Study Guide

The Faerie Queene House of Busirane

By Edmund Spenser

House of Busirane

The House of Busirane, like Busirane himself, is super duper creepy. You don't want this guy to be your interior decorator, that's for sure. Lining his walls with tapestries of famous raped women, the house of Busirane has one of the most extended ekphrasis (just a fancy word for a lengthy and detailed description of an object or work of art) in the whole Faerie Queene.

Considering how unpleasant these tapestries are, it's worth asking why Spenser chooses to linger on them so long. Part of the answer is that his protagonist, Britomart, lingers on them long, becoming so weirdly entranced by their images that she almost forgets to get going and save Amoret. Busirane's house is filled with disturbing images but the worst has to be the horrible theatrical performance Britomart watches next that features the poor Amoret being horribly tortured. Busirane's house is yet another place where Spenser explores his problematic relationship to images and both expresses their power while not presenting that power as particularly positive.