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Redcrosse Knight

Thursday, 27 Jan 2022

The knight portrayed on Dr John Dunn. The Redcrosse Knight and Una by William Blake

Redcrosse Knight

Under the heading Eros in the Mythology.

Edmund Spenser’s rendition of the Redcrosse Knight in The Faerie Queene was his attempt at a back story to St George and the Dragon.

The Faerie Queene is a poem that works across numerous allegorical levels, including, as is well known, Tudor politics.

Whatever the layers, the Redcrosse Knight is a more rounded figure than most one dimensional representations of St George.

On personal level, the Redcrosse Knight undergoes an allegorical awakening though the encounters with Una and Duessa.

Taken together, these female characters represent a compound womanhood

Allegorically at the religious level, they stand for the Whore of Babylon and the True Church, but at a personal level they are just plain whore on the one hand, and pure object of love on the other.

Raw sexual lust and devotional love lead to the knight's awakening.

Only after the encounters is he able to kill his dragon, which is allegorical of a spiritual awakening and deification.

In the battle with the dragon he becomes the Christ figure. Over three days there is a death and resurrection, a descent into Hell and a return. There is victory over the old way of seeing the world; victory over those who would murder him. Victory of good over evil. The victory of Love.

Redcrosse undergoes a Grail journey out of the chaos of innocence into the clear sightedness illuminated by the light of the Logos. As a Parzival figure,the encounters with women are essential to his maturation and eventual fulfilment of his Grail quest.

© John Dunn.

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