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

2890 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
…show more content…
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 a dragon, but also on a Crusade to wrest the land from the hands of those of false faith. Gloriana sends forth the Red Crosse Knight as Crusaders were called to service in the Holy Land, and also as Elizabeth sent her legions into battle against the Roman Catholic Spaniards.

The Ladie, Una, is introduced to the Reader in verses four and

Related Documents