Prof. G. Steinberg
Response Paper: Faerie Queene, Book I, Cantos
Choose one of the following areas as the focus of your response paper
on the second half of Book I of the Faerie Queene:
- On the human level, what is happening? How is the story of
Redcrosse Knight and Una unfolding? In what ways do they behave
realistically on a psychological level? How is their relationship
typical of the early stages of love? How does Spenser seem to view love?
- On the moral level, what is happening? If Redcrosse
represents holiness, what is holiness? Is Redcrosse just a pure,
cut-out figure of holiness? Does he have
to learn to be holy? If so, how does he learn? How does Spenser seem to view holiness? Is it
something that we're born with? Is it something that we have to struggle
to achieve? How hard is it to achieve? What are the obstacles in
the way? What are the things that help along the way? How does
holiness (Redcrosse Knight) overcome pride (Orgoglio)? How does holiness
(Redcrosse Knight) overcome sin (the dragon)? Does Spenser seem to have primarily a humanist or a Calvinist
attitude toward virtue (or a combination of the two)?
- In what way might the story of Redcrosse and Una work on the
historical level? Who or what might Orgoglio and Duessa represent?
What recent religious and social events for Spenser might be being imitated by
having Redcrosse and Arthur struggle with Orgoglio and Duessa? Who did
England recently defeat in war? What might the dragon represent?
Given what we said in class about Una's symbolism, what might escaping
Orgoglio and battling a dragon for Una symbolize in England's recent history?
Click here to go to the syllabus.