats at the end of Book 1 of Faerie Queene. This enemy can be dealt with, through reformation in various social institutions like marriage, learning institutions, governing bodies and churches. The Norton Anthology also focuses on best reason as to why we should reform our social, economic and political systems so as to have an all round society. If we restructure our religion, faith and love we will have a true meaning of holiness.
Holiness is not complete without love. True love does not lie in being beautiful or gorgeous, but it thrives where there is truth and light in faith. Most young men tend to associate beauty with love, but in really sense, it is not an indicative virtue of love. Courtly love dictates that the excitement and splendour constantly travel with valiant warriors who croon romantic declarations of passions to women and eventually accumulate great respect through epic triumphs in the battles over many years. The Redcrosse knight bridges the gap between mere men and these gallant celebrities and reverses the process of virtue. The virtues of love entail being sincere in heartily devotions and commitment to one another, not in reputation but in character and true integrity. This is the ingredient of love.
Jennipher Sinclair, points out that being in love does not necessarily mean sexual and emotional feelings but involves learning how best we should live a virtuous life full of respect, purity and holiness. Respect will involve observing the code of humanity of preserving life and not forming stereotypes that are prejudicial and discriminative in nature. These acts are highly shown by persistent struggle that exist between the Roman Catholics and the Anglican Protestants. When human beings begin to use religion as an instrument to hate rather than love each other, then no major developments can be realised specifically in the areas of holiness. As Nelson Mandela points out that, ‘No one is born hating the other and if a person can learn to hate, then he can be taught to love’. Love is the union of all earthly races because all human beings have blood that is red symbolising that we are all equal.
The Faerie Queene was intended to teach the young men and women to focus on building a society that is clean and pure in its operations. Being the weakest and most lured into temptations of every soot, they ought to observe good codes of conduct. Young men should posse spotless character and should rise to highest circles of leadership and command. We are also a forewarned about love and appearance because love is not in the beauty, as such, believing in the beauty would deceive and the originality of true love. Only truth and faith can indicate real virtue and meaning of love and struggle hate.Consequentlty we are also encouraged to remain firm in our believes and of life, because modern expectation cannot always be met and fulfilled, and respect through trials other than physical tests, in the long run, holiness prevail over evil and light blinds the dark.