The Faerie Queene

by Edmund Spenser

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Questions and Answers: Book III, Prologue-Canto vi

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1. Why doesn’t Britomart remove her armor at Castle Joyeous? What mistake does that lead Malecasta into?

2. Why does Britomart malign Artegall?

3. Why does Florimell flee Faerie Court? Why does she flee Prince Arthur?

4. What is darkly humorous about Cymoent’s attempt to protect her son from the prophecy’s fate?

5. Describe Belphoebe and her twin’s birth and upbringing.

1. Britomart leaves her armor on to hide her gender. Britomart’s beautiful face then incites Malecasta’s lust because she believes Britomart to be male.

2. Britomart is in love with Artegall and wishes to hear stories about him from Redcross, so she uses an insult to Artegall to provoke Redcross into praising Artegall.

3. Florimell flees Faerie Court because she hears that Marinell, her true love, is dead. Florimell flees Prince Arthur because she is afraid of all men being lustful.

4. Cymoent protects Marinell against the love of women because of a prophecy saying a woman will greatly harm Marinell. Cymoent does not worry that her strong, brave young son will be injured by a female, and so Britomart’s wounding of Marinell makes the prophecy both literal and true. Cymoent protected Marinell against the wrong kind of assault from a woman because Cymoent stereotyped women.

5. Belphoebe and Amoretta were born of a virgin who was impregnated by sunbeams and had her children while she was asleep. Venus and Diana found the newborns, and Amoretta was raised in the Garden of Adonis to be an example of femininity and true love, while Belphoebe was raised in virginal, female company in the woods with Diana’s nymphs.

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Questions and Answers: Book II, Cantos vii-xii


Questions and Answers: Book III, Cantos vii-xii