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Spenser's poem The Faerie Queen (1590-96), an allegorical romance designed to glorify Queen Elizabeth I of England, is celebrated as one of the greatest and most important works of English verse. Spenser's aim in writing The Faerie Queen was to create a great national literature for England, equal to the classic epic poems of Homer and Virgil. The

Faerie Queen is divided into Books I through VI, each focusing on the adventures of a
different hero or heroine and a different virtue, including Holiness, Temperance, Chastity, Friendship, Justice, and Courtesy.

Fairy queen as an Allegory: ALLEGORY:

Allegory is a demonstrative form of representation explaining meaning other than the words that are spoken. Allegory communicates its message by means of symbolic figures, actions or symbolic representation.

Allegory is further subdivided:

Moral and spiritual allegory Religious allegory Political and personal allegory Historical allegory

In the fairy Queen there is a fusion of three kinds of allegories. A moral and spiritual allegory dealing with the action and interaction of virtues and vices. A religious allegory dealing with the important religious events of the age personal and historical allegory.


The Red Cross knight represents Holiness and lady Una, Truth, Goodness and wisdom. Her parents symbolize the human race, and the Dragon who imprisoned them stands Evil. The mission of Holiness is to help truth to fight Evil and thus regain its rightful place in the human heart. Holiness has to meet many adventures and fight many evils. First of all it has to encounter a terrible monster which is error. As long as the holiness is helped by the truth it is able to defeat the forces of evil. Thus the knight encouraged by lady Una kills the monster and marches on his way. Archimago the symbol of hypocrisy succeeds in separating holiness from truth. Holiness when separated from truth becomes too weak to resist falsehood. Thus the Red Cross knight is guided by Duessa and is like a puppet in her hands. Una is for some times helped by the lion which stands for primitive courage. Some of the lines are given from the text which shows that the evil is always afraid of light. For light she hated as the deadly bale, Ay wont in desert darkness to remaine, where plain none might her see, nor she see any paine. The war between truth and fake, good and worst, beauty and evil are clarified by the writer in the poem.

Religious allegory:
The different characters of the poem stand for the various religious events of the age. Amongst all other the highest lighting religious movement of the time and in this poem Spencer has represented it allegorically. He is all for the reformed church of England which is the only true church for him, and against papacy and Catholic Church. The Red Cross knight represents the Manhood of England, or the reformed church, fighting the corruption, pride and manifold evils of the Catholicism. The parent of Una symbolizes humanity, and the Dragon stands for the pope of Rome. Archimago represents the cunning and hypocrisy of the Roman Catholics. The papers and the books which monster Error has swallowed signify the false teachings of the

Catholic Church, and Duessa its essential falsehood. As shown from the line of the poem: A floud of poison horrible and blacke, Full of great lumps of flesh and gobbets raw, Which stunck so vildly , that it forst him slacke His grasping hold, and from her turne him backe. Her vomit full of books and papers was, The Red Cross knight has to encounter many difficulties and dangers and fight many wicked characters and monsters. Same as the people of England have to the combined might of the pope and Philip of the Spain, and to struggle against the evils and corruptions of the Catholic Church, as well as the cunning and deceit of its followers. It was only than that the true Church of England could be restored to its rightful place and power.


Both the two mingle to make the third one. Which is a political and personal allegory. Poet wrote his poem especially for the glory of Queen Elizabeth and her Queen, who sets various adventures to her knights symbolizing the countries of the queen of England.

Spencer used allegory merely because it was the fashion of the day and a work without it was considered mean and low not worthy of the attention of the gentle. Faerie queene takes an important place that by this poem Spenser holds his holds his sovereign place among the foremost English poets.