English 12 - Mr. Rinka Lesson #15. The Faerie Queene By Edmund Spencer. Edmund Spencer http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edmund_Spenser.
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English 12 - Mr. RinkaLesson #15
The Faerie Queene
Edmund Spenser (c. 1552 –1599) was an English poet best known for The Faerie Queene, an epic poem and fantastical allegory celebrating the Tudor dynasty and Elizabeth I. He is recognized as one of the premier craftsmen of Modern English verse in its infancy and is
considered one of the greatest poets in the English language.
Elizabeth I (7 September 1533 – 24 March 1603) was queen of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes called "The Virgin Queen", "Gloriana" or "Good Queen Bess", Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty. Daughter of Henry VIII
she was born a princess, but her mother, Anne Boleyn, was executed two and a half years after her birth, and Elizabeth was declared illegitimate. Her half-brother, Edward VI, bequeathed the crown to Lady Jane Grey, cutting his two half-sisters, Elizabeth and the Catholic Mary, out of the succession in spite of statute law to the contrary.
Elizabeth I in her coronation robes, patterned with Tudor roses and trimmed with ermine.
However, his will was set aside, Mary became queen, and Lady Jane Grey was executed. In 1558, Elizabeth succeeded her half-sister, during whose reign she had been imprisoned for nearly a year on suspicion of supporting Protestant rebels.
Elizabeth set out to rule by good counsel, and she depended heavily
on a group of trusted advisers. One of her first moves as queen was the establishment of an English Protestant church, of which she became the Supreme Governor. This Elizabethan Religious Settlement later evolved into today's Church of England. It was expected that Elizabeth would marry and produce an heir so as to continue the Tudor
line. She never did, however, despite numerous courtships. As she grew older, Elizabeth became famous for her virginity, and a cult grew up around her which was celebrated in the portraits, pageants, and literature of the day.
In government, Elizabeth was more moderate than her father and half-siblings had been. One of her
mottoes was "video et taceo" ("I see, and say nothing"). Elizabeth was cautious in foreign affairs, moving between the major powers of France and Spain. She only half-heartedly supported a number of ineffective, poorly resourced military campaigns in the Netherlands, France, and Ireland. In the mid-1580s, war with Spain could no longer be avoided,
and when Spain finally decided to attempt to conquer England in 1588, the failure of the Spanish Armada associated her with one of the greatest victories in English history.
Elizabeth's reign is known as the Elizabethan era, famous above all for the flourishing of English drama, led by playwrights such as William Shakespeare and Christopher
Marlowe, and for the seafaring prowess of English adventurers such as Sir Francis Drake. Elizabeth is acknowledged as a charismatic performer and a dogged survivor, in an age when government was ramshackle and limited and when monarchs in neighboring countries faced internal problems that jeopardized their thrones. Such was
the case with Elizabeth's rival, Mary, Queen of Scots, whom she imprisoned in 1568 and eventually had executed in 1587. After the short reigns of Elizabeth's half-siblings, her 44 years on the throne provided welcome stability for the kingdom and helped forge a sense of national identity.
Elizabeth I. The "Rainbow Portrait", c. 1600, an allegorical representation of the Queen, becoming ageless in her old age.
A ROMANTIC EPIC.—The Faerie Queene is the most perfect type which we have in English of the purely romantic poem. Four elements enter into its composition: "it is pastoral by association, chivalrous by temper, ethical by tendency, and allegorical by
treatment" (Renton). Its subject was taken from the old cycle of Arthurian legends, which were brightened with the terrorless magic of Ariosto and Tasso. The scene of the adventures is laid in the enchanted forests and castles of the far away and unreal fairyland of medieval chivalry, and the incidents themselves are either
highly improbable or frankly impossible. The language is frequently archaic and designedly unfamiliar. Much of the machinery and properties used in carrying on the story, such as speaking myrtles, magic mirrors, swords, rings, impenetrable armor, and healing fountains, is supernatural. All the characters—the knights, ladies,
dwarfs, magicians, dragons, nymphs, satyrs, and giants—are the conventional figures of pastoral romance.
The framework of the plot of The Faerie Queene is vast and loosely put together. There are six main stories, or legends, and each contains several digressions and involved episodes. The plan of the
entire work, which the author only half completed, is outlined in his letter to Sir Walter Raleigh. This letter serves as an admirable introduction to the poem, and should be read attentively by the student. Gloriana, the Queen of Fairyland, holds at her court a solemn feudal festival, lasting twelve days, during which she sends forth twelve of her
greatest knights on many separate adventures. The knights are commissioned to champion the cause of persons in distress and redress their wrongs. The ideal knight, Prince Arthur, is the central male figure of the poem. He is enamored of Gloriana, having seen her in a wondrous vision, and is represented as journeying in
quest of her. He appears in all of the legends at opportune moments to succor the knights when they are hard beset or in the power of their enemies. The six extant books contain respectively the legends of (I) the Knight of the Redcrosse, or Holiness, (II) Sir Guyon, the Knight of Temperance, (III) Britomart, the female Knight of Chastity, (IV) Sir
Campbell and Sir Triamond, the Knights of Friendship, (V) Sir Artegall, the Knight of Justice, and (VI) Sir Caledore, the Knight of Courtesy. Book I is an allegory of man's relation to God, Book II, of man's relation to himself, Books III, IV, V, and VI, of man's relation to his fellow-man. Prince Arthur, the personification of Magnificence, by
which Spenser means Magnanimity is the ideal of a perfect character, in which all the private virtues are united. It is a poem of culture, inculcating the moral ideals of Aristotle and the teachings of Christianity.
Füssli, Johann Heinrich, Prince Arthur and the Faerie Queen
Read Una and The Lion:
Fantasy is a popular genre that resembles this pastoral work of the Elizabethan Era. Magical characters with magical names from magical places intrigue many young readers. Many popular games reflect this interest as well.
For this assignment:
#1 Get into groups of 3 or 4.
#2 Create an outline for a fantasy that involves a heroic quest.
#3 Create names for your characters (hero, villain, victim, allies and enemies) and places with brief descriptions.
#4 Present your creations to the class.
English 12 - Mr. RinkaLesson #15
The Faerie Queene