Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
The Attendant Spirit comes into a wild wood, far from his usual abode outside Jove’s court, far above the dirt and hubbub of the world. He is on earth only to show the rare mortals before him some of the ways to godly virtue. He speaks of the plight of three children who are traveling to visit their father Neptune, ruler of many island kingdoms. Their path lies through a dark and treacherous wood where their lives would have been in danger if Jove had not sent the Spirit to protect them. The chief danger is Comus, son of Bacchus and Circe. He lives in the wood and possesses a magic wine that, when drunk by thirsty travelers, gives them the heads and inclinations of wild animals. The Spirit disguises himself as a shepherd to guide the children of Neptune. He leaves when he hears Comus and his band of bewitched travelers approaching.
Comus, invoking joy and feasting, drinking and dancing, declares that the night is made for love and should be so used before the sun reveals the revels of his band and turns them to sinfulness. His followers dance until he stops them, sensing the approach of a young woman whom he immediately wishes to enchant.
The Lady enters, drawn to the scene by the noise of the revelers. Unwilling as she is to meet such people, she nevertheless believes that they are the only hope she has of finding her way out of the wood. Because she is tired by her walking, her brothers leave her to find wild fruit for refreshment, but...
(The entire section is 1114 words.)
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