Study Guide

Amoret in The Faerie Queene

By Edmund Spenser

Amoret

There are a lot of sad characters in Spenser's Faerie Queene, but none really tops the long-suffering Amoret, whose life is a series of near rapes, imprisonments, and trials against her will.

Even her fiancé, Scudamore, initially steals her, deaf to her protests, from the temple of Venus, only to lose her that night when she's captured by the evil magician Busirane. But more unsettling than the consistency of Amoret's troubles is their nature. Amoret is subject to some of the most horrific tortures of the entire Faerie Queene: she's almost raped and eaten alive by the savage and, even worse, tied to a pillar, her chest pierced by a long, spear-like pen while her heart removed and her blood used as ink in the house of Busirane.

Her torments are so extreme in the house of Busirane that even the narrator himself expresses distress for her condition. As we discuss in the section on Busirane, the use of her blood and her body as a physical source of ink for writing suggests that Amoret might be emblematic of the larger exploitation of female bodies and female suffering in poetry, particularly love poetry. Her name, which means "love," and her many trials also point to the general idea that love necessarily involves a certain amount of pain and suffering.