Study Guide

The Hermit in The Faerie Queene

By Edmund Spenser

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The Hermit

This hermit, a former knight, shows the power of spiritual advice and living right in curing seemingly incurable wounds. He, unlike any of the other characters in Book 6, recognizes that the wounds inflicted on Serena and Timias by the Blatant Beast cannot be healed simply with potions or herbs but require an internal change of heart.

Since the Blatant Beast embodies the shame of dishonor, it makes sense that the wounds this beast creates need more than just some ointment. With the guidance and wisdom of the hermit, who combines both worldly knowledge and spiritual enlightenment, both Serena and Timias find the right path to true recovery. The hermit, as a figure who secludes himself from society at large, is a perfect person to correct ills caused by society—the ills of slander and dishonor that come at the risk of existing in the world outside of a weird, secluded cave.

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