The Faerie Queene

The Faerie Queene

by

Edmund Spenser

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Despair Character Analysis

Despair is a monster who leads brave knights to kill themselves. Sir Terwin is one of its many victims. The Redcross Knight encounters Despair and is tempted by him, but ultimately is saved when Una stops him from stabbing himself. This frustrates Despair and causes the monster itself to attempt suicide, but despite causing other knights to die, Despair is doomed to always stay alive.

Despair Quotes in The Faerie Queene

The The Faerie Queene quotes below are all either spoken by Despair or refer to Despair. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Virtue, Allegory, and Symbolism Theme Icon
).
Book I: Canto IX Quotes

Come, come away, fraile, feeble, fleshly wight,
Ne let vaine words bewitch thy manly hart,
Ne divelish thoughts dismay thy constant spright.

Related Characters: Una (speaker), Redcross Knight, Despair
Page Number: 159
Explanation and Analysis:
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Despair Character Timeline in The Faerie Queene

The timeline below shows where the character Despair appears in The Faerie Queene. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book I: Canto IX
Virtue, Allegory, and Symbolism Theme Icon
...As Trevisan and Terwin rode away from the lady, they ran into a man called Despair who asked them who they were and what they’d been doing. (full context)
Virtue, Allegory, and Symbolism Theme Icon
Deception and Lies Theme Icon
Sir Trevisan continues telling the story of how Despair listened to Trevisan and Terwin’s stories, then provided a rope to Trevisan and a rusty... (full context)
Virtue, Allegory, and Symbolism Theme Icon
Deception and Lies Theme Icon
...that’s so dark it resembles a grave. The Redcross Knight enters the cave and sees Despair sitting on the ground in the blood of Sir Terwin, with long, greasy hair and... (full context)
Virtue, Allegory, and Symbolism Theme Icon
Deception and Lies Theme Icon
The Redcross Knight confronts Despair, saying that he should pay a price in his own blood for what he did... (full context)
Virtue, Allegory, and Symbolism Theme Icon
Protestantism Theme Icon
Deception and Lies Theme Icon
Despair suggests that the Redcross Knight himself should lie down and take a rest so that... (full context)
Virtue, Allegory, and Symbolism Theme Icon
Protestantism Theme Icon
Deception and Lies Theme Icon
Despair lists some of the Redcross Knight’s specific sins, such as the way he was false... (full context)
Virtue, Allegory, and Symbolism Theme Icon
Protestantism Theme Icon
Deception and Lies Theme Icon
The Redcross Knight is moved by Despair’s words and thinks back on all the sins he’s committed, quaking. Despair sees that his... (full context)
Virtue, Allegory, and Symbolism Theme Icon
Protestantism Theme Icon
Deception and Lies Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
The Role of Women Theme Icon
...is able to slay a dragon in battle, then advises him not to listen to Despair’s words. She reassures him that heaven is merciful, then tells him that he must get... (full context)
Virtue, Allegory, and Symbolism Theme Icon
Protestantism Theme Icon
Deception and Lies Theme Icon
The Redcross Knight rises up and gets ready to leave. When Despair realizes that he’s lost his power over the knight, he tries to hang himself with... (full context)