This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Defense Of Her Majesty And The Church Of England In The Faerie Queene

2944 words - 12 pages

Defense of Her Majesty and the Church of England in The Faerie Queene

  In The Faerie Queene, Spenser presents an eloquent and captivating representation of the Roman Catholic Church, her hierarchy, and patrons as the malevolent forces pitted against England in her exploits as Epic Hero. A discussion of this layer of the allegory for the work in its entirety would be a book in and of itself, so, for the purposes of this exercise, the focus will be confined to Book I, Canto 1, through the vanquishing of the dragon, Errour. Even in this small section of the work, however, it will be evident that Spenser very much took to heart both his duty as an Englishman to honour Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth I, and his duty as a Protestant Christian to champion the Church of England. The purpose of this exercise is not to prove whether Spenser was correct in his assertions, but to explore the manner in which he sets forth his views; it is, therefore, written from the position that his views are righteous, in the interest of eliminating the need for multiple caveats stating that the ideas herein are an interpretation of Spenser's beliefs. That being said, Spenser's multi-layered allegory sets him apart as perhaps the first Anglican Apologist, in whose footsteps C.S. Lewis would later follow with his own deeply symbolic tales. That Spenser displayed the literary and imaginative prowess to lay down so many layers of richly crafted allegorical fabric has made The Faerie Queene a work for the ages, both as lessons in English and Ecclesiastical history and as a fine example of the enduring beauty of the Language.


        Spenser, in his letter to Sir Walter Raleigh, points out the most obvious allegorical devices that run through the entire tale. Those are the Red Crosse Knight, Gloriana, and Faerie Land, as King Arthur, Queen Elizabeth I, and England, respectively. Sovereignty being what it was (and, to a lesser degree, remains), one may see not only Faerie Land but also the characters of the Red Crosse Knight and Gloriana as symbolic of all England. Thus, Spenser's Trinitarian representation of the State is his first showing of England's alignment with the divine and, thereby, Elizabeth's God-given right to rule.


        Holinesse, the Red Crosse Knight, as an allegorical presentation of Arthur and, therefore, the mystical goodness of Camelot, sets out on his quest after the dragon, Errour, on which he has been sent by Gloriana. Spenser's description of the knight's armour echoes the passage in St. Paul's letter to the Ephesians instructing the faithful to "put on the whole armour of God" (6:11). He wears the "bloudie Cross" (FQ, l. 10) of England on both tunic and shield. A contemporary audience would doubtless have recognized this as also the symbol of the Knights Templar, "The dear remembrance of his dying Lord" (l. 11). So, the Red Crosse Knight is not merely setting out on a quest to act as Faerie Land's St. George in the slaying of...

Find Another Essay On Defense of Her Majesty and the Church of England in The Faerie Queene

The restorative power of Æsculapius versus the vitalizing power of God in Spenser's 'The Faerie Queene'

2028 words - 8 pages In Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene, there are many ideas in which Spenser himself strongly believes in. Specifically, the holiness of the Protestant Church versus the wickedness of the Catholic Church, and the power of Satan versus the power of God. The power of Æsculapius (Canto 5) and the power of the Tree of Life and the Well of Life (Canto 11) might look similar from a distance in terms of magical magnificence, but the task which

Epic Conventions Applied in The Faerie Queene

2147 words - 9 pages of the eleven is; the main issue or the plot of the epic has to deal with a main character who is called, epic hero and his/her journey that focused on exploit deeds in which the hero’s success or failure will determine the fate of that people or nation that can be found in the core of the plot of The Faerie Queene. In each book there is an epic hero who is sending for a quest by Faerie Queene, Gloriana for twelve days. Along twelve books, we

Prophetic Vision in Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene

649 words - 3 pages Prophetic Vision in Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene In the First Book of The Faerie Queene, Edmund Spenser reveals his prophetic and apocalyptic vision for the fledgling British Empire, personified in his hero Redcrosse. As the secular instrument of Gloriana, the Faerie Queene, Redcrosse takes on the sacred task of Una (representing religious truth) to free her parents, Adam and Eve, from their bonds of sin. Before he can achieve his

Henry VIII and his Reformation of the Church in England

2940 words - 12 pages Henry VIII and his Reformation of the Church in England Henry VIII, in his Reformation of the English Church, was driven mostly by political factors, but also partially by a belief that he was one of the Kings of the Old Testament. Although the initial break with Rome and the dissolution of the monasteries seem to be the work of a monarch who has changed his religious colours, and turned from Catholicism to

Henry VIII and the Church of England

2246 words - 9 pages INTRODUCTION King Henry VIII was an important figure in helping to kick start the Reformation in England, even though it was not his intent. His break with the Papacy and his constantly changing ideas on how the new Church of England should be run gave the Protestants the foothold they needed to gain popularity in Europe. Although his intentions were purely politically motivated, he started a change in the way the layman viewed the church

