The Faerie Queene

The Faerie Queene

by

Edmund Spenser

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The Faerie Queene: Book VI: Canto V Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Though the “savage” man may not seem noble on the surface, he is pure of heart and so must have some noble blood. He feels sorry for Serena’s poor condition, so he goes searching for Sir Calepine. He comes back to her one time and mimes choking (to show Calepine’s fight with the bear), but Serena assumes this means Calepine is dead, and so she begins to weep.
The “noble savage” became a stock character in fiction many years after the publication of The Faerie Queene. While this character came before the trope was fully formed and recognized, he represents a similar case of romanticizing aspects of a “primitive” outsider.
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Having lost hope that Sir Calepine will return, Serena wanders off. The savage man doesn’t want her to go alone, so he dresses up in Calepine’s armor (which he left behind) to accompany her. The two are a strange pair, but the savage man treats her like a gentleman.
Armor is such an important part of knighthood that it even gives the “savage man” an opportunity to look and act like a knight on the road.
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One day, however, the savage man is adjusting some equipment on Sir Calepine’s horse, and Prince Arthur and his squire Timias witness this. Three villains named Despetto, Decetto, and Defetto have been plotting ways to overthrow Timias (who is back in the good graces of Belphoebe). These villains sent the Blatant Beast his way. Timias couldn’t resist fighting the evil monster, and in the fight, he got bitten before the beast ran away. Timias pursued the beast.
Timias originally angered Belphoebe because it looked like he was being unfaithful to Belphoebe with her twin sister Amoretta. This damaged his reputation as a squire, and so Despetto, Decetto, and Defetto send the Blatant Beast after Timias to try to ruin his reputation again. The wound he receives from the beast perhaps symbolizes that earlier damage to his reputation.
Themes
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While chasing the Blatant Beast, Timias was lured into a place where he was surrounded on each side by Defetto, Decetto, and Despetto. Just then a knight rode in to the rescue: it was Arthur, who recognized his former squire. They reunited, and the squire shed some tears, and this was how they eventually ended up together to see Serena and the savage man.
Arthur and Timias spend much of the story separated, but the bond between them is so strong that their paths can’t help crossing again. Arthur often shows up when noble characters need him most.
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Arthur and Timias believe the savage man has stolen his armor, and so they start to fight with him in hopes of freeing Serena. She cries out to them to stop, however, telling them how the savage man has been helping her and how she recently lost Calepine in the woods. They all decide to ride together. Timias begins to feel weak from his wound by the Blatant Beast.
Arthur and Timias accept the “savage man” as an ally, perhaps because of his noble blood and knightly way of carrying himself. With both Timias and Serena suffering from wounds from the Blatant Beast, the beast has proved how dangerous it is.
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Arthur is moved to hear from Serena about the uncourteous behavior of Sir Turpine. They make their way to a hermitage to rest, though both Serena and Timias remain troubled by their wounds. Arthur decides to leave them in the hermit’s care and go off on his own.
Arthur’s sense of chivalry makes him despise a rude character like Sir Turpine. He may still be on his quest to find the Faerie Queene, but he will always stop to help good strangers or to fight bad ones.
Themes
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British Identity and Nationalism Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
The Role of Women Theme Icon