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The Faerie Queene Book I Summary | Edmund Spenser

The Faerie Queene Book I Summary | Edmund Spenser

Edmund Spenser has written The Faerie Queene Book I, a 16th & 17th century poem where he has highlights the unity of holiness and truth. So, in this content, we are going to discusses The Faerie Queene Book I summary. Let’s enjoy the content.

Writer’s Intro:

Dedicated to the Tudor dynasty and Elizabeth I, The Faerie Queene is an epic poem and magical allegory by English poet Edmund Spenser (1552-1599).


If Holiness and Truth stay together, no evil can stand against them.

The Character List of The Faerie Queene:

Gloriana: The Faerie Queene shows how Queen Elizabeth has been romanticized. There is no direct reference to her in the poem, but several of the knights’ journeys begin in her palace.

Prince Arthur: Prince Arthur of Britain personifies the quality of Magnificence. Following a vision of Gloriana, he sets out on horseback to find her, assisting other lost knights along the way.

The Red Cross Knight: The hero of the first book is the Red Cross Knight, who represents both England’s patron Saint George and a man on a spiritual quest. He bravely sets out on a journey to save Una’s parents from the dragon of evil, but is nearly driven to suicide by the forces of sin and wrong.

Una: Una, the daughter of Adam and Eve, represents the truth and the church. The hero was saved only for her wise counsel. Finally, he slain the dragon by being motivated by her advice.

Dwarf: Both Una and the Knight had the faithful dwarf. He was rational judgment, by their side.

The Monster Error: He is a wandering wood creature and is the Red Cross Knight’s first adversary.

Archimago: The devil Archimago uses many disguises to tempt the poem’s protagonists to sin and disaster.

The Faerie Queene Book I Summary

The first part of The Faerie Queene Book I Summary

Gloriana the fairy Queen assigned the Redcross Knight to rescue Lady Una’s royal parents from a dragon that has overpowered their kingdom and is holding them imprisoned in their castle tower. The knight and his party are riding across the plain. On his shield, he bears the sign of a bloody cross, and because his name is not given, he is called the Red Cross Knight.

The lovely lady by his side, wearing a black stole over her white gown and covering her face with a veil leads a snow-white lamb and is attended by a dwarf.

When a storm comes up, they hide in a beautiful forest, which turns out to be the Wandering Wood, where the monster Error lives. During a storm, the group tries to find shelter in a forest, but they get lost there. Coming to the entrance of a dark cave, the knight gets off and hastily risks in, despite the warning of his companion.

The second part of The Faerie Queene Book I Summary

Here lives the dreadful monster Error, half woman and half dragon. In the consequent fight, the monster envelops the knight with the coils of her tail, and his lady urges him to strangle the evil.

However, as he is suffocating the monster, she showers him with her vomit full of nasty and useless books and papers which carry such a stench that he is nearly overcome. She also belches up her offspring, ugly little creatures who had taken refuge in her mouth.

The Knight finally succeeds in removing her head in one tremendous stroke. Her offspring eat up the poisoned blood of their mother until; their bodies swell and burst out of their stomach. The knight wins and gets praise from the lady upon the success of this his first great adventure.

Shortly after finding their way out of the woods, the travelers meet an old man, Archimago. He appears to be a respected hermit. He courteously offers them night’s lodging, but after they sleep, he works magic spells. Conjuring up two evil spirits, he sends one to the kingdom of Morpheus to borrow a false dream. Archimago meanwhile has transformed the second spirit into the image of Una.

The final part of The Faerie Queene Book I Summary

In a false dream, the imitation lady is brought to the bedside of the knight. It  declares her passion for him in seductive tones. He is excited by her charms and her tender words. Nevertheless, he virtuously rejects her advances and returns to his rest and met Una.

Archimago fails several times to deceive them. It proves that when truth and holiness are united, a man’s faith becomes strong to fight against all kinds of errors and doubts.

We hope that you’ve enjoyed it. Anyway, if you want to read other summaries of Victorian Poetry you can follow the contents:

Thyrsis Summary

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