Study Guide

Phaon or Phedon in The Faerie Queene

By Edmund Spenser

Phaon or Phedon

If you think love is the best thing ever no question, try chatting with Phaon, the victim of Occasion and Furor. He might make you feel a bit differently. His sad tale, a source for Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, is a lesson in just how out of control too much love, and the wrong kind, can get.

Betrayed by his friend, Philemon, whose name means self-love, Phaon is constantly swinging between opposing extremes: madly in love with his fiancée, Claribell, or utterly convinced she's been cheating on him. By giving into these extreme passionate feelings, he produces an occasion for Furor—"Rage"—to possess him.