Keywords: Resentment; Wrath; Justice; Edmund Spenser; Elizabeth I.
This article examines views of the tension between righteous wrath and personal resentment in Elizabethan discourses of justice. Two significant sets of texts, Edmund Spenser's poem "The Faerie Queene", and Queen Elizabeth I's writings are analysed in their philosophical, legal and theological contexts. Mastery over vengeful wrath and rancorous feelings is a litmus test of the Spenserian heroes' fashioning as virtuous individuals ready to embrace the spiritual, moral and social responsibilities of their quests. Reflections on the ethical and political polarity of private vengeance and justified punishment, vengeful resentment and rightful indignation are also at the core of Elizabeth I's rhetorical self-portrait as an exemplary champion of justice.