The Faerie Queene | Study Guide

Edmund Spenser

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The Faerie Queene | Chapter Summaries

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Timeline of Events

  • During the first quest

    Contemplation reveals the Redcrosse Knight's true identity as Saint George.

    Book 1, Canto 10
  • Several days later

    The Redcrosse Knight defeats the dragon.

    Book 1, Canto 11
  • During the second quest

    Arthur and Guyon read the histories of their people.

    Book 2, Canto 10
  • Soon afterward

    Guyon destroys Acrasia's Bower of Bliss.

    Book 2, Canto 12
  • During the third quest

    Merlin tells Britomart her destiny is to marry Artegall.

    Book 3, Canto 3
  • Several weeks later

    Britomart rescues Amoret from Busirane's castle.

    Book 3, Canto 12
  • Some time later

    Many knights compete in a tournament for Florimell's golden garland.

    Book 4, Canto 4
  • During the tournament

    Cambell and Triamond serve as an example of friendship.

    Book 4, Canto 4
  • Many weeks later

    Marinell and Florimell are reunited.

    Book 4, Canto 12
  • During the fourth quest

    Artegall and Talus set off to free Irena from Grantorto.

    Book 5, Proem and Canto 1
  • Some time later

    Radigund defeats Artegall in battle and enslaves him.

    Book 5, Canto 5
  • Many weeks later

    Mercilla puts Duessa on trial and condemns her to death.

    Book 5, Canto 10
  • Immediately afterward

    Arthur defeats Geryoneo and saves Belge's kingdom.

    Book 5, Canto 11
  • At the same time

    After defeating Grantorto, Artegall restores Eirena's rule.

    Book 5, Canto 11
  • During the fifth quest

    Calidore departs the court to pursue the Blatant Beast.

    Book 6, Proem and Canto 1
  • Some time afterward

    Serena and Timias heal themselves of the Blatant Beast's wounds.

    Book 6, Canto 4
  • At the same time

    Temporarily abandoning his quest, Calidore lives with the shepherds.

    Book 6, Canto 9
  • A long time afterward

    Calidore defeats the Blatant Beast but the Beast later escapes.

    Book 6, Canto 12

Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Authors' Letter–Dedicatory Sonnets Addressed to Spenser's friend and court superior Sir Walter Raleigh (c. 1554–1618), the letter explains Spenser's inte... Read More
Book 1, Cantos 1–3 Typical of works of past centuries, Spenser provides a proem, a sort of preview, at the beginning of each book, tellin... Read More
Book 1, Cantos 4–6 The Redcrosse Knight is still traveling with Fidessa, now revealed to be the sorceress Duessa. They enter the House of... Read More
Book 1, Cantos 7–9 Duessa finds the Redcrosse Knight resting without his armor. She tempts him, and the two enjoy themselves. The Redcros... Read More
Book 1, Cantos 10–12 The Redcrosse Knight's weakness in the face of despair reminds the poet humans need divine strength. Una decides to br... Read More
Book 2, Cantos 1–3 Spenser describes Book 2 as "Contayning the Legend of Sir Guyon, or of Temperance." The poet addresses accusatio... Read More
Book 2, Cantos 4–6 Guyon and the Palmer encounter the mad man Furor and the hag Occasion abusing a man named Phedon. Guyon captures Furor... Read More
Book 2, Cantos 7–9 Alone on the lake without the Palmer, Guyon wanders through a lonely glade. He soon encounters Mammon, a savage man su... Read More
Book 2, Cantos 10–12 The poet invokes the Muses and the Faerie Queene to help him tell the next part of the story. Arthur reads about... Read More
Book 3, Cantos 1–3 Book 3 is introduced as "Contayning, the Legende of Britomartis, or of Chastity." In the proem the poet laments ... Read More
Book 3, Cantos 4–6 The poet hopes for the antique glory of epic ages to return. Britomart still despairs over the absence of Artegall. Sh... Read More
Book 3, Cantos 7–9 Florimell continues to ride until her horse is exhausted. She seeks shelter in the home of a solitary witch. The witch... Read More
Book 3, Cantos 10–12 Britomart and Satyrane leave Malbecco's castle but Paridell stays behind, claiming he's too sore to travel. His real p... Read More
Book 4, Cantos 1–3 Spenser's overview of Book 4 is "Contayning the Legend of Cambell and Telamond, or Friendship." This book plans ... Read More
Book 4, Cantos 4–6 Foes often become friends as Cambell and Triamond did, the poet says. But friends sometimes turn into foes, like Bland... Read More
Book 4, Cantos 7–9 The poet scolds the God of love for tormenting ladies like Amoret, Britomart, and Florimell. While in the woods with B... Read More
Book 4, Cantos 10–12 Scudamour says love combines "gall and hony"—happiness and pain. As a young knight, he thought his courage would easil... Read More
Book 5, Cantos 1–3 The author opens Book 5 with "Contayning the Legend of Artegall, or of Justice." The proem compares the past "go... Read More
Book 5, Cantos 4–6 Artegall and Talus travel further. They run into two squires, a pair of brothers, arguing over a coffer or large box f... Read More
Book 5, Cantos 7–9 The poet praises Osyris the Egyptian king as the earthly embodiment of justice. His wife Isis represents equity, an im... Read More
Book 5, Cantos 10–12 Mercy, the poet says, is just as important as justice. In fact, justice requires mercy. He praises Mercilla for her cr... Read More
Book 6, Cantos 1–3 Spenser's opening summary of Book 6 is "Contayning the Legend of S. Calidore, or of Courtesy." The poet enjoys g... Read More
Book 6, Cantos 4–6 A savage man spies the wounded Calepine and Serena in the woods. He feels compassion for the first time in his life. T... Read More
Book 6, Cantos 7–9 Just as nobility and gentleness reveal themselves, malice reveals itself too, the poet says. Turpine meets two y... Read More
Book 6, Cantos 10–12 Though Calidore has abandoned his original quest, the poet can't blame him. Anyone who enjoys the bliss of the pastora... Read More
Two Cantos of Mutability, Cantos 6 and 7 The opening summary of the Two Cantos of Mutability is "Which, both for Forme and Matter, Appears to be Parcell of Som... Read More
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