The Faerie Queene

The Faerie Queene

by

Edmund Spenser

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The Faerie Queene: Two Cantos of Mutabilitie: Canto VII Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Mutabilitie makes her argument to Nature on Arlo-Hill while other gods are also there to witness. Nature is a gracious old dame who covers her face. Mutabilitie praises Nature, then gives a long speech about how things in nature are always changing, from the seasons to the weather, and so “mutability” is what rules over everything.
Because Mutability couldn’t make her case to Jupiter, one of the most powerful forces in heaven, she turns instead to Nature, one of the most powerful forces on earth. Using logical arguments, she stresses similarities between herself and Nature.
Themes
Virtue, Allegory, and Symