The canto opens by saying that: “This canto will seem strange to stay-at-homes” (7.1.8) since this will be a display of leaving the native land to a different land that one might be tempted to compare to home. 

The narrator reminds us that the last time we saw Ruggiero he was in a field next to the bridge that was held by Erifilla- she is also the holder of beautiful sparkling armor. She does not sit on her horse but rather a large ox statured wolf sits “alert and keen”. 
Ruggiero is ready to take on the challenge that is Erifilla. She comes charging at him on her horse “Making the terrain thunder”. Ruggiero hits her with his spear and knocks her off into the grass 6 yards away. She begs that he does not hurt her, and so he agrees to let her go and he crosses the bridge. 

Ruggiero finally arrives and finds Alcina near the outer gates. She welcomes him and leads him through the court where the people pay bows and honor to the knight. “They pay if God Himself before them stood” (7.9.72). The palace is fair, Alcina is fine- with her long hair “ringlets” that “spun gold”, and her “ivory” skin that had “rosy tints”.
 
Alcina meets Ruggiero at the gate

Alcina’s beauty continues to be described in great detail, from her finely penciled eyebrows to her “lovely mouth”, “shapely neck” and perfectly proportioned, unblemished arms. While she has a great sweet smile, behind all her beauty lurks a concealed evil. Ruggiero thinks about the warning of Alcina from Astolfo, but quickly decides that all he said to him must have been a lie. 

Ruggiero’s memory of Bradamante is erased by Alcina, a sorceress of magic. Ruggiero is still completely blind to the true Alcina and attends a beautiful feast and banquet. After he is filled he retires to his room he does not go to sleep, he waits for Alcina to come to his room. He cannot stay in his bed, and rather he gets up quite a few times to look down the hall for her. Finally she arrives in the room and they make whoopee. 

The story shifts to Bradamante who looks for Ruggiero in vain. She goes through "sunny fields” and “many a shady dell”, she asks people if they know where he could be but no one knows. She wears the magic rings that allow her to be invisible and not bothered as she travels all over. 

Bradamante is not willing to admit that he could be dead, and she is determine to search until the world ends. She plans to visit the prophet Merlin to find out for sure if Ruggiero is alive. 

Melissa knows where Ruggiero is and resolves to rescue him. Melissa knows that Atlante sent Ruggiero to Alcina knowing that she would then take him and his youth as prisoner of love. Melissa tells Bradamante what she has discovered and Melissa also tells her that she will make sure that Ruggiero returns in to her a few days. Bradamante decides to give the ring to Melissa so she may save Ruggiero. And Melissa rides to Alcina’s island on a demon horse with great speed. 

When she arrives to the island she finds that Ruggiero is “So greatly is he changed by magic spells” (7.55.440). Melissa takes the form of Atlante so she is not discovered, and she reminds him of his destiny and noble progeny. Ruggiero is struck with shame and has nothing to say for himself. Melissa breaks the spell and reveals herself. She tells him that she is Melissa and was sent by Bradamante. She then reminds him that Bradamante cares for him and Atlante sent him to Alcina so he would go off track and lose his destiny. 

Ruggiero then discovers that Alcina appears beautiful with her mask that covers “a hideous crone; no uglier in all the world was known” (7.72. 576). The ring that Ruggiero was given by to Melissa is now able to pull away the mask that covered Alcina. Ruggiero collects his sword and shield and departs for Rabicano. 

-Badger Badger