The Faerie Queene

Edmund Spenser sets The Faerie Queene in an imaginary land filled with outdated medieval figures. Would it have made more sense to set the poem in his own time period. Why or why not?


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I think Spencer wanted to link his story with Christian humanism. Medieval figures, like one might find in Sir Gawan and the Green Knight, are perfect for this. While ostensibly constructing an epic devoted to theological virtues of the Christian faith, Spenser cannot resist including his beloved classical mythology and legends in the work. Alongside the Redcrosse knight stands the half-satyr Satyrane; Calidone, the knight of Courtesy, spends time with rustic shepherds and a magical storyteller; and the virtuous Queen of England herself is depicted as Gloriana, Queen of the Faerie. To Spenser, there was no contradiction between classical aesthetic values and Protestant Christianity.