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 IV: Canto IV Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Unlike the true friendship of Cambell and Triamond, the friendship of Blandamour and Paridell is false. When all of them and their ladies meet on the road, Blandamour insults Triamond and Cambell. Cambina, however, tries to keep the peace. She mentions that a tournament is coming up, where the winner will receive a gold belt (from the real Florimell). They all put aside their differences and agree to ride to the tournament.
The tournament for Florimell’s golden belt will be an even bigger one than the tournament for Canacee’s hand. Even less-than-great knights like Blandamour and Paridell show some respect to tournaments, which is why they agree to settle their differences there.
Themes
Virtue, Allegory, and Symbolism Theme Icon
Deception and Lies Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
The Role of Women Theme Icon
On the way to the tournament, they run into Braggadochio (who had false Florimell stolen from him by Sir Ferraugh). Braggadochio claims Florimell belongs with him, so Blandamour offers to fight him, with the winner getting Florimell but the loser being stuck with the hag Ate.
Braggadochio is a similar sort of knight to Blandamour and Paridell since, like them, he can’t be trusted even when he gives his word of honor.
Themes
Virtue, Allegory, and Symbolism Theme Icon
Deception and Lies Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
The Role of Women Theme Icon
Braggadochio, however, feels that having the hag would be worse than nothing, and he doesn’t want to fight. This causes the others to smile and treat him like a coward. Ate and false Florimell try to stir up discord, but Cambell says they should all save their strength for the tournament, and this gets everyone’s approval.
Braggadochio proves himself again to be a coward, and the other knights insult him for it, although arguably Paridell and Blandamour are little better.
Themes
Virtue, Allegory, and Symbolism Theme Icon
Deception and Lies Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
The Role of Women Theme Icon
They make it to the tournament, where Sir Satyrane has the gold belt of the real Florimell. He takes up arms against a pagan knight named Bruncheual. A knight called Ferramont joins Satyrane’s side, but Blandamour joins Bruncheual’s.
Blandamour’s willingness to join a pagan just because he sees a better chance of winning is a sign of his lack of any moral center.
Themes
Virtue, Allegory, and Symbolism Theme Icon
Get the entire The Faerie Queene LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Faerie Queene PDF
Soon Paridell joins the fight. Braggadochio sees no need to get involved. Then Triamond enters the fray and wounds Ferramont, causing the knights Sir Devon, Sir Douglas, and Sir Paliumord to join the fight against Triamond, but they can’t take Triamond down. Sir Satyrane sees an opportunity and wounds Triamond, who has to leave the battlefield.
Battles in the tournament get chaotic, with knights quickly forming and breaking alliances. Unlike Cambell’s prior tournament, the knights here don’t seem to be trying to slay each other.
Themes
Virtue, Allegory, and Symbolism Theme Icon
The trumpets sound to indicate the end of the tournament for that day, and Sir Satyrane is judged the best so far. The tournament begins again the next day, but Triamond still is unable to rejoin because of his wound. Cambell agrees to take Triamond’s place.
The tournament has a performative aspect to it, highlighting not necessarily which knight fought the hardest, but which knight won the favor of his peers.
Themes
Virtue, Allegory, and Symbolism Theme Icon
Cambell and Sir Satyrane fight savagely on horseback. All of a sudden, Satyrane’s horse rears and throws him off. Cambell also dismounts to fight, but he soon finds himself swarmed by other knights on Satyrane’s side. Cambell doesn’t give up, but it seems like he’s going to be taken captive by his more numerous opponents. Triamond hears about this and forgets his wound, leaping up to put on his armor, but he finds that Cambell has taken his armor, so he throws on Cambell’s armor.
The tournament battlefield provides an opportunity for Cambell and Triamond to display their new friendship. Triamond’s concern for Cambell on the field of battle—even if it is just a tournament—shows the depth of his commitment to protecting his friend.
Themes
Virtue, Allegory, and Symbolism Theme Icon
Triamond hacks away through the other knights to reach Cambell and free him. The trumpets sound again and everyone agrees the day’s winners are Cambell and Triamond. Triamond tries to yield the victory to Cambell, but Cambell tries to say Triamond is the winner.
Cambell and Triamond are such good friends that neither one of them wants to claim the glory for the day, suggesting that their cooperation on the battlefield was rooted in real selflessness.
Themes
Virtue, Allegory, and Symbolism Theme Icon
Quotes
The next morning is the final day of the tournament, and Satyrane looks strong. Just then, a strange knight that no one recognizes enters the arena, wearing armor that looks like moss and leaves. This new knight, nicknamed the Savage Knight, is so strong that he immediately strikes down nine other knights. It turns out this new knight is Arthegall (the knight Britomart saw in her vision and fell in love with). 
Britomart’s visions with Merlin have already revealed that Arthegall is a powerful and just knight. He makes a dramatic entrance to the tournament, which is fitting for his high status as a knight.
Themes
Virtue, Allegory, and Symbolism Theme Icon
British Identity and Nationalism Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
Arthegall easily subdues Sir Satyrane and his knights and seems likely to claim victory, but just as evening is coming, another strange knight enters. This new knight knocks Arthegall off his horse. Cambell and Triamond both try to confront the new knight and are also knocked down. Blandamour tries too and is also defeated. It turns out the new knight is Britomart, still wielding her enchanted spear. Britomart wins the tournament and everyone goes to a feast.
Fittingly, soon after Arthegall arrives, his future wife Britomart also shows up. As is often the case, most observers believe that Britomart is a man until she takes off her helmet. Her victory in the tournament, particularly over such powerful knights, can be seen as a symbolic win for the power of Britain, which she represents.
Themes
Virtue, Allegory, and Symbolism Theme Icon
British Identity and Nationalism Theme Icon