When Bliss. With his companion and guide, the

When Bliss. With his companion and guide, the

When Edmund Spenser wrote his romantic epic The Faerie Queene, he intendedfor it to be an allegory. An allegory is a literary device used to give a literary work twodifferent meanings. One meaning is easily understood, but the second meaning isexpressed through a more subtle approach. In a letter to Sir Walter Raleigh, EdmundSpenser wrote, Sir knowing how doubtfully all Allegories may be construed, and thisbooke of mine, which I have entituled the Faery Queene, being a continued Allegory, ordark conceit.

.. (514). In the letter, he is explaining to the readers that it is an allegory, sothat they will look for a hidden meaning to objects in his epic. Later in the letter, Spenserwent on to tell that each of the twelve books that he intended to write would symbolizeone virtue. Then combined as a whole, they would represent a truly noble person. However, only six of the twelve were completed.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!

order now

Each book of The Faerie Queene hasas its centre a hero or heroine whose task is to learn a particular virtue by facing, fallingbefore but ultimately discovering how to master, the specific vices which beset it (Evans143). The second book portrays the virtue of Temperance through the knight Sir Guyon. The Fairy Queen ordered him to locate and destroy Acrasias seductive Bower of Bliss. With his companion and guide, the Palmer, Sir Guyon completes his mission successfully,and after his encounters along the way, he becomes the virtue of Temperance.II. Body SectionIn order for the reader to recognize the maturation of Sir Guyon, Spenser leadshim on a path of temptation.

Thus, after conquering all of his encounters, Sir Guyon willbe a symbol of Temperance. The first test Sir Guyon faces involves characters from theFirst Book of The Faerie Queene. Sir Guyon and the wise Palmer meet Archimago, whohas just escaped from prison. Archimago invents a story about a young girl who has beenraped by a knight with a bloody cross on his shield.

This knight is, of course, Red Crosse,who is Archimagos enemy and symbol of Holiness in the First Book. Having concoctedhis plan carefully, Archimago leads Sir Guyon and the Palmer to the young girl who isDuessa in disguise. Duessa was an evil woman from Book One representing Falsehood. This causes Sir Guyon to be enveloped with anger. Upon finding Red Crosse, Sir Guyoncharges him ferociously. As he gets closer, though, Sir Guyon realizes that Red Crosse isa good person, and he was tricked. They leave on friendly terms.

Sir Guyon was slightlyflawed in his attack, but he recovered nicely and showed some self-restraint. As the journey continues, Sir Guyon and the Palmer wander upon a woman indistress. This woman named Amavia plunges a knife in her breast. In her last gasps of air,she tells them what happened to her. She explains that her husband, Mordaunt, had failedto resist the seductions of an enchantress named Acrasia. This woman entices men to herisland garden, the Bower of Bliss, and then transforms them into beasts. AlthoughAmavia was able to release her husband from the spell, he still died.

Sir Guyon vows toavenge the deaths of these lovers. At this point, he begins his quest for Acrasias Bowerof Bliss. Upon starting his trek for Acrasias island garden, Sir Guyon and the Palmer comeacross a castle.

It is inhabited by three odd and eccentric sisters. Medina, the middlesister, invites Sir Guyon and the Palmer into the castle. Hearing of the new guests, thelovers of the oldest and youngest sisters start to fight. Sir Guyon tries to stop them butonly makes it worse.

All of the men start to fight, but Medina soon intervenes. Thesesisters and their mates are constantly at odds with each other and with Medina who strivesas constantly to keep them in order. (Nelson 181-182). At dinner, Medina sits betweenher unpleasant sisters and attempts to moderate their wars. Each sister acts in oppositeextreme behaviors. Perissa, the youngest sister, is always in a state of excessive pleasure. The older sister, Elissa, hates all forms of joy.

Medina is the middleman who keepsorder in the castle. During dinner, Sir Guyon tells about the annual feast at the FairyQueens court. This is where the Palmer told of Acrasia and her wrongdoings, and SirGuyon was ordered to find and destroy the Bower of Bliss. Also, Sir Guyon learns that aperson should not be too extreme in behavior like Medinas sisters, but should besomewhere in between like Medina; thus teaching him moderation.

In Sir Guyons next encounter, he learns the danger of uncontrolled anger. As heand the Palmer are walking, they notice a man dragging a boy, Phedon, by his hair andbeating him. Sir Guyon tries to get the madman off of the boy, but this crazy man namedFuror starts to attack Sir Guyon. The boys mother, Occasion, is getting in the way. So,the wise Palmer informs Sir Guyon that he must disable Occasion in order to be able totake care of Furor. Sir Guyon does so and after tying them up returns to Phedons side. The boy tells of the horrible happenings that led to the present beating.

His former friendwanted him to think that his fianc, Claribell, was cheating on him. So, his friend dressedas a groom and had Claribells maid dress as his fianc. Finding them in a passionateembrace, Phedon became enraged. He killed Claribell in his frenzy, even though she wasinnocent of everything.

After learning that he was tricked, he poisoned the friend whobetrayed him and proceeded to go after Claribells maid. That was when he was attackedby Furor and Sir Guyon saved him. If Phedon had not acted so rashly, then he would havebeen able to seek the real truth and punished those who were actually guilty.

This storywas an important lesson of self-control for Sir Guyon. At the same location, Sir Guyon learns another lesson of uncontrolled anger. Aman who is out to fight just for the sake of fighting, Pyrochles, attacks Sir Guyon. SirGuyon is controlled and strikes this man down. He spares Pyrochles his life and even letsloose Furor and Occasion, which is who he was originally looking to fight.

