The Faerie Queene

The Faerie Queene

by

Edmund Spenser

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Florimell’s Gold Belt Symbol Analysis

Florimell’s Gold Belt Symbol Icon

The gold belt of Florimell (also sometimes called a girdle) symbolizes chastity and, in particular, how true chastity is worth as much as gold—if not more. Florimell is one of the most chaste and beautiful women in the story. Her belt, which makes its wearer worthy of chaste love and which originally belonged to Venus, first becomes significant when a beast attacks Florimell and the belt gets left behind, leaving some characters like Sir Satyrane to fear that Florimell has died. Later, the gold belt plays a key role in a tournament of knights, when a beauty contest among the ladies leads to the belt being given as a prize to a false version of Florimell created by a hag. The belt rejects its new wearer, slipping off, and many other women at the tournament try to wear the belt, only to find it also slipping off of them, too. This suggests that chastity—particularly of the kind Florimell demonstrates—is rare among women and should be valued. (Notably, the chaste Amoretta is able to wear Florimell’s belt, suggesting that she is similarly worthy of chaste love.) The return of the gold belt back to the real Florimell in Book V suggests that false women and false chastity won’t hold up to scrutiny, whereas patience and endurance like Florimell’s will be rewarded.

Florimell’s Gold Belt Quotes in The Faerie Queene

The The Faerie Queene quotes below all refer to the symbol of Florimell’s Gold Belt. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Virtue, Allegory, and Symbolism Theme Icon
).
Book III: Canto VIII Quotes

Now when the Beast, which by her wicked art
Late forth she sent, she backe returning spyde,
Tyde with her broken girdle, it a part
Of her rich spoyles, whom he had earst destroyd,
She weend, and woundrous gladnesse to her hart applyde.

Related Characters: Florimell, Sir Satyrane, Marinell, Venus
Related Symbols: Florimell’s Gold Belt
Page Number: 492
Explanation and Analysis:
Book IV: Canto V Quotes

Then was that golden belt by doome of all
Graunted to her, as to the fairest Dame.
Which being brought, about her middle small
They thought to gird, as best it her became;
But by no meanes they could it thereto frame.

Related Characters: Florimell
Related Symbols: Florimell’s Gold Belt
Page Number: 624
Explanation and Analysis:
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Florimell’s Gold Belt Symbol Timeline in The Faerie Queene

The timeline below shows where the symbol Florimell’s Gold Belt appears in The Faerie Queene. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book III: Canto VII
Virtue, Allegory, and Symbolism Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
The Role of Women Theme Icon
...is fearsome and won’t go down. Finally, Sir Satyrane manages to restrain it with a gold belt taken from Florimell’s waist (which Satyrane found lying in the forest earlier). After tying the... (full context)
Book III: Canto VIII
Virtue, Allegory, and Symbolism Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
The Role of Women Theme Icon
The hag spots the hyena-like beast running back toward her. She sees Florimell’s gold belt and thinks the beast has destroyed her, which upsets her lovesick son to the point... (full context)
Virtue, Allegory, and Symbolism Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
The Role of Women Theme Icon
Sir Satyrane tells Paridell that he fears Florimell is dead (since he found her gold belt and since the monster ate her horse). Paridell is upset to hear this, although he... (full context)
Book IV: Canto IV
Virtue, Allegory, and Symbolism Theme Icon
Deception and Lies Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
The Role of Women Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Virtue, Allegory, and Symbolism 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... (full context)
Book IV: Canto V
Virtue, Allegory, and Symbolism Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
The Role of Women Theme Icon
Florimell’s gold belt gives its owner the virtue of chaste love, but it can only be worn by... (full context)
Virtue, Allegory, and Symbolism Theme Icon
Deception and Lies Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
The Role of Women Theme Icon
...looks even fairer than the real Florimell some of them know. She is awarded the gold belt . (full context)
Virtue, Allegory, and Symbolism Theme Icon
Deception and Lies Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
The Role of Women Theme Icon
When false Florimell tries to wear the gold belt , however, it keeps slipping off her. She gets embarrassed. Other ladies also try to... (full context)
Book V: Canto III
Virtue, Allegory, and Symbolism Theme Icon
British Identity and Nationalism Theme Icon
Protestantism Theme Icon
Deception and Lies Theme Icon
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
The Role of Women Theme Icon
...next to the false one, the false one vanishes into nothing, leaving behind an empty gold belt . Braggadochio is shocked and dismayed. Then Arthegall takes the golden belt and puts it... (full context)