Study Guide

The Faerie Queene Book 1, Canto 6

By Edmund Spenser

Book 1, Canto 6

  • Redcrosse is relieved to have escaped the fate of those dead men, but as he goes on his way, he remains sad that had to leave Duessa behind and that Una let him down.
  • Speaking of Una (who, of course, hadn't actually done anything wrong), she's stuck with the horrible Archimago, who has decided he wants to sleep with her.
  • He first tries to flatter and beg Una, which totally fails, and finally becomes physically aggressive and tries to rape her.
  • Terrified, she starts to scream, and luckily, a nearby group of dancing fauns (wood-dwelling half-goat, half-men creatures) and satyrs hear her cries and run to the rescue, scaring away both Sansloy and Archimago.
  • Now, fauns and satyrs aren't particularly known for being gentlemanly to ladies in distress. However, when this bunch sees just how scared and beautiful Una is, they feel really bad for her and show her that they mean her no harm.
  • Una is wary at first (she doesn't have the best track-record when it comes to trusting people) but finally sees that they mean well and they take her, dancing and singing, to their leader, Sylvanus.
  • At first, Sylvanus wonders what in the world is making them so happy, but as soon as he sees the beautiful Una, he's amazed at her beauty.
  • All the woodland people worship her as goddess, and even Sylvanus wonders how she can be mortal.
  • She's so beautiful he begins to think about his old lover, Cyparissus, who accidentally shot his favorite deer and spent the rest of his life inconsolable.
  • Wood-dwelling nymphs also come to see her beauty, but become jealous and flee.
  • Delighted to finally be safe, Una puts up with this fawning (heh, heh: it's funny because they're fauns) for a time, although she puts her foot down when they try to actually worship her, and so they go off and worship her donkey. Go figure.
  • As it happened, a virtuous and noble knight comes into the forest. He's the son of a satyr and a lady named Thyamis.
  • Thyamis had been engaged to a man named Therion, who preferred roaming the wild to being with her and so, one day as she was following him, she was captured by a satyr and soon had a child, who was left to be raised in the forest by the satyr.
  • The son became very strong and powerful and was even able to tame and terrify wild beasts, which frightened his mother when she came to visit.
  • This young man's name was Satyrane and he became a great knight, famed for his courage throughout Faerie Land, and every so often he would come back to the forest to fight the wild beasts.
  • So it's Satyrane who comes into the forest and is amazed when he sees the beautiful Una teaching the satyrs.
  • He decides she is the best woman he has ever seen, and vows to stay with her.
  • She is comforted by his company, but really misses Redcrosse and so Satyrane helps her escape from the satyrs and the forest.
  • As they are traveling, they finally catch sight of someone who might have news and, even though this person seems to being trying to avoid them, they catch up to him.
  • He is clearly someone who has traveled, and although he doesn't know anything about adventures, he does know that a knight named Redcrosse is dead.
  • Una is horrified and almost dies from the news, but rallies, and asks the Pilgrim to explain.
  • He says that he had come across two knights fighting and that the other knight had killed Redcrosse.
  • Una can't believe Redcrosse could have been defeated so easily. Satyrane finds out where the knight who killed him might be and heads in that direction.
  • Una is too grief-stricken to follow as quickly.
  • Satyrane finds the knight who he believes killed Redcrosse, and it's actually Sansloy. Satyrane challenges him to fight.
  • Sansloy responds that he didn't kill Redcrosse, but the two fight viciously anyway (because, why not?) until Una finally finds them.
  • When Sansloy sees Una, who he remembers and thinks is cute, he tries to pursue her but Satyrane stops him.
  • Una, terrified, runs away.
  • The Pilgrim watches with delight… because (gasp!) the Pigrim is actually Archimago in disguise. He chases after poor Una while the two knights are distracted fighting one another.