Study Guide

Phaon or Phedon in The Faerie Queene

By Edmund Spenser

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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.

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