Comus Summary

Comus Summary

The poem starts in a classical way, presenting a spirit descending from the Heavens. The spirit describes the difference between Heaven and Earth and how Earth and the human body is just a cage for the spirit.

The spirit then continues to tell the reader that he was sent by Jove to guard and help those who ruled over the land and need his help. He then claims that will tell a story that was never heard or spoken before by anyone.

The story begins by presenting Comus, the son of the God Bacchus and a nymph. Comus grew up to be cunning and driven by desire. He is known for deceiving travelers and turning them into wild animals after they agree to drink from his cup. The spirit disappears when he hears noise coming from afar and Comus appears with wild animals after him.

Comus talks how the night should not be used for sleeping but rather for pursuing one’s desires when he hears footsteps. He can tell right away that the person coming his way will be a young maiden so he charms himself to look like a normal villager in order to make her trust him.

The Lady got lost from her brothers when she encountered Comus who appeared before her as a common man. Comus tells her that he can help find her brothers because he knows the forest in which they got lost and the Lady decides to follow him.

The Brothers then appear and the reason why they were separated by their sister is told. The three siblings were traveling to their father’s kingdom when they passed through the woods. The Lady became tired so she stopped to rest while her brothers went looking for berries to eat. Suddenly, the moon and the starts that lightened the sky were covered by clouds and the two brothers were unable to find their sister again. The brothers worry about their sister and about her safety, knowing that her chastity may be in danger.

The older brother worries excessively about his sister but the younger brother is sure that his sister will be protected by her desire to remain chaste and that Virtue will watch over her and that nothing will happen.

Their conversation is interrupted when a spirit appears in the form of a Shepard. The Shepard asks where their sister is and when the brothers tell him that they lost her, the spirit tells them about Comus and his practice of luring innocent people into his trap. The Spirit also promises to help them and they go searching for the Lady.

Meanwhile, the Lady is inside Comus’s castle where Comus tries to tempt her to drink from his cup filled with a magic drink and to give in to her desires. Even though she is restrained, the Lady decides to remain chaste and thus she proves that she can control her desires. Comus continue to try and convince her, telling her that she is wasting her beauty by denying her sexuality but the Lady tells him that she aspires to be chaste and moral.

The two brothers and the Spirit appear and together they chase Comus away. The lady remains tied to her chair but she is released after the Spirit invokes a nymph who releases the Lady because she remained virtuous.

The poem ends with the Lady and her brothers arriving safely to their parents’ palace where they celebrate.

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