Study Guide

The Faerie Queene Love

By Edmund Spenser

Love

If there's one thing that unites this otherwise massive, unwieldy poem it's love. Whether good or bad, female or male, knight or monster… chances are that love, romance, or sexual desire plays an important role in every character's actions and identity. Of course, distinguishing between those three categories is an important part of why love is so central to The Faerie Queene.

Spenser really wants us to think about how we distinguish between true, life-long love and infatuation and inconsequential little crushes. Almost every happily ended storyline in the poem ends with an engagement. In the world of The Faerie Queen, all you need is love.

Questions About Love

  1. Only a handful of characters in The Faerie Queene are not actually motivated by love at some point. Identify a few of these characters and think about why they might not be involved with this important concept.
  2. Can you think of any connections between the concept of love and being a knight? Why might the two go together? Are there ways in which they seem incompatible?
  3. Are love and happiness synonymous in The Faerie Queene? Why or why not?

Chew on This

Spenser's The Faerie Queene isn't actually about real love at all. We never see characters form complex emotional relationships—they just see each other and decide to be in love.

You want to stay away from love in The Faerie Queene—it's a one way ticket to abandonment, sorrow, and death.

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