The Faerie Queene

by Edmund Spenser

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Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 192

The Cult of Elizabeth was an important literary force at the end of the sixteenth century. Because of a number of excessively flattering literary portrayals, Elizabeth, as a virgin queen, achieved goddess status. Discuss how Spenser's depiction of Elizabeth as Gloriana pays homage to this idea of Elizabeth, the goddess.

Investigate the circumstances surrounding the British victory over the Spanish Armada, and discuss the impact of this event on Elizabethan society. Why was it so important for the British to defeat Spain, a Catholic country? Try to explore how a major victory during wartime contributes to national pride. Consider if this is a factor in Spenser's epic. Research the Catholic and Protestant conflict in England during the sixteenth century. Using what you discover, discuss the depiction of both Catholics and Protestants in Book I of Spenser's epic.

The impact of Humanism on sixteenth-century life was an important factor in how society functioned. Spenser saw the world of knights and religious quests as providing an effective model to teach people about truth, loyalty, and virtue. Select a modern text or film and discuss how this piece teaches its audience about these same attributes.

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