The Faerie Queene

by Edmund Spenser

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Questions and Answers: Book II, Cantos vii-xii

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1.Why does Guyon enter the cave of Mammon? What happens when he leaves?

2. How do Guyon and Prince Arthur enter Alma’s castle? What is it like?

3. What is striking about Prince Arthur’s battle with Maleger?

4. What role does the Palmer play in the navigation to the Bower of Bliss?

5. What is Arcasia’s effect on her paramours?

1. Although Guyon has refused the wealth Mammon has offered, he is curious to see what it is he refuses. He enters the cave of Mammon out of curiosity and in response to Mammon’s invitation. When he leaves, he collapses from lack of food and water and only survives Pyrochles and Cymochles’ appearance because of the Palmer and Prince Arthur.

2. Guyon and Prince Arthur enter Alma’s castle victoriously, after defeating a band of brigands assailing the castle walls. Inside, they find an orderly castle where everything is useful and rooms exist for each type of good desire. The castle and Alma are models of temperance.

3. Two factors of Prince Arthur’s battle with Malegar are particularly striking. Prince Arthur is saved from death by his Squire, which Spencer attributes to God’s grace. If even Prince Arthur, a Christ-like figure, requires aid to survive, the situation of all men’s dependency on grace becomes evident. The second striking factor is Prince Arthur’s helplessness and the stalemate between him and Maleger. The battle is somewhat dreary to read because Prince Arthur is so impotent. This suggests the fallen state of all men and the need to continue to act despite feelings of helplessness and despair.

4. The Palmer continually restrains Guyon’s wish to linger in unwholesome places, vanquishes the vision of sea monsters, and guides the boat through a heavy mist to land. He controls and steers Guyon and the boat.

5. Arcasia weakens and debilitates her lovers, causing them to put aside their armor and relax in the idle Bower so that she can suck their souls.

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Questions and Answers: Book II, Cantos i-vi


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