THE ALLEGORY BEHIND THE STORY
The Faerie Queene poem by Spenser is an adventure story, but it’s an allegorical work on several levels. Spenser tries to portray aspects of the real life through fictional characters and events. He lived at the time when England was breaking away from Catholicism and turning to Protestantism after Queen Elizabeth I came into power. However, there was still much anti-Elizabeth propaganda from the Catholics circulating on the streets, so we can see why Spenser wrote this poem to honor who he deeply admired and his religion in general, as well as to criticize Catholicism. In the poem, all of the character’s names have an allegorical meaning. The “good” characters can be seen as the good and true Protestants, and the “bad” characters, as the fake and evil Catholics.
Looking at the character of the Faerie Queen, we can see how Spencer felt about Queen Elizabeth. The name of the queen in the poem was “Gloriana”, which means “glorious”, “That greatest Gloriana to him gave, That greatest Glorious Queene of Faerie lond” (721). Spencer expresses how much he looked up to Queen Elizabeth by using this name for her in the poem, and what he thought of her ruling, how she protects the weak, honors the strong, and rules benevolently and fairy his land England.
The Red Crosse Knight and Una, represent the Protestant individual and his faith, which go hand in hand. The knight can be seen as a Christian in the search of holiness who is protected by God; in this case the shield with the bloody Cross represents God. Una is portrayed as pure and innocent, which is what true faith is all about. In the first three Cantos, we see how a protestant can be separated from his true faith by evil doers or false religions and beliefs and become more vulnerable. The knight got separated from his Una because of Archimago and Duessa’s (the bad guys) actions and then everything went wrong for both of them, which imply that in order to become a good and strong...