The Faerie Queene Characters

Characters Discussed (Great Characters in Literature)

Gloriana

Gloriana, the Faerie Queene, an idealized portrait of Queen Elizabeth. Although she does not appear in the extant portion of the poem, many of the knights set out on their quests from her court, and they often praise her virtue and splendor.

Prince Arthur

Prince Arthur, the legendary British hero, who represents Magnificence, the perfection of all virtues. He rides in search of Gloriana, who had appeared to him in a vision, and, on his way, aids knights in distress.

The Red Cross Knight

The Red Cross Knight, the hero of book 1, in which he represents both England’s patron, Saint George, and Christian man in search of holiness. He sets out confidently to rescue Una’s parents from the dragon of evil, but he is attacked by forces of sin and error that drive him to the point of suicide. He is restored in the House of Holiness by the teachings and offices of the church and, refreshed by a fountain and a tree, symbolizing the sacraments of baptism and communion, he triumphs in his three-day combat with the dragon.

Una

Una (EW-nah), the daughter of the King and Queen of the West, Adam and Eve; she personifies truth and the church. She advises her knight wisely, but she cannot protect him from himself. Deserted, she is aided by a lion and a troop of satyrs. She is finally restored to the Red Cross Knight, who is betrothed to her after his victory over the dragon.

The Dwarf

The Dwarf, her companion, Common Sense.

Error

Error, the Red Cross Knight’s first adversary, a monster who lives in the wandering wood.

Archimago

Archimago (ahr-chih-MAH-goh), a satanic figure who uses many disguises in his attempts to lure the knights and ladies of the poem into sin and disaster.

Duessa

Duessa (dew-EHS-seh), his accomplice, whose attractive appearance hides her real hideousness. She represents variously Falsehood, the Roman Catholic Church, and Mary, Queen of Scots.

Sans Foy

Sans Foy,

Sans Loy

Sans Loy, and

Sans Joy

Sans Joy, Saracen knights who attack Una and her knight.

Fradubio

Fradubio (frah-DEW-bee-oh), a knight betrayed by Duessa and transformed into a tree.

Kirkrapine

Kirkrapine (KURK-rah-peen), a church robber, slain by Una’s lion when he tries to enter the cottage where she has taken refuge.

Abessa

Abessa (AH-beh-sah), his mistress.

Corceca

Corceca (KOHR-seh-kah), her blind mother.

Lucifera

Lucifera (lew-SIH-feh-rah), the mistress of the House of Pride.

Malvenu

Malvenu (MAHL-veh-new), her porter.

Vanity

Vanity, her usher.

Night

Night, the mother of falsehood, to whom Duessa appeals for help.

Aesculapius

Aesculapius (ehs-kew-LAY-pee-uhs), the physician of the gods.

Sylvanus

Sylvanus (SIHL-vah-nuhs), the leader of the satyrs who rescue Una from Sans Loy.

Satyrane

Satyrane (SA-tih-rayn), a valiant, gentle knight who is half nobleman and half satyr.

Despair

Despair, an emaciated creature who drives warriors to suicide with his sophistic recitals of their sins.

Trevisan

Trevisan (TREH-vih-san), one of his intended victims.

Dame Coelia

Dame Coelia (CHEE-lee-ah), a virtuous matron who lives in the House of Holiness.

Fidelia

Fidelia (fih-DAY-lee-ah),

Speranza

Speranza (speh-RAN-zah), and

Charissa

Charissa (cha-RIHS-sah), her daughters, Faith, Hope, and Charity.

Contemplation

Contemplation, a holy hermit who gives the Red Cross Knight a vision of the City of God, then sends him back into the world to complete his quest.

Guyon

Guyon (GWEE-on), the Knight of Temperance, the sternest of the Spenserian heroes, who must violently destroy Acrasia’s power and all of its temptations that lead men to intemperance.

Palmer

Palmer, his faithful companion, who stands for Reason or Prudence.

Acrasia

Acrasia (ah-KRAY-zee-ah), the Circe-like mistress of the Bower of Bliss. She lures men to their ruin in her world of debilitating luxuriance and turns them into animals.

Amavia

Amavia (ah-MAY-vee-ah), the desolate widow of one of her victims.

Ruddymane

Ruddymane, her baby, whose hands cannot be cleansed of his dying mother’s blood.

Medina

Medina (meh-DEE-nah),

Perissa

Perissa (peh-RIHS-sah), and

Elissa

Elissa, sisters who personify the mean, the deficiency, and the excess of temperance.

Sir Huddibras

Sir Huddibras (HEW-dee-brahs), a malcontent, Elissa’s lover.

Braggadocio

Braggadocio (brahg-ga-DOH-chee-oh), a vainglorious braggart who masquerades as a knight on Guyon’s stolen horse.

Trompart

Trompart, his miserly companion.

Belphoebe

Belphoebe (behl-FEE-bee), a virgin huntress, reared by the goddess Diana, who cannot respond to the devotion offered by Prince Arthur’s squire, Timias. She is another of the figures conceived as a compliment to Elizabeth.

Furor

Furor, a churlish fellow whom Guyon finds furiously beating a helpless squire.

Occasion

Occasion, his mother, a hag.

Phedon

Phedon (FAY-don), the maltreated squire, who falls into Furor’s hands through his jealousy of his lady, Pryene, and his friend Philemon.

Pyrochles

Pyrochles (PIH-roh-kleez) and

Cymochles

Cymochles (SIH-mah-kleez), intemperate knights defeated by Guyon.

Atin

Atin (AT-ihn), Pyrochles’ servant.

Phaedria

Phaedria (FAY-dree-ah), a coquette who lures knights to her island, where she lulls them into forgetfulness of their quests.

Mammon

Mammon, the god of riches, who sits in rusty armor surveying his hoard of gold.

Philotime

Philotime (fih-LOH-tih-mee), his daughter, who holds the golden chain of ambition.

Alma

Alma, the soul, mistress of the castle of the body where Guyon and Prince Arthur take refuge.

Phantastes

Phantastes (FAN-tahs-teez) and

Eumnestes

Eumnestes (ewm-NEHS-teez), guardians, respectively, of fantasy and of memory.

Maleger

Maleger (mah-LEE-gur), the captain of the shadowy forces who attacked the bulwarks of the House of Alma.

Verdant

Verdant, a knight released by Guyon from Acrasia’s clutches.

Grille

Grille, one of Acrasia’s victims. He reviles Guyon and the Palmer for restoring his human form.

Britomart

Britomart (BRIH-toh-mahrt), the maiden knight, heroine of the book of Chastity. She subdues the forces of lust as she travels in search of Artegall, with whom she fell in love when she saw him in a magic mirror. Her union with him represents the alliance of justice and mercy as well as Spenser’s ideal of married chastity, which surpasses the austere virginity of Belphoebe.

Malecasta

Malecasta (mal-eh-KAS-teh), the lady of delight, beautiful and wanton, who entertains Britomart in Castle Joyous.

Glauce

Glauce (GLAW-see), Britomart’s nurse, who accompanies her as her squire.

Merlin

Merlin, the famous magician, whom Glauce and Britomart consult to learn the identity of the knight in the mirror.

Marinell

Marinell (MA-rih-nehl), the timid son of a sea nymph and Florimell’s lover.

Cymoent

Cymoent (SIH-mehnt), his mother.

Florimell

Florimell (FLOH-rih-mehl), the loveliest and gentlest of the ladies in Faerie Land. She is pursued by many evil beings, men and gods, before she is wed to Marinell.

Timias

Timias (TIH-mee-as), Prince Arthur’s squire, who is healed of severe wounds by Belphoebe. Although he falls in love with her, he can never win more than kindness as a response.

Crysogene

Crysogene (krih-SAW-jeh-nee), the mother of Belphoebe and Amoret, who were conceived by the sun.

Argante

Argante (ahr-GAHN-tee), a giantess, one of the figures of lust.

Ollyphant

Ollyphant (AW-lee-fant), her brother and lover.

A Squire of Dames

A Squire of Dames, Argante’s prisoner.

Snowy Florimell

Snowy Florimell, Braggadocio’s lady, a creature made by a witch with whom Florimell had stayed.

