Estrosterone– a female sex hormone, similar to estrogen, which makes those who have it more powerful than men.
In Book III of The Faerie Queene, most women are shown as beings more powerful than men.
The first proof of womanly prowess is when Britomart dismounts Sir Guyon. Guyon, Knight of Temperance, with a lion on his shield, who has never lost a joust, is knocked off of his horse by Britomart. Guyon becomes ashamed that someone dismounted him. “Much greater griefe and shamefuller regret/For thy hard fortune then thou wouldst renew,/That of a single damzell thou wert met/On equall plaine, and there so hard beset.” Estrosterone at its greatest.
Britomart then saves Redcrosse from certain death at the hand of the six knights outside of Castle Joyous. Just look at the numbers. Britomart incapacitates three, Redcrosse one, and the last two knights yield. “So underneath her feet their swords they mard/And after her besought, well as they might,/To enter in, and reape the dew reward…”
But Britomart is not the only estrosterone-enriched woman in The Faerie Queene. In Castle Joyous, we come upon Malecasta, the lusty Lady that makes the laws of the land. She has her way with any man (besides Britomart) she wants. Malecasta is practically worshipped by those around her, placed in a ridiculously lavish palace full of unnecessary things. On a side note, Britomart, in Castle Joyous, is described as having, “…amiable grace,/And manly terrour mixed therewithall…”
One final encounter that shows the power of estrosterone is Britomart’s encounter outside and inside of Busirane’s castle. Outside, Scudamour is lying on the ground crying that he can’t get in, not a very knightly thing to do. Britomart says that she will try to help the wuss out, so they ride to the castle. She gets further than this man can at the very entrance. “So to her yold the flames, and did their force revolt.” She then defeats Busirane and makes him reverse his curses on Amoret. Again, woman triumphs over man.