Study Guide

Lucifera in The Faerie Queene

By Edmund Spenser

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You don't want to mess with Lucifera, one of the most elaborately nefarious characters in all of Book 1. As her name suggests, she's deeply associated with the Big Bad himself: Satan, who is also called Lucifer. In fact, Lucifer means "bearer of light" and it was Satan's name when he was an angel before he was thrown out of heaven for pride.

And if you're looking for problems in the ego-department, look no further than Lucifera, who is in many ways the embodiment of pride. Sitting on a comically high throne surrounded by people aggressively trying to make their way to the top, Lucifera is pretty sure that she's the best thing since sliced bread. In case that wasn't bad enough, her associates are pretty iffy themselves.

There's Vanity and Ambition, and then her lovely team of counselors/chariot-riders who represent the seven deadly sins, minus Pride: Lust, Gluttony, Sloth, Wrath, Envy, and Greed. Because Lucifera is a king of queen ruling over the court, we can think of her as a foil, or opposition to the Faerie Queene/Elizabeth I; Lucifera represents leadership gone horribly wrong. She also presents a contrast to characters like Caelia or Alma, who also run large households, but with humility and moderation.

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