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Written by Braga Lena
The spirit is the first character that appears in the poem. He was sent from Heaven to Earth to help the Lady and her brothers maintain their virtue. He is the one who describes Heaven and compares it with the deplorable state of the Earth and with the state of those living on Earth. It is unsure whether he helps the Brothers find their sister out of the goodness of his heart or if he only follows the orders he was given. Either way, he helps the Brothers to find their sister and he is also the one who calls the nymph to free the Lady from the chair she was magically tied to.
Comus is one of the main characters in the poem. He is a supernatural being, the son of a pagan God, Bacchus and a nymph. Comus is presented as being the representation of evil. Comus has the power to corrupt those he wants by convincing them to drink from a magical cup and then encouraging them to accept their sexual desires. When Comus is mentioned, he is always surrounded by a hoard of beasts that follow him around. While Comus may be powerful, he can’t take someone’s freewill or force them to sin. In this sense, Comus represents temptation rather than sin and while he is powerful, his power depends on whether the person he tries to tempt will succumb to his powers or if that person will remain virtuous.
The Lady is the only female character in the poem and just like Comus has a symbolic meaning, so does the Lady. The poet offers a few information about her and her family and it is revealed that she is the member of a royal family and she and her brothers are traveling to visit them. During their travel, she gets lost and is found by Comus. Her purity is what interests Comus and he challenges himself to corrupt her and make her sin. Despite Comus’s efforts, the Lady remains virtuous and refuses to give in to her desires. Her virtue is awarded when she is released from the chair she was magically bound to and she is returned to her brothers. The Lady is used in the poem to emphasize the idea that virtue is a protection and that if a person remains virtuous and morally clean.
The Lady had two brothers mentioned in the poem. Just like in the Lady’s case, they are generically referred to as the Brothers and no other details are given about them. The Brothers traveled with their sister to their parent’s house when they got separated. The Brothers care about their sister, especially about her virtue and virginity. However, they are sure that she will be fine as she will be protected both by God and her morals. They succeed in saving their sister with the help of the Spirit who takes them to the place where their sister is held and tells them how to drive Comus away.
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