THE FAERIE QUEENE THEME OF RELIGION
Spenser's The Faerie Queene was written at a time when religious affiliation was seriously important. England had recently broken from the Catholic Church and formed its own Protestant Church. So religion inThe Faerie Queene is often not just an exploration of good living and ethical decision-making (although there's tons o' that, too), but specifically defends Protestant principles over Catholic ones.
This is why there is so much talk of true religious ...view middle of the document...
Questions About Religion
1. If Spenser is clearly involved in exploring Protestant, Christian faith, why are there so many references to Greek and Roman Mythology? What might these references be doing for Spenser and why would he include them in his poem?
2. Often, Spenser's references to religion aren't overt. While Redcrosse is clearly tied to religion through his name and his role in the book of holiness, how might we see other main figures in the Faerie Queene as embodying religious values, issues, or ideals?
3. Why are there so few overt depictions of Christianity in the poem? Why are there no priests, church services, or anything else? Does this call into question Spenser's actual investment in religion? Why or why not?
Chew on This
Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.
The entanglement of religion and politics depicted in the poem (and that existed in Spenser's historical reality outside the poem) makes its engagement with "true" religion very suspect; it's more about politics in the end.
How can Spenser be genuinely interested in religion and faith when he writes a poem with so much violence? Violence is a sin, right?