The Faerie Queene

The Faerie Queene

by

Edmund Spenser

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Redcross Knight Character Analysis

The Redcross Knight is the protagonist of the first book of The Faerie Queene (and he also makes brief appearances in later books). His lover is the lady Una, and he becomes friends with Prince Arthur. The Redcross Knight is part elf and he wears dented armor, but his most distinctive feature is his shield, which features a red design in the shape of a Christian cross—the origin of his name. The Redcross Knight is a version of St. George (a real religious figure), who, according to legend, slayed a dragon. Like the legendary St. George, the Redcross Knight does eventually slay the dragon that is terrorizing Una and her family at their castle, although even after completing this heroic feat, the Redcross Knight continues to wander as part of his service to the Faerie Queene. As his shield suggests, the Redcross Knight embodies the virtue of holiness, and though he can be temporarily misled by tricks or foiled by strong adversaries, he always triumphs in the end.

Redcross Knight Quotes in The Faerie Queene

The The Faerie Queene quotes below are all either spoken by Redcross Knight or refer to Redcross Knight. 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 I Quotes

A Gentle Knight was pricking on the plaine,
Y clad in mightie armes and silver shielde,
Wherein old dints of deepe wounds did remaine,
The cruel markes of many a bloudy fielde;

[…]

But on his brest a bloudie Crosse he bore,
The dear remembrance of his dying Lord,
For whose weete sake that glorious badge he wore,
And dead as living ever him ador’d:
Upon his shield the like was also scor’d

Related Characters: Redcross Knight
Related Symbols: Shields
Page Number: 41
Explanation and Analysis:
Book I: Canto IV Quotes

Young knight, what ever that does armes professe,
And through long labours huntest after fame,
Beware of fraud, beware of ficklenesse,
In choice, and change of thy deare loved Dame

Related Characters: Narrator (speaker), Redcross Knight, Duessa, Una
Page Number: 79
Explanation and Analysis:
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:
Book I: Canto XII Quotes

Now strike your sailes ye jolly Mariners,
For we come unto a quiet rode,
Where we must land some of our passengers,
And light this wearie vessel of her lode.

Related Characters: Narrator (speaker), Redcross Knight, Una
Page Number: 202
Explanation and Analysis:
Book II: Canto IV Quotes

And round the wreath, this word was writ,
Burnt I do burne. Right well beseemed it,
To be the shield of some redoubted knight

Related Symbols: Shields
Page Number: 254
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Faerie Queene LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Faerie Queene PDF

