Brief Analysis of ‘The Faerie Queene’ Book One

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In 1590, Edmund Spenser completed the first three books of ‘The Faerie Queene.’ Spencer was born in London, England, around 1552. In 1576, he received his Master’s degree from Cambridge. In 1579, he wrote his first major book. Faerie Queene was supposed to be a series of twelve novels. Spencer, on the other hand, only wrote half the amount. He wrote the second three books in 1596. This final edition also included the first three novels, making it the complete work of Faerie Queene (Nohrnberg 655).
The central focus of Book One is ‘Holiness.’ Holiness is a Christian virtue that embodies confidence. All of the subjects in the books are intertwined with Christian spirituality. Spenser lived at the time of reformation. There was an intense conflict between Protestantism and Roman Catholicism. The struggles of Knight Redcrosse demonstrate this feature in the theme. At the end of the book, Redcrosse triumphs over the errors that surround him. Roman Catholic theology symbolizes these mistakes in the book.

This paper concentrates on Book One Canto Three. It majors on stanza six of the canto. It identifies various styles, themes and other poetic attributes illustrated by that stanza.

Explication

The previous verse talks of a lion that has come out of the woods towards Una, The Truth. In this stanza, the poet tries to arouse the triumph of holiness. The lion, which is a ferocious animal, instead of attacking the unprotected Una goes to kiss her feet. This action shows that no matter the turmoil’s that someone goes through, the truth always wins. This stanza is a narration of the events that transpired between Una and the lion. It uses vivid imagination to depict how the actions took place. After the lion kisses her, she is moved by emotions and sheds tears. She is amazed how truth wins over the wrong.

The stanza has nine lines. There is a rhyme between first and third lines. This rhyme is through the use of ‘feet’ and ‘weet.’ Further, there is a rhyme between lines two, four five and seven through the use of sound ‘tong,’ ‘strong,’ ‘wrong’ and ‘long.’ Lines six, eight and nine rhyme through ‘compassion’ and ‘affection.’ This arrangement gives the regular Spenserian rhyme scheme. The eighth line has the regular iambic hexameter displayed by other Spenserian poems.

Through this stanza, Spenser can show how holiness triumphs amidst natural calamities and happenings. Truth, as Spenser illustrates, always wins. It is stronger than the error. Linking with the theme of the book, Spenser is demonstrating the victory of Protestant faith over errors of Roman Catholic. In this contentious of the stanza, Spenser illustrates triumphs of truth in the seven lines. In the couplet, Spenser draws conclusions on the triumph of truth in the Reformed English Church against the attacks of the Catholic Church and paganism. The truth of Protestantism, through its holiness and purity, can conquer errors of Paganism and Roman Catholicism. Pride engulfed the latter two as Spenser demonstrates. Despite the triumph of the truth, it is not ensnared by pride. Instead, it is compassionate. These were the characteristics of Protestants in England at his time.

SUMMARY

Spenser, through his book, has tried to show the qualities which people should emulate. Like Una, people should hold steadfast the truth. Although the perils may come their way, the truth will always win. Truth and Holiness are great virtues of Christians.

Works Cited

Nohrnberg, James. The Analogy of” The Faerie Queene.” Princeton University Press, 2014.

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