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Phaedria: A Temptress in The Faerie Queene

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Phaedria is a villainous character in book 2 of The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser. However, her villainy is a little more subtle.

Phaedria’s name means “glittering”, suggesting that the danger that she poses is more attractive than many others.

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All she does is row around in a boat by herself, flirting with anyone she picks up. This has a strong effect on Cymochles, who goes with her and passes out drugged on the Idle Isle, but it has no effect on Guyon who is simply frustrated that he cannot continue (although she does manage to separate him from the Palmer).

Indeed, it is Phaedria is seemingly harmless façade that makes her dangerous. To succumb to her is to make no forward progress, which can be just as destructive as violence or giving into bodily pleasures.

In a sense, she is one of the few that comes closest to vanquishing Guyon, because she manages to separate him from the Palmer, a fact that becomes nearly disastrous for Guyon later on.

See our complete list of Arthurian characters for more entries like this one.

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See also my ever-expanding list of primary and secondary sources.

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Jason is a Mythic Fantasy Author and creator of MythBank. He loves mythology, history, and geek culture. When he's not writing, his favorite hobbies include hiking, chilling with his wife, spouting nonsense words at his baby daughter, and developing this (and other) websites.

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