The Faerie Queene

Pastoral Imagery and Its Importance in Spenser’s "The Faerie Queene" and "Epithalamion" College

Serene landscapes and seductive relationships are key themes throughout Edmund Spenser’s work and are major assets to the plot and character development in “The Faerie Queene” and “Epithalamion.” Spenser’s early works are all in the pastoral tradition, most notably “The Shepheardes Calender,” with a strong progression toward his daring epic celebration, “The Faerie Queene.” Although both “The Faerie Queene” and “Epithalamion” focus on beautiful landscapes and the character’s relation to nature, only “The Faerie Queene” represents nature in a negative tone with the adventures of Redcrosse Knight and his progression throughout the poem’s six books; the knight ultimately suffers due to his humanly faults and inconsistency in keeping to the chivalric code of duty. On the other hand, “Epithalamion” represents Spenser’s pastoral magnificence at work in illuminating his wedding to Elizabeth Boyle in 1595, producing grand displays of nymphs, love, and supreme happiness. Nonetheless, “The Faerie Queene,” in its allegorical praise to Queen Elizabeth I through the trials and tribulations of the Redcrosse Knight, Una, and Arthur, is meant to inspire the virtuosity of mankind while praising England for its history and traditions. Beautiful...

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