Study Guide

The Faerie Queene Book 5, Canto 6

By Edmund Spenser

Book 5, Canto 6

  • Even though some readers might think it's shameful that Artegall has been captured by women, our narrator wants us to know that it isn't and that he behaved himself perfectly.
  • But poor Britomart, in the meantime, was getting very anxious about her lover because he hasn't returned.
  • Sometimes she worried he was dead, other times she became jealous and convinced that he had left her for another woman.
  • Finally, she resolves to look for him, and after searching far and wide eventually runs into Talus.
  • Talus informs her that Artegall has been captured by an Amazon, and immediately Britomart assumes he's lying and that Artegall has willingly sought her out.
  • She bewails her lover's infidelity and vows revenge, moping and complaining in her bedroom.
  • After having a fit, she returns to Talus to find out more details and resolves to go and find Artegall herself.
  • As she and Talus head to find him, they come across a rather old knight, whom Britomart wasn't particularly interested in talking to, but who invites them to stay with him that night.
  • They spend a pleasant enough evening and Britomart heads to bed, refusing, however, to remove her armor (which irks her host—not a good sign).
  • Neither Britomart nor Talus get much sleep, but Britomart lies awake feeling guilty for having doubted her beloved.
  • When morning comes, however, she's in for a surprise when her bed turns out to be a trap that causes her to fall into a cellar below.
  • Suspecting treachery, she prepares to face an enemy and sure enough she hears armed soldiers coming toward her.
  • Sure enough, they are attacked, but Talus is able to easily fight them off.
  • Britomart, however, remains stuck in the cellar waiting, the intended target of the treachery.
  • Their host, it turns out, is named Dolon and is a bad knight who takes pleasure in shaming other knights.
  • He has three sons, the eldest of which, named Guizor, was killed by Artegall and now Dolon seeks revenge.
  • The next day Britomart leaves her cellar to seek out her host and take revenge, but can't find anyone anywhere in the house.
  • She decides then to leave but comes to the perilous bridge where Artegall has fought Pollente. She notices the two knights guarding it but charges right through—killing both of them—and continues on her journey.