Study Guide

Argante and Ollyphant in The Faerie Queene

By Edmund Spenser

Argante and Ollyphant

Twin giant siblings, these two unsavory characters embody sex and lust gone horribly wrong. Every time we see them they are capturing a knight with plans to use the knight for their insatiable sexual appetites. Ollyphant, which is just the word for "elephant," may be intended to have phallic connotation associated with the trunk of an elephant and both of their bestial natures are meant to evoke the sexual practice of bestiality (wanting to have sex with animals).

In basically every way these dudes manifest sexual behaviors and desires that fall outside of societal norms, and present a very real threat to knighthood, which depends upon a strict code of sexual and romantic practices.