The Faerie Queene

Religion and Temperance in The Faerie Queene Book Two College

The Faerie Queene Book Two, by Edmund Spenser, is a book entirely devoted to the concept of temperance and moderation. Espoused as a cardinal virtue in Plato's Republic, and referred to similarly in several other influential works from across many cultures, temperance encompasses myriad traits or characteristics. It is perhaps best described as refraining from excess; resisting temptations and impulses which otherwise might overcome one's control completely. That temperance is the main concern of Book Two is made clear by Spenser in the title of the work, being called The Legend of Sir Guyon OR Of Temperaunce. However, rather than simply being a story about a temperate knight, the nature of temperance itself is actually the subject of Book Two; specifically, whether or not it is possible to be continuously temperate. Book Two highlights the flaws in the concept of temperance, and this has wider ramifications when considering the social context, specifically regarding the Reformation and the perceived pitfalls of Catholicism over Protestantism (temperance arguably being considered unimportant in Protestantism, as Protestants believe in predestination). This essay will show, therefore, how Book Two of The Faerie Queene can be...

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