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The Faerie Queene

The story of Book 1 of Spenser's poem, with a few of the metaphors explained.

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The Faerie Queene

  1. 1. The Faerie Queene
  2. 2. The Faerie Queene • Epic: story • Sustained: Long! • Three layers of meaning: 1. the story 2. the metaphor based on religion 3. the metaphor based on politics
  3. 3. The Faerie Queene The story (book 1) • The Redcrosse Knight meets Una.
  4. 4. The Faerie Queene • Together they seek shelter for the storm in a beautiful forest (The Wandering Wood) • Una warns the Knight this is where the monster Errour is hiding. He goes on anyway. • The Redcrosse Knight beats Errour. Her young feed on her body. • Leaving the forest, they meet Archimago. Bad sorcerer: he sends R Knight dreams.
  5. 5. The Faerie Queene • Then a spirit (Duessa) in the shape of Una tries to seduce R. Knight. He resists. • The he is sent a dream in which Una is ‘sporting’ with another knight. • R Knight gets in another fight; Duessa – in the shape of Fidessa - saves him and cares for him.
  6. 6. The Faerie Queene • Una, meanwhile is attacked by a lion, which ultimately sees that Una is holy. Instead of eating her, it vows to protect her.
  7. 7. The Faerie Queene • Duessa brings Redcrosse to the House of Pride, run by Lucifera. • Una has her own problems: she’s almost raped. But fauns and satyrs come to her aid. • Both running, Redcrosse and Duessa meet again. They have sex. • Giant Orgoglio takes Redcrosse prisoner. • Una, warned by the escaped dwarf, finds prince Arthur.
  8. 8. The Faerie Queene • Una tells her story to Arthur: her parents, king and queen, are held prisoner by a dragon. Gloriana, the Queen, sent Redcrosse to save them. • But at this moment Redcrosse is prisoner himself! • Arthur then goes and kills Orgoglio, Una sets Redcrosse free.
  9. 9. The Faerie Queene • An old man, named Despair, almost persuades Redcrosse to kill himself. Redcrosse is still very weak after his capture. • Una takes him to the House of Holiness. There Caelia, with her daughters Fidelia, Sperenza and Charissa restore Redcrosse both mentally and physically.
  10. 10. The Faerie Queene • Redcrosse learns that he is a real human (not of Faerie land) and his real name is George. He is destined to become King of England.
  11. 11. The Faerie Queene • Una now takes Redcrosse to find her parents. • Redcrosse fights the dragon.
  12. 12. The Faerie Queene • Fight lasts days. • Redcrosse wounded several times but magically healed. • Una’s parents saved. They assume that Una and Redcrosse will get married. • Redcrosse still has 6 years of fighting to do for Gloriana
  13. 13. The Faerie Queene religious metaphors • Redcrosse – Knight of Holinesse, Faith • Una – ‘Truth’ • Duessa – Duplicity, Catholicism • Orgoglio – ‘Pride’ • The House of Pride – Catholic Church • The House of Holiness – Protestant Church • Dragon – The Pope • Una’s parents - humanity
  14. 14. The Faerie Queene political metaphors • Gloriana – Queen Elizabeth I • Redcrosse – St George, England • Una – ‘Truth’, • Duessa – Duplicity, Mary, Queen of Scots • Orgoglio – Spain • The House of Pride – England’s enemies • The House of Holiness – England’s allies