Proteus

Proteus (PROH-tee-uhs), the shepherd of the sea, who rescues Florimell from a lecherous fisherman.

Panope

Panope (PAN-oh-pee), an old nymph, his housekeeper.

Paridell

Paridell (PAR-ih-dehl), a vain, lascivious knight.

Malbecco

Malbecco (mal-BEHK-koh), a miserly, jealous old man.

Hellenore

Hellenore (HEHL-leh-nohr), his young wife, who runs away with Paridell.

Scudamour

Scudamour (SKEW-dah-mohr), the knight most skilled in the art of courtly love. He wins Amoret at the court of Venus, but she is taken from him almost immediately.

Amoret

Amoret (AM-ohr-eht), his beautiful bride, who is taken prisoner at her own wedding by Busirane, who represents her own passions and the confining forces of the rigid code of love in which she has grown up.

Busirane

Busirane (BEW-sih-rayn), her captor.

Venus

Venus, the goddess of love and a personification of the creative force in nature, Amoret’s foster mother.

Adonis

Adonis (uh-DON-ihs), her lover.

Diana

Diana, the divine huntress, the virgin goddess who raises Belphoebe.

Ate

Ate (AH-tay), Discord, a malicious old woman who stirs up strife.

Blandamour

Blandamour (BLAN-dah-mohr), a fickle knight.

Sir Ferraugh

Sir Ferraugh (FEHR-raw), one of the suitors of Snowy Florimell.

Cambello

Cambello (kam-BEHL-loh), one of the knights of friendship.

Canacee

Canacee (KA-nah-see), his sister, a wise and beautiful lady who is won by Triamond.

Cambina

Cambina (kam-BEE-nah), Cambello’s wife.

Priamond

Priamond (PREE-ah-mond),

Diamond

Diamond, and

Triamond

Triamond (TREE-ah-mond), brothers who fight for the hand of Canacee. The first two are killed, but their strength passes into their victorious surviving brother.

Artegall

Artegall (AHR-teh-gahl), the knight of Justice, Britomart’s beloved.

Talus

Talus (TAH-luhs), the iron man, his implacable attendant, who upholds justice untempered by mercy.

Aemylia

Aemylia (eh-MEE-lee-ah), a lady imprisoned with Amoret by a villainous churl and rescued by Belphoebe.

Corflambo

Corflambo (kohr-FLAHM-boh), a mighty pagan who corrupts his enemies by filling them with lust.

Poeana

Poeana (pee-AH-nah), his rude, tyrannical daughter.

Amyas

Amyas (ah-MEE-ahs), the Squire of Low Degree, Aemylia’s suitor.

Placidas

Placidas (PLAH-see-dahs), another squire loved by Poeana. Encouraged by Prince Arthur, Placidas marries Poeana and reforms her.

Druon

Druon (DREW-on) and

Claribell

Claribell, pugnacious companions of Blandamour and Paridell.

Thames

Thames (TAH-mees) and

Medway

Medway, the river god and goddess whose marriage is attended by the famous waterways of the world.

Neptune

Neptune, the sea god to whom Marinell’s mother pleads for Florimell’s release from Proteus.

Grantorto

Grantorto (gran-TOHR-toh), a tyrant who holds Irena’s country in his power. He is the emblem of the political strength of the Roman Catholic Church.

Irena

Irena, his victim, who appeals to the Faerie Queene for help.

Sir Sanglier

Sir Sanglier (SAHN-glee-ayr), a cruel lord who is chastened by Talus.

Pollente

Pollente (pohl-LEHN-tay), a Saracen warrior who extorts money from travelers.

Munera

Munera (MEW-neh-rah), his daughter, the keeper of his treasury.

Giant Communism

Giant Communism, Artegall’s foe. He tries to weigh everything in his scales, but he learns, before Talus hurls him into the sea, that truth and falsehood, right and wrong, cannot be balanced.

Amidas

Amidas (AH-mih-dahs) and

Bracidas

Bracidas (BRA-see-dahs), brothers whose dispute over a treasure chest is settled by Artegall.

Philtera

Philtera (FIHL-teh-rah), Bracidas’ betrothed, who weds his wealthy brother.

