The Faerie Queene

The Faerie Queene

by

Edmund Spenser

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Faerie Queene can help.

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

Summary
Analysis
Britomart and Sir Satyrane wake up ready to leave the next morning, but Paridell complains that he was injured in his fight with Britomart and so needs more time to recover before he can ride. They leave without him. Malbecco is not happy to still have Paridell as a guest, but he grudgingly agrees to it.
Paridell’s complaint is obviously an excuse in order to stay behind at the castle and continue spending time with Hellenore.
Themes
Virtue, Allegory, and Symbolism Theme Icon
Deception and Lies Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
The Role of Women Theme Icon
Though Malbecco keeps an eye on Paridell and on his wife Hellenore, Paridell keeps an even sharper eye. When Hellenore is away from Malbecco, Paridell gives her gifts and sings for her.
Malbecco is so blinded by his paranoid fears of losing Hellenore that he can’t even see it when it’s happening right in front of him.
Themes
Virtue, Allegory, and Symbolism Theme Icon
Deception and Lies Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
The Role of Women Theme Icon
On one dark evening, Malbecco happens to be busy elsewhere. Hellenore goes to the closet where Malbecco keeps his wealth and steals some of it, then burns the rest, just like the burning city of Troy. She runs to Paridell, who carries her off. As he carries her away, she shouts for help. Malbecco sees that his wife is being carried off and his money is burning at the same time. After some indecision, he goes to save the money first.
Hellenore is carried off just like Helen was carried off from Troy. At least at first, Hellenore seems to be a willing collaborator, helping Paridell scheme to distract her husband with what he really loves best: his money.
Themes
Virtue, Allegory, and Symbolism Theme Icon
Deception and Lies Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
The Role of Women Theme Icon
Paridell and Hellenore make it out of the castle. Having put out the flames on his money, Malbecco is torn by grief at losing his wife and resolves to search for her, but she’s too crafty to be caught.
Despite all his paranoia, Malbecco still lost all the things he was trying to keep, representing the dangers of trying to hold on to something too hard.
Themes
Virtue, Allegory, and Symbolism Theme Icon
Deception and Lies Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
The Role of Women Theme Icon
Get the entire The Faerie Queene LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Faerie Queene PDF
One day, Malbecco is out walking on the plain, and he sees a knight next to a lady and believes they must be Paridell and Hellenore. In fact, however, it is Braggadochio and Trompart.
This brief section indicates that in fact there’s more to tell of Malbecco’s story.
Themes
Virtue, Allegory, and Symbolism Theme Icon
Deception and Lies Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
The Role of Women Theme Icon
Braggadochio tries to intimidate Malbecco, but Malbecco says he is just a pilgrim looking for the knight who took his wife. He promises to reward Braggadochio if he helps him get his wife back. Braggadochio pretends not to be interested in wealth, but Trompart knows this is just an act.
Malbecco may not be the sharpest character, but he demonstrates here that he is still cunning enough to convince the gullible Braggadochio. As it turns out, however, Braggadochio may not be as gullible as he seems here.
Themes
Virtue, Allegory, and Symbolism Theme Icon
Deception and Lies Theme Icon
Braggadochio says he’ll help Malbecco get his wife, Hellenore, back (really he just wants the money), and Malbecco is overjoyed. Soon after, just by chance, Paridell starts coming toward them. They stop Paridell, but it turns out that shortly after taking Hellenore, he let her go, and she wandered off into a forest. There, some satyrs (mythical half-goat men) found her and made her their “housewife,” forcing her to milk their goats and prepare food for them.
Paridell’s lack of faith toward Hellenore shows what a worthless knight he is. Despite his redeeming qualities in battle, Paridell is too fickle to engage in the type of chaste courtly love that defines more virtuous knights.
Themes
Virtue, Allegory, and Symbolism Theme Icon
Deception and Lies Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
The Role of Women Theme Icon
Paridell departs, and Malbecco decides that rather than chase him, they’ll head into the forest to look for Hellenore. Tricky Trompart warns Malbecco that the forest could contain many dangerous monsters. He says it would be best if Malbecco leaves his money somewhere safe, perhaps burying it or hiding it before going into the forest.
The irony of Malbecco’s paranoia about losing his money is that it actually makes him more vulnerable to tricksters like Trompart. He illustrates the consequences of caring too much about material things.
Themes
Virtue, Allegory, and Symbolism Theme Icon
Deception and Lies Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
The Role of Women Theme Icon
Malbecco hides his money, then he, Braggadochio, and Trompart head into the forest to look for Hellenore. In the woods, they hear the bagpipes of the satyrs. Braggadochio gets frightened and flees, with Trompart close behind him, but Malbecco is too old to run that fast.
Malbecco doesn’t realize it yet, but Braggadochio and Trompart always planned to betray him.
Themes
Virtue, Allegory, and Symbolism Theme Icon
Deception and Lies Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
The Role of Women Theme Icon
Malbecco sneaks his way into the edge of the satyr settlement and sees Hellenore garlanded with flowers, with satyrs dancing all around her. He gets out of his hiding place and disguises himself by walking like a goat-man. His trick works because he has such a goat-like beard. He follows the satyrs back as they go to sleep and is shocked and alarmed to see a satyr sleeping by Hellenore’s side.
This scene is humorous because Malbecco disguises himself as a satyr only to realize that a satyr has taken his place, sleeping next to Hellenore as if he were her husband.
Themes
Virtue, Allegory, and Symbolism Theme Icon
Deception and Lies Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
The Role of Women Theme Icon
Malbecco wakes Hellenore up and tries to persuade her to come back, but she refuses, preferring to stay with the satyrs. He keeps trying to persuade her until morning, but then he gets afraid when the other satyrs wake up and decides to run off. He goes back to where he left his treasure but finds that Trompart has already taken it.
Hellenore was quick to leave her husband, and now she prefers the satyrs over him, suggesting that a man like Malbecco doesn’t make for a very pleasant spouse (something that was demonstrated earlier when Malbecco went to save his money before trying to save Hellenore).
Themes
Virtue, Allegory, and Symbolism Theme Icon
Deception and Lies Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
The Role of Women Theme Icon
Malbecco is furious now that he’s lost both his wife and his fortune. He tries to throw himself off a cliff, but so much of him has already been consumed that he lightly falls onto some rocks and isn’t even hurt. There’s a cave nearby, so he goes inside to investigate. He ends up living in that cave forever, eating toads and frogs and going by the new name of Jealousy.
Malbecco receives a concluding punishment fitting the sins he committed. By jealously guarding his wife and his fortune, he ended up losing both. Still unable to free himself of his sins, he goes into a cave to become Jealousy itself.
Themes
Virtue, Allegory, and Symbolism Theme Icon
Deception and Lies Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
The Role of Women Theme Icon