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Four elements enter into its composition: "it is pastoral by association, chivalrous by temper, ethical by tendency, and allegorical by treatment" (Renton).
Elements of the renaissance: Canto I
Characters represent specific elements;
The Faerie Queene herself, is meant to represent Queen Elizabeth. Redcrosse represents the individual Christian, on the search for Holiness, who is armed with faith in Christ, the shield with the bloody cross. He is traveling with Una, whose name means "truth." For a Christian to be holy, he must have true faith, and so the plot of Book I mostly concerns the attempts of evildoers to separate Redcrosse from Una. Most of these villains are meant by Spenser to represent one thing in common: the Roman Catholic Church. The poet felt that, in the English Reformation, the people had defeated "false religion" (Catholicism) and embraced "true religion" (Protestantism/Anglicanism). Thus, Redcrosse must defeat villains who mimic the falsehood of the Roman Church.