Study Guide

The Faerie Queene What's Up With the Title?

By Edmund Spenser

What's Up With the Title?

Named after the one character we never actually meet, The Faerie Queene's title evokes the mystery and power associated with the ruler of Faerie Land. Since the character of the Faerie Queene is meant to be a representation of Queen Elizabeth I, naming the entire poem after that character clearly demonstrates Spenser's political agenda to get on the good side of the queen—the poem is dedicated to her as well.

But more than that, it also communicates the poem's two central interests: depicting the imaginative and fantastic world of Faerie and depicting the real challenges and triumphs that come with living under a powerful queen. Although clearly operating within a totally fictional world, the knights and villains we meet in Faerie share a preoccupation with how to live, rightly or wrongly, in a monarchy where the court and queen are at the center.