Lucy

Lucy, Amidas’ deserted sweetheart, Bracidas’ wife.

Sir Turpine

Sir Turpine (TUR-pih-nay), a knight whom Artegall discovers bound and tormented by Amazon warriors. He refuses aid to Calepine and Serena.

Radigund

Radigund (RA-dih-guhnd), the queen of the Amazons. She captures Artegall and dresses him in women’s clothes to humiliate him, then falls in love with him and tries unsuccessfully to win him.

Clarinda

Clarinda, her attendant, who comes to love Artegall as she woos him for her mistress.

Dolon

Dolon (DOH-lon), Deceit, a knight who tries to entrap Britomart.

Mercilla

Mercilla (mur-SIHL-lah), a just and merciful maiden queen whose realm is threatened by a mighty warrior.

The Souldan

The Souldan, her enemy, thought to represent Philip of Spain. He is destroyed by the brilliant light of Prince Arthur’s diamond shield.

Malengin

Malengin (mah-LEHN-gihn), an ingenious villain who transforms himself into different shapes at will. Talus crushes him with his iron flail.

Belgae

Belgae (BEHL-jeh), a mother who loses twelve of her seventeen children to the tyrant Geryoneo and appeals to Mercilla for help.

Geryoneo

Geryoneo (jeh-ree-OH-nee-oh), her enemy, the power of Spain, who is slain by Artegall.

Burbon

Burbon, a knight rescued by Artegall as he fights Grantorto’s men to rescue his lady, Flourdelis (France).

Sir Sergis

Sir Sergis, Irena’s faithful adviser.

Calidore

Calidore (KAH-lih-dohr), the knight of Courtesy, sent to destroy the Blatant Beast, malicious gossip.

Briana

Briana (bree-AH-nah), a proud lady who abuses the laws of hospitality by demanding the hair and beards of ladies and gentlemen who pass her castle.

Crudor

Crudor, the disdainful knight for whom she weaves a mantle of hair.

Tristram

Tristram, a young prince reared in the forest who impresses Prince Arthur with his instinctive courtesy.

Aldus

Aldus (AL-duhs), a worthy old knight.

Aladine

Aladine (AL-ah-deen), his son.

Priscilla

Priscilla, Aladine’s lady.

Serena

Serena, a noble lady, severely wounded by the Blatant Beast.

Calepine

Calepine (KAH-leh-peen), her knight.

Blandina

Blandina, Sir Turpine’s wife, who tries to assuage his cruelty.

The Salvage Man

The Salvage Man, a “noble savage,” another untaught practitioner of courtesy.

Matilde

Matilde, a childless noblewoman who adopts a baby rescued by Calidore from a bear.

Mirabella

Mirabella, a proud, insolent lady.

Disdaine

Disdaine (dihs-DAYN) and

Scorne

Scorne, her tormentors.

Pastorella

Pastorella, a nobleman’s daughter who grows up with shepherds. Calidore falls in love with her and with her rustic life.

Meliboee

Meliboee (MEHL-ih-bee), her wise foster father, who warns Calidore that happiness is not to be found in one place or another but in oneself.

Coridon

Coridon (KOHR-ih-don), Pastorella’s shepherd admirer.

Colin Clout

Colin Clout, a shepherd poet who pipes to the graces on Mount Acidale.

Sir Bellamour

Sir Bellamour, Calidore’s friend and Pastorella’s father.

Claribell

Claribell, his wife.

Melissa

Melissa, her maid, who discovers Pastorella’s true identity.

Mutability

Mutability, a proud Titaness who challenges the power of Cynthia, the moon goddess.

Cynthia

Cynthia, her rival.

Mercury

Mercury, the messenger of the gods.

Jove

Jove, the king of the gods.

Mollana

Mollana, a nymph and an Irish river.

Faunus

Faunus (FAW-nuhs), a satyr who pursues her.

Dame Nature

Dame Nature, a great veiled figure who hears Mutability’s arguments and judges, finally, that order reigns in all change.

The Faerie Queene Characters

Acrasia
Acrasia is the mistress of the Bower of Bliss. She is Circe-like in her ability to lure men to their destruction. It...

(The entire section is 1048 words.)