Study Guide

The Faerie Queene Book 2, Canto 3

By Edmund Spenser

Book 2, Canto 3

  • When morning comes, Guyon says goodbye to Medina and leaves her to care for Amavia's baby, who he calls Ruddymane (poor kid!) and goes on his way to find Acrasia on foot.
  • Meanwhile, we learn that Guyon's horse was stolen by a vain and mischievous man named Braggadochio.
  • As soon as Braggadochio gets this horse, he pretends to be a terrifying and violent knight, and intimidates a man he find resting a field.
  • The man, terrified, begs for mercy and soon Braggadochio makes him his servant.
  • This servant, however, named Trompart, soon proves more cunning than he appears and easily figures out that he can manipulate Braggadochio by constantly flattering him.
  • The two soon come across our old friend Archimago, who, seeing how grand a knight Braggadochio seems to be, assumes he must know Redcrosse and Guyon.
  • Archimago asks Trompart who that knight is, and Trompart answers that he's a fearsome knight vowing to get revenge on those who stole his sword (apparently, Braggadochio only has a spear he stole from Guyon, no sword).
  • Archimago, as usual, decides to trick Braggadochio and goes to him pretending that Redcrosse and Guyon have done him great wrong and must be punished.
  • Braggadochio vows to do that, although Archimago recommends he find a sword before taking them on.
  • Braggadochio laughs at this, insisting it's not necessary, and invents various past situations in which he defeated knights while being out-numbered.
  • Archimago still thinks this guy needs a sword, and so he tells him that Arthur, a very famous knight, also has a very famous and powerful sword and that he, Archimago, is going to get it for him. And then, Archimago disappears.
  • Braggadochio and Trompart are now rather alarmed and run off terror when the magician disappears so unexpectedly.
  • They find themselves cowering in fear in a forest when all of sudden they see a beautiful lady dressed as a hunter.
  • She isn't just beautiful—she's radiant, with sunlight seeming to stream from her eyes, beautiful blond hair, and an incredible golden bow.
  • Trompart is amazed to see this woman, who, when she sees him, asks if he's seen a wounded deer run by.
  • Trompart admits that he hasn't and before she can respond, she almost kills Braggadochio (who is hiding in a bush) thinking he's a wild animal.
  • Trompart stops her just in time, explaining it's actually his lord, a "great" knight, and Braggadochio slowly emerges, dazzled by this woman's appearance.
  • She greets him, praising his knighthood, and he invents some more amazing deeds he's done before asking her why she's in the forest instead of enjoying herself and gaining honors at court.
  • She replies that court is the worst place to find true honor; true honor is found by doing honest labor in the woods, in crafts, or in fighting.
  • Before she can finish, Braggadochio decides she's pretty good looking and tries to grab her for himself.
  • Bad idea. She threatens him with her spear and then rushes off.
  • Braggadochio, again amazed, is a bit irritated that she wouldn't sleep with him, but Trompart advises him to forget about her and not stir up trouble... she might have even been a goddess, he thinks.
  • Braggadochio simply replies that even if she was, he wasn't afraid. They decide to head off in search of other things.