Occasion getsher son to attack Pyrochles and Furor gains control of Pyrochles destiny. Furor woundshim badly, but he does not kill him. Pyrochles servant, Atin, believes that Pyrochles isdead and goes to tell Pyrochles brother, Cymochles.

Cymochles is with his mistressAcrasia. He leaves with Atin to get revenge. The two come across a lake that they needto cross. Phaedria agrees to help them, but she will only ferry Cymochles across. Shetakes him to a beautiful island, and he falls asleep.

Phaedria returns to the shore and findsSir Guyon and the Palmer needing a ride across the lake. She only lets Sir Guyon go withher, though. When they arrive at the beautiful island, Sir Guyon is upset that she hastaken him off course. He shows some temperance and does not give in to herenticements. Cymochles awakes and challenges Sir Guyon, but Phaedria intervenes andtakes Sir Guyon to the far shore of the lake and lets Cymochles stay on her island.

There,Sir Guyon comes upon Atin, who harasses him. Sir Guyon does not fight with him. Hecontrols his anger and continues on his mission. After Sir Guyon passes, Atin noticesPyrochles trying to drown himself. Atin tries to save him and receives help fromArchimago.

Archimago uses secret medicines and saves Pyrochles. Sir Guyon continues his mission without the Palmer. This will prove how far hehas matured. He follows a road into a dismal wasteland where he encounters a dirty mansitting in piles of gold. This is Mammon, and he takes Sir Guyon to the House of Riches,which is not far from the entrance to hell.

Mammon tempts him many times withoutsuccess. Mammon even asks Sir Guyon if he would like to marry his beautiful daughter,Philotime. Sir Guyon declines saying he is bound to another woman. Mammons lasttemptation is in the Garden of Proserpina where there is a silver chair next to a tree filledwith golden apples. Mammon offers him a seat in the chair or to pick a golden apple.

When Sir Guyon refuses, Mammon takes him back to the upper world. Tired from threedays of no food or sleep, Sir Guyon passes out just as he arrives above. The Palmer finds Sir Guyon and waits for him to wake up. Pyrochles andCymochles come upon the scene and start to mess with Sir Guyon because they think thathe is dead. The Palmer is unable to stop them.

Suddenly, Prince Arthur arrives to saveSir Guyon. He slays Cymochles and gives Pyrochles one chance to live. Arthur tellsPyrochles that he will not slay him if he pledges to stop committing evil and take an oathof allegiance to Arthur. Pyrochles rejects this offer and Arthur kills him.Together Guyon and Arthur visit the House of Alma, which is also called theCastle of Temperance. Arthur stays at the castle to battle Malegar and his troops who aretrying to overtake the castle. Sir Guyon and the Palmer only stay one night.

The next daythey set sail on a three day voyage. William Nelson explains what happened on thisjourney:In the course of their final voyage to the beautifully evil Bower of BlissGuyon and the Palmer encounter a whole range of those forward temptations to which Cymochles and his kind are prey. They pass the gulfwhich gorges itself on the greedy, the Rock of Reproach which wrecksthose who spend their substance on wanton joys and intemperate lusts,the delectable wandering islands where Phaedria makes her home, an isleinhabited by a maiden who tries to affect Guyons heart with fraile infirmity by arousing a foolish pity, and mermaids, so transformed becausethey strove for mastery with the Muses themselves, who invite the wearytravelers to their port of rest from troublous toil. (187)When they finally arrive to the island, a crowd of beasts attacks them.

The Palmerholds them off with his magic staff. Sir Guyon and the Palmer pass through the gate ofivory. On the gate, there are carvings showing the story of Jason and Medea. It isguarded by a spirit Genius. Sir Guyon overtakes Genius, and he and the Palmer enterthrough the gate. They continue through a meadow containing many flowers and alwayshas good weather.

A woman named Excess approaches Sir Guyon and the Palmer. She iswearing wrinkled clothes and is squeezing juice from grapes into a golden cup. When sheoffers Sir Guyon some, he smashes her cup. The Palmer had warned him of suchtemptations, so he was prepared. They move on to a fountain pouring into a lake filledwith two naked ladies.

They dance seductively and try to attract Sir Guyon. He starts tosuccumb to their enticements, but the Palmer sets him back on track. Sir Guyon and thePalmer sneak up on Acrasia and a new lover.

They are both asleep. The man, Verdant,has his armor off and is in a state of carelessness about everything. He does not careabout his safety or his honor. Sir Guyon and the Palmer catch the lovers in a net.

Acrasiais then bound with chains, and Verdant is set free. The Palmer returns all of the beaststhat Acrasia transformed back to humans. Sir Guyon finally carried out his mission. III.

ConclusionThe critics used in this passage analyzed The Faerie Queene in strenuous detail. Every important topic was discussed and explained. Like Maurice Evans says, To readThe Faerie Queene is to experience in vicarious literary form the very temptations whichbeset the heroes of the books, and if we read honestly, to be forced to pit our mindsagainst them as the characters themselves have to learn to do (141). The purpose of thisbook is to get Sir Guyon to a point where he has moral discrimination. This is being ableto tell whether something that looks good is true or a false temptation.

Sir Guyon learnstemperance from his encounters, the Palmer, and Prince Arthur. At the end of the book,he has the ability to identify and keep away from the submission to a life of relaxation andpleasure without honor.

No Comments

Add your comment


I'm Alfred!

We can help in obtaining an essay which suits your individual requirements. What do you think?

Check it out