Study Guide

The Faerie Queene Book 4, Canto 9

By Edmund Spenser

Book 4, Canto 9

  • Our narrator reflects on the powerful nature of both love and friendship to overcome hardships and to stand up to evil.
  • Now Arthur is trying to think of a way to free Amyas from the prison of Poeana.
  • He takes the decapitated body of Corflambo and props it up again on the dromedary, attaching the head, and makes it look as though he's bringing back to Placidas as his prisoner.
  • In this way, they are admitted to the house of Poeana who is singing a magical melody about her lover.
  • Arthur, enchanted by her music for a moment almost is seduced, but quickly comes to himself and seizes her.
  • She quickly realizes she's been trapped and that her father is actually dead and she begins to cry for help.
  • Arthur forces the dwarf to open the prison and Amyas is freed and rushes into the arms of both Aemylia and Placidas.
  • Poeana watches in bitter jealousy, but is also amazed, as everyone is, at how similarly Amyas and Placidas look; in fact, Poeana even begins to doubt which one she initially loved.
  • Arthur and others then ransack the castle, taking the treasure hoarded there (it's okay—it was stolen from others) and then decide to rest.
  • Arthur frees Poeana, who is still upset about her father's death and the loss of her love.
  • But Arthur suavely calms her down and eventually convinces Placidas to take her as his wife, and to thus rule over her father's land happily ever after.
  • So Arthur leaves the happy couples and heads out with Amoret, who is again afraid, unnecessarily, that Arthur might defile her honor.
  • As they ride, they come across six knights left over from tournament, four of whom are fighting: Blandamour, Paridell, Claribell, and Duron.
  • We learn that Duron rejects love completely, Claribell loves excessively, Blandamour loves inconsistently, and Paridell loves lustfully.
  • The other knights watching them are Britomart and Scudamore, who are puzzled at how ferociously these knights are fighting.
  • They are fighting over the lover of Florimell, and constantly change sides and opponents in this ongoing conflict.
  • But when they see Britomart and Scudamore, and remember that Britomart won Florimell initially, they turn and attack both of them.
  • Although Britomart attempts to talk with them, they ignore her and continue to attack.
  • When Arthur sees this, he immediately intervenes, first trying to make peace them and then joining the fight to force them to listen.
  • They explain to him that Britomart unfairly won their love at a tournament, but Britomart corrects them and says she didn't actually claim Florimell.
  • Arthur chastises them and says that they're behaving un-chivalrously and that you should always let a lady choose who she loves.
  • Britomart then replies how sad she is that she has lost Amoret, to which Scudamore jumps in and says he's the one who's really sad since she belonged to him (the fact that Amoret is with Arthur seems to be lost on everyone) and since loving her has been such a trial.
  • Claribell than asks Scudamore to recount how he came to love Amoret while they all go on their way.