Redcross Knight Character Timeline in The Faerie Queene

The timeline below shows where the character Redcross Knight appears in The Faerie Queene. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book I: Canto I
Virtue, Allegory, and Symbolism Theme Icon
British Identity and Nationalism Theme Icon
Protestantism Theme Icon
The Role of Women Theme Icon
...a red cross on his chest and his shield (and so he is called the Redcross Knight ). He has been sent on a quest to slay a dragon by the great... (full context)
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It begins to storm, and the Redcross Knight and the lovely lady are forced to take shelter in some trees. After the storm... (full context)
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The Redcross Knight , the lovely lady (Una), and the dwarf arrive at a cave deep in the... (full context)
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The Redcross Knight remains determined to enter the cave, despite the lovely lady’s warnings. He goes forward and... (full context)
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Error sees the Redcross Knight and backs away, preferring to remain in darkness. But the knight uses his sword to... (full context)
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Error is stunned, but soon her body rises back up. The monster wraps around the Redcross Knight , trapping him. The lovely lady cries out that the knight must use his faith... (full context)
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...poison, mixed with various books and papers as well as eyeless frogs and toads. The Redcross Knight nearly chokes on the awful smells, but the monster’s foul offspring can’t hurt him. The... (full context)
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...The offspring eat so much that they burst, killing themselves. The lovely lady congratulates the Redcross Knight , saying that he is worthy of his armor (which bears the red cross symbolizing... (full context)
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The Redcross Knight mounts his steed again with the lovely lady and rides back the way they came.... (full context)
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The Sire salutes the Redcross Knight . He begins to tell the knight of a nearby evil creature, which the knight... (full context)
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...turns out, however, that the Sire is actually an evil sorcerer called Archimago. While the Redcross Knight and the lovely lady are asleep, Archimago looks up some curses in his magic books.... (full context)
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Archimago sends two sprites in particular to trouble the Redcross Knight in his sleep. One sprite gives the knight dreams of lust, while the other takes... (full context)
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At first, the Redcross Knight is enchanted by Una’s beauty, but when she offers him a kiss, suddenly he realizes... (full context)
Book I: Canto II
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...squire in bed next to the sprite that looks like Una. Archimago then wakes the Redcross Knight and tells him to go witness the shameful things that his supposedly chaste lady is... (full context)
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The Redcross Knight sees the two sprites disguised as Una and the squire, entwined together in bed, and... (full context)
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Una wakes up and weeps to see that the Redcross Knight and the dwarf are gone. She tries to catch up with them in vain. With... (full context)
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Meanwhile, the real Redcross Knight , who is in fact St. George (a famous British dragon-killing saint), happens to run... (full context)
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The Redcross Knight and Sansfoy the Saracen battle each other with the ferocity of two rams. Sansfoy finds... (full context)
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After seeing her lover Sansfoy die, the scarlet lady (Duessa) pleads for mercy from the Redcross Knight . The knight is moved and asks who she is. In tears, the lady tells... (full context)
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The lady, whose gives her name as Fidessa, tells the Redcross Knight that she is now alone and asks him to show her pity. The knight pledges... (full context)
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The Redcross Knight and Fidessa reach two big trees, where they decide to take shelter from the heat... (full context)
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A voice calls out, warning the Redcross Knight and Fidessa to run away. The voice is the tree—he reveals that he was once... (full context)
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Fradubio tells the Redcross Knight that he will remain stuck in tree form until he comes in contact with the... (full context)
Book I: Canto III
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...Una is in trouble. Nevertheless, she remains faithful as she wanders in search of the Redcross Knight . Suddenly, a Lion rushes out of the woods, with a fierce gaping mouth. But... (full context)
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...to tears by new affection for the Lion. Una tells the Lion about how the Redcross Knight seemingly abandoned her. The Lion decides to guard Una as she continues on her search... (full context)
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The next morning, Una wakes up, still longing to see the Redcross Knight . Just then Abessa and Corceca notice that Kirkrapine (the criminal) has been killed by... (full context)
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...from Abessa and Corceca. Suddenly she finds a knight whom she believes to be the Redcross Knight but who is actually Archimago in disguise. Una approaches him, weeping and asking where he’s... (full context)
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Archimago (disguised as the Redcross Knight ) tells Una that he left her to go on an adventure but that he... (full context)
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Suddenly, Una and Archimago (disguised as the Redcross Knight ) are approached by a fierce, sweaty rider with Sans loy written in red on... (full context)
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Sansloy gets off his horse and promises to kill the Redcross Knight (who is actually Archimago in disguise) for what he did to his brother Sansfoy. Una... (full context)
Book I: Canto IV
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The narrator warns young knights like the Redcross Knight of how they can be led astray by people like Duessa (who is still disguised... (full context)
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...through trickery and brutality, and she has become a tyrant. Duessa (still disguised) leads the Redcross Knight toward Lucifera. (full context)
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...beasts ride for pleasure across flowery fields, with Duessa sitting right next to Lucifera. The Redcross Knight , however, is out of place in this crowd. When Lucifera has finished her ride... (full context)
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Sansjoy notices that the Redcross Knight has the shield of his slain brother, Sansfoy. Sansjoy starts a fight with the Redcross... (full context)
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Sansjoy lies to Lucifera and tells her about how the Redcross Knight used treachery to kill his brother Sansfoy. He throws down his gauntlet as a promise... (full context)
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...up and goes to find Sansjoy, who is awake and plotting ways to defeat the Redcross Knight . Duessa talks about how she loved Sansjoy’s fallen brother Sansfoy but how the Redcross... (full context)
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...that he will do his duty to Sansfoy’s ghost by sacrificing the blood of the Redcross Knight . (full context)
Book I: Canto V
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At night, before his big battle with Sansjoy, the Redcross Knight is restless as he thinks of tactics to use against his opponent. At last, the... (full context)
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As the Redcross Knight comes to the palace’s common hall, he finds many bards, minstrels, and chroniclers singing songs.... (full context)
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...sounds, and the battle begins. At first, Sansjoy is strong, giving fierce blows, but the Redcross Knight is also strong. It’s a deadlock. At one point, Sansjoy happens to glance his dead... (full context)
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Duessa shouts to encourage Sansjoy, but the Redcross Knight believes she’s encouraging him. He begins to attack more furiously and is about to strike... (full context)
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The Redcross Knight , however, isn’t satisfied and still wants to kill Sansjoy. Trumpets greet his victory, and... (full context)
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...pulled by all-black horses. Duessa asks Night why she allowed Sansfoy to fall to the Redcross Knight ’s sword. Night admits that she is saddened by their loss but says she is... (full context)
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Though Night cannot change destiny, she promises that the Redcross Knight will pay a price in his own blood for slaying Sansfoy. Night asks who Duessa... (full context)
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When Duessa gets back to the palace, she finds the Redcross Knight and the dwarf visiting the dungeon. They witness many people who were imprisoned by their... (full context)
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The dungeon helps the Redcross Knight and the dwarf realize the true nature of Lucifera’s palace of pride. They decide to... (full context)
Book I: Canto VI
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After defeating Archimago (who had been disguised as the Redcross Knight ), Sansloy takes Una with him. He tries to court her with his words, but... (full context)
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...so often. Nevertheless, Una’s heart remains in anguish as she longs to see the real Redcross Knight again, and she tells Satyrane one day of her plan to escape the satyrs. (full context)
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...they see a weary pilgrim (Archimago), whom they approach to ask for news about the Redcross Knight . The pilgrim carries a distinctive staff and has been across the world. The traveler... (full context)
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...chill go through her veins. The pilgrim tells a story about how he saw the Redcross Knight fighting a pagan, and the pagan struck him down. Satyrane asks where the pagan is... (full context)
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...a pagan. Satyrane tells the pagan to rise up and accuses him of slaying the Redcross Knight . The pagan, who turns out to be Sansloy, replies that he never slew the... (full context)
Book I: Canto VII
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In the disguise of Fidessa again, Duessa comes in search of the Redcross Knight . She finds him without his armor on near a fountain. Duessa knows that this... (full context)
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All of a sudden, a giant named Orgoglio shows up and challenges the Redcross Knight . Being weakened, the Redcross Knight can’t get to his enchanted shield. Orgoglio strikes many... (full context)
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Duessa suggests that instead, Orgoglio can claim the Redcross Knight as a prisoner and force him into service. Orgoglio agrees and takes the defeated knight... (full context)
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Meanwhile, the dwarf, who wasn’t noticed by Orgoglio but who saw what happened to the Redcross Knight , gathers up the knight’s scattered possessions and goes off to relay the news of... (full context)
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Una is distressed to hear the dwarf’s news about the Redcross Knight and she faints three times. The dwarf tells her about how the knight was misled... (full context)
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Though the dwarf doesn’t know if the Redcross Knight is still alive, Una remains faithful in her love and wants to find him. As... (full context)
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...so he asks her what’s wrong. Una describes the grief she feels related to the Redcross Knight . Arthur assures her that he can understand the depth of her sadness. (full context)
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...the dragon reached the court of Gloriana the Faerie Queene. From this court rode the Redcross Knight , who will hopefully be able to slay the dragon. (full context)
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From then on, Una loved the Redcross Knight , but she was separated from him due to the tricks of Archimago, who made... (full context)
Book I: Canto VIII
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...done for her and asks that they keep searching for the dungeon that holds the Redcross Knight . They force their way into the castle and find that it’s seemingly deserted. (full context)
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...has to descend a long way in the dark cell, but finally, he finds the Redcross Knight , who has lost all his muscles and is now very weak. Una runs to... (full context)
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...wrinkled old witch. They let her go, and she flees into the wilderness. Una, the Redcross Knight , and Arthur stay in the giant’s castle for a while to rest. (full context)
Book I: Canto IX
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The narrator praises the knightly chivalry that led Prince Arthur to help free the Redcross Knight from his imprisonment. Eventually, it is time for Arthur to take his leave of the... (full context)
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...Faeries must be honored to have a knight as brave and skilled as Arthur. The Redcross Knight talks about his own love for Una. (full context)
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Arthur and the Redcross Knight shake hands, bound in friendship. Arthur gives the Redcross Knight diamonds, and in reply, the... (full context)
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As Una and the Redcross Knight travel, they run into an armed knight who is galloping towards them quickly, seemingly on... (full context)
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Sir Trevisan leads the Redcross Knight and the others to a cave that’s so dark it resembles a grave. The Redcross... (full context)
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The Redcross Knight confronts Despair, saying that he should pay a price in his own blood for what... (full context)
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Despair suggests that the Redcross Knight himself should lie down and take a rest so that he can be free from... (full context)
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Despair lists some of the Redcross Knight ’s specific sins, such as the way he was false with Una and instead chose... (full context)
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The Redcross Knight is moved by Despair’s words and thinks back on all the sins he’s committed, quaking.... (full context)
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Just as the Redcross Knight is about to strike himself with his dagger, however, Una comes in and grabs it,... (full context)
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The Redcross Knight rises up and gets ready to leave. When Despair realizes that he’s lost his power... (full context)
Book I: Canto X
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Una sees that the Redcross Knight is feeble after his long imprisonment in the dungeon, and so she tries to bring... (full context)
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...she must be an innocent, virtuous person. Dame Cœlia marvels at the presence of the Redcross Knight , saying that it’s rare to see a knight in their house and that many... (full context)
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Una tells Dame Cœlia that she and the Redcross Knight have come to see Dame Cœlia and praise her. Dame Cœlia responds by showing them... (full context)
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Dame Cœlia addresses the Redcross Knight and says she knows he must be exhausted after his many labors, and so he... (full context)
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The Redcross Knight still regrets to remember all his past sins, so Speranza tries to comfort him with... (full context)
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Dame Cœlia also advises the Redcross Knight with her wise counsel. With the help of Patience, she shows the knight how to... (full context)
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The Redcross Knight tries to overcome his sin by wearing a sackcloth and fasting. He prays early in... (full context)
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Una pities the Redcross Knight when she sees the anguish he’s in, but seeing his cleaner conscience makes her kiss... (full context)
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Una and the Redcross Knight wish Charissa and her children well, and she is happy to host the two of... (full context)
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A very old matron named Mercy also helps the Redcross Knight in his education. She helps him when he has to go through narrow passages covered... (full context)
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When the Redcross Knight arrives, the first of the Bead-men welcomes him. He spends some time with them, and... (full context)
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...tells him that they have come for the highest purpose: to try to help the Redcross Knight attain heaven. (full context)
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Contemplation tells the Redcross Knight that he is his own best guide for getting into heaven. Contemplation leads the knight... (full context)
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Contemplation tells the Redcross Knight that the splendid city he sees is Jerusalem, where God’s chosen people live. The Redcross... (full context)
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Contemplation says that the Redcross Knight must seek a path towards Jerusalem. The knight protests that he is unworthy of such... (full context)
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Contemplation says he knows that the Redcross Knight is descended from the race of the Saxon kings of Britain. Soon after birth, a... (full context)
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The Redcross Knight thanks Contemplation for all that he has done for him. He returns to Una and... (full context)
Book I: Canto XI
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...who are still in their castle, captive to a dragon, and so she tells the Redcross Knight that they must ride in that direction. When they get there, they hear a hideous... (full context)
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The dragon speeds toward the Redcross Knight . It is armored with seemingly impenetrable scales and has giant wings like sails. Its... (full context)
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Despite his fear, the Redcross Knight readies his spear and rides toward the dragon, trying to impale it, but he can’t... (full context)
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The dragon spreads its wings and lifts off the ground. It takes the Redcross Knight and his horse with it as it flies before coming back down. Once it’s down,... (full context)
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The dragon gets ready to blow fire. The Redcross Knight attempts to strike another blow, but this one doesn’t even leave a mark on the... (full context)
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The Redcross Knight is so wounded and exhausted that he feels like he wants to die. Luckily, the... (full context)
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...everything from a distance in dismay. At last, however, the next morning she sees the Redcross Knight come out of the well, looking reborn. The dragon can’t believe what it sees. The... (full context)
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The narrator wonders whether the Redcross Knight ’s blade was strengthened in the well. In any case, the wound enrages the dragon.... (full context)
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The dragon is enraged again. It springs up, then grips onto the Redcross Knight ’s shield. The knight tries to pry the shield away but isn’t strong enough. The... (full context)
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Even more angry, the dragon spews out more flames. The Redcross Knight falls back, and even with God’s guidance on his side, he stumbles down. Fortunately, the... (full context)
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Night falls, and the dragon leaves the Redcross Knight alone for the moment. Una is again worried about her champion, but his wounds are... (full context)
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The dragon is waiting for the Redcross Knight , dismayed to see him looking healthy but still too full of rage to give... (full context)
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The dragon falls and dies, letting out clouds of smoke. The Redcross Knight and Una both tremble at how big the dragon looks as it falls. Una warns... (full context)
Book I: Canto XII
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The narrator says that he can see a safe journey’s end for Una and the Redcross Knight . At the castle, a watchman calls out that the dragon is dead. As the... (full context)
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...goddess Diana in the forest with her nymphs. A crowd of people gathers around the Redcross Knight in admiration, though they are afraid of getting too close to the dragon’s corpse, with... (full context)
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The King bestows fine gifts of gold and ivory upon the Redcross Knight , then after embracing his daughter, Una, they all go into the palace. The inside... (full context)
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The King and Queen listen with interest to the Redcross Knight ’s retelling of his journey, feeling pity for all the misfortune he had to endure.... (full context)
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The King and the Redcross Knight decide that once the knight’s six remaining years of service are up, he’ll come back... (full context)
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...has a message for the King, telling him not to let his daughter marry the Redcross Knight because the knight is already betrothed to another: Fidessa (the disguised form of the witch... (full context)
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The King asks what this message means. The Redcross Knight explains how the witch Duessa used her magic to trick him into betraying Una. Una... (full context)
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...the dungeon. They decide that preparations should begin at once for the wedding of the Redcross Knight and Una, with the King himself performing the ceremony. The palace fills with angelic music... (full context)
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The day of the wedding between the Redcross Knight and Una is joyful for everyone. Still, despite his joy, the knight remembers his promise... (full context)
Book II: Canto I
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With the Redcross Knight returned to faerie land and Una living happily in Eden waiting for him, Archimago begins... (full context)
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Like the Redcross Knight , Sir Guyon is elfin, and he has come traveling to faerie land with King... (full context)
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...about how she was betrayed by someone she trusted. She gives a description of the Redcross Knight . Sir Guyon is surprised because he has heard of the Redcross Knight and believes... (full context)
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...Eventually, using their disguises, they convince Sir Guyon to come with them to find the Redcross Knight . (full context)
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Archimago provokes Sir Guyon to try attacking the Redcross Knight , but soon the two knights begin to talk. The Redcross Knight says he knows... (full context)
Book II: Canto III
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...Archimago. Archimago figures Braggadochio must be a grand knight who would be familiar with the Redcross Knight and Sir Guyon. Archimago decides to try to plant the rumor that Redcross and Guyon... (full context)
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Archimago advises Braggadochio to get a proper sword in order to slay the Redcross Knight and Sir Guyon, but Braggadochio brags that he doesn’t need a sword. Archimago insists that... (full context)
Book III: Canto I
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...damsel than the one he currently does. It turns out that the knight is the Redcross Knight (and so his lady is Una). Britomart believes the six knights are in the wrong... (full context)
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...two of the six knights left standing, they yield and seek peace. Britomart and the Redcross Knight agree to spare them all. (full context)
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...see the Lady of Delight lying on her bed like a proud Persian queen. The Redcross Knight disarms, but Britomart doesn’t. (full context)
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...Britomart fears a lecher and grabs her weapon, causing Malecasta to scream, and causing the Redcross Knight and the six other knights to come running. When they get to the scene, the... (full context)
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...six knights fires an arrow that wounds Britomart. She fights back, though, and with the Redcross Knight ’s help, they soon have the six knights running in fear. Britomart puts on her... (full context)
Book III: Canto II
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Hearing this, the Redcross Knight joins the conversation, saying he is surprised: he has heard of Arthegall, but he knows... (full context)
Book III: Canto III
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...her squire, where she eventually reaches her present state, in which she runs into the Redcross Knight and he tells her about Arthegall. (full context)
Book III: Canto IV
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...old from Homer’s time can’t compare with Britomart. After learning of Arthegall’s whereabouts from the Redcross Knight , Britomart parts from him and continues on her journey. Despite making progress, she is... (full context)
Book V: Canto XI
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...about Burbon’s broken shield. Burbon responds that he was originally dubbed a knight by the Redcross Knight himself and received his own shield embossed with a cross. Many envied Burbon’s shield, and... (full context)