Study Guide

The Faerie Queene Book 5, Canto 5

By Edmund Spenser

Book 5, Canto 5

  • The next day, Radigund prepares for the fight, dressing in a beautiful set of armor with silver and blue ribbons and heading to the meeting place looking very grand.
  • Artegall too comes out prepared to fight and they both enter the ring, hear the trumpet sound, and begin to fight.
  • The fight fiercely, both becoming angrier and angrier and delivering deadlier and deadlier blows.
  • Radigund wounds Artegall in the thigh, but Artegall forces her to drop her shield and is almost about to kill her when, after removing her helmet, he sees her beautiful face. He can't bring himself to hurt her and instead throws down his sword in horror.
  • Radigund, seeing an opportunity, leaps up and continues to attack him until he is forced to admit defeat and agree to be her servant.
  • Poor Turpine doesn't fare so well and is executed by Radigund; Talus, however, no one can force to do anything.
  • Radigund takes Artegall with her into her household and forces him to wear women's clothing and do women's chores.
  • While there, he meets many other famous knights who have been similarly captured, and gets to work doing women's chores.
  • While there, Radigund begins to develop quite a crush on Artegall, which is a problem since she's too proud to admit it.
  • Finally, however, it becomes too much to bear and she pours her heart out to her handmaid Clarin. She explains that she also feels guilty that Artegall suffers because he spared her life.
  • Clarin agrees to help her and to try and gain Artegall's good will, and Radigund gives Clarin a ring to show her trust.
  • So Clarin sets to work being kind to Artegall, who is surprised that one of the handmaidens is being kind to him.
  • They discuss Artegall's bad situation, which he says it is his duty to endure, but Clarin wonders why he hasn't tried to gain favor with Radigund.
  • He says he would if he could, but he never sees her, and while they talk, Clarin starts to develop a crush on Artegall too.
  • So, when Radigund asks for an update on the Artegall situation, Clarin replies that he's completely, 100% uninterested and would rather die than talk to Radigund.
  • This is very upsetting to Radigund, and she orders Clarin to double her efforts, both being more persuasive with him and denying him other luxuries so that he is wearier.
  • Clarin pretends to obey, but actually goes to Artegall and tells him that Radigund will under no circumstances let him free.
  • She claims that she will keep trying, but actually just wants to make sure he stays there.
  • While Artegall is grateful for her help, he is never untrue to his love Britomart.