The Faerie Queene

The Faerie Queene

by

Edmund Spenser

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The Faerie Queene: Book II: Canto III Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The next morning, Sir Guyon gets up and decides to continue on his quest to get vengeance on Acrasia. He decides to name the orphan baby Ruddymane. Sir Guyon walks because his horse was stolen by a man named Braggadochio. Braggadochio stole the horse by boasting and pretending to be strong. The servant who was watching the horse prostrated himself before Braggadochio and begged for mercy. His name is Trompart. Now Braggadochio forces Trompart to serve him.
Unlike the first book of the poem, which for the most part focused on the two heroes Redcross and Una, later books follow a wider range of perspectives. In some cantos, this even includes villains, as it does here with the horse thief Braggadochio, whose very name suggests that he is a proud character, far from the temperate personality of Sir Guyon.
Themes
Virtue, Allegory, and Symbolism Theme Icon
Protestantism Theme Icon
Deception and Lies Theme Icon
In their travels, Braggadochio and Trompart run into Archimago. Archimago figures Braggadochio must be a grand knight who would be familiar with the Redcross Knight and Sir Guyon. Archimago decides to try to plant the rumor that Redcross and Guyon murdered Sir Mordant. At hearing this, Braggadochio acts enraged and threatens death on those two knights.
While both the Redcross Knight and Sir Guyon resisted the tricks of Archimago earlier in the book, Braggadochio is a much less righteous character, and so he is also much more vulnerable to falling for Archimago’s deceptive words.
Themes
Virtue, Allegory, and Symbolism Theme Icon
Protestantism Theme Icon
Deception and Lies Theme Icon
Archimago advises Braggadochio to get a proper sword in order to slay the Redcross Knight and Sir Guyon, but Braggadochio brags that he doesn’t need a sword. Archimago insists that he will get Prince Arthur’s powerful sword and give it to Braggadochio. He vanishes.
Braggadochio can’t help being boastful. Perhaps he brags that he won’t need a sword to slay the Redcross Knight and Sir Guyon because he has no intention of actually following up on his boasts and fighting them for real.
Themes
Virtue, Allegory, and Symbolism Theme Icon
Protestantism Theme Icon
Deception and Lies Theme Icon
Braggadochio and Trompart set off again, and they meet a lady in hunting clothes (Belphoebe). She is fair and resembles the hunter goddess Diana. She spots Trompart and addresses him. Trompart praises the woman, saying that she is like a goddess to him. The woman almost shoots Braggadochio with her bow, seeing him move and believing him to be an animal, but Trompart stops her. Braggadochio is also wowed by the woman.
Diana was a famously virginal hunting goddess, so it is safe to assume that the chaste Belphoebe is virtuous and perhaps another character inspired by Queen Elizabeth. Characters in the poem who are associated with nature and forests are often (although not always) virtuous.
Themes
Virtue, Allegory, and Symbolism Theme Icon
British Identity and Nationalism Theme Icon
Protestantism Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
The Role of Women Theme Icon
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Braggadochio is filled with lust and tries to grab the woman, but she fends him off with her javelin. She flees. Trompart suggests that to avoid trouble, they should just let the woman go, but Braggadochio says he isn’t afraid of her. They continue their journey.
Braggadochio can admire the beauty of virtuous women like Belphoebe, but he lacks the temperance to control himself around them, and this is what separates him from Sir Guyon.
Themes
Virtue, Allegory, and Symbolism Theme Icon
British Identity and Nationalism Theme Icon
Protestantism Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
The Role of Women Theme Icon