Mock Treaty Assignment: Treaty between Her Majesty the Queen and the Anishnaabe Indians of Southern Manitoba

2088 words - 9 pages Articles of the Treaty made and concluded this twenty-first day of November, in the year one thousand eight hundred and seventy-three, between Her Majesty the Queen and the Anishnaabe tribes of the Nishi First Nation, Mkwa First Nation, Chemong First Nation, Wagosh First Nation, and Jiimaan First Nation. The Anishnaabe Tribes of the Nishi, Mkwa, Chemong, Wagosh, Jiiman, and all others residing within the territory, do hereby cede, release and

The Majesty of Nature

907 words - 4 pages Walden: The Majesty of Nature Henry David Thoreau is among the greatest Romantic composers of his time. He shares with us in Walden his appreciation for nature and how it is the single most important aspect of a man’s life. Thoreau highlights his experiences at Walden Pond, offering to his nineteenth-century reader what it is like to live within the openness of nature rather than the confines of the city or town. He reveres nature and believes

The Faerie Queene, A Close Reading

1491 words - 6 pages a purpose and motivation, such as his quest, four lines are spent describing the splendour of Gloriana, or the Faerie Queene and Redcrosse's admiration of her. Critics often argue that Gloriana, in once sense of allegory, represents Queene Elizabeth, who Spenser revered as Redcrosse does Gloriana. Because four out of the nine lines in the stanza concern Gloriana, it shows just how much Spenser is concerned with making known his admiration of

The Faerie Queene by Edmond Spenser

1427 words - 6 pages detail that the Red Cross Knight learns the hard way. Throughout the epic romance, Spenser depicts the representation of the women of the sixteenth century through a variety of female figures. While women like Una and later Caelia and her daughters represent the grace and faithfulness in women, other figures like Duessa and Errour represent the falsehood and evil of women. While Spenser created two very different types of women in The Faerie

The Birth of the Church of England

891 words - 4 pages of those who did not comply, including Thomas More, Henry’s former Lord Chancellor (Phillips 105). The newborn Church of England saw the institution of a number of reforms, lead by Henry VIII’s current Lord Chancellor Thomas Cromwell and the Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer. Monasteries were closed and shrines were taken down by 1540 (Robinson). Bibles were to be written in the vernacular, rather than in Latin (Phillips 105). Although

John Wesley and the Methodist Church- Analysis of “Methodism and the Christian Heritage in England”

1259 words - 5 pages charitable cause. John Wesley was the fifteenth of nineteen children born on June 28, 1703 in Epworth, Lincolnshire, England. John’s parent, “Samuel and Susanna were both from nonconformist backgrounds but both as young adults became “converts” to the Established Church” (p. 27, Heitzenrater). Charles is the younger of the two bothers by four years. Their mother Susan is” traditionally given much of the credit of raising & nurturing her sons

Similar Essays

Role Of Women In Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene

3244 words - 13 pages created by the female alone are errant and doomed to failure (1.20.176, 1.22.196).  Hence, Spenser chooses to separate male creation from the misleading powers of women.         Other women in Spenser’s The Faerie Queene lead Redcrosse to moral sin and danger.  The false Una, conjured by Archimago tempts Redcrosse with her “beautie soveraigne” and her “lovely look” (1.48.424, 1.49.440).  The female characters draw Redcrosse to err

Powerful Women Of The Faerie Queene And Paradise Lost

1229 words - 5 pages floud of poyson horrible and blacke, Full of great lumpes of flesh and gobbets raw, Which stunck so vildly, that it forst him slack His grasping hold, and from her turne him back: Her vomit full of bookes and papers was, With loathly frogs and toades, which eyes did lacke, And creeping sought way in the weedy grass (172).   This description is truly the most vividly horrible in all of the Faerie Queene. The

Dragons In Beowulf And In Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene

2220 words - 9 pages is in fact fighting an incarnation of the devil, or more likely, what the devil represents (Rauer 33). The first dragon from The Faerie Queene enters in Canto Eight, also full of fire and hell imagery: “the proud Duessa came high mounted on her manyheaded beast, and every head with fyrie tongue did flame, and every head was crowned on his creast" (Spenser 875). The third dragon is perhaps the most fiery of all: “swolyne with

The Faerie Queene Essay

692 words - 3 pages Faerie Queene itself is seems to represent Queen Elizabeth, the Queen of England. Redcrosse, the hero of the poem, is a major part of this allegory. He is called the "Knight of Holinesse" which is a reference to being holy and worshiping God. He represents the lonely Christian on a journey to put an end to evil and to search for holiness. He has his faith in Christ and carries a shield with a bloody cross on it. He also goes around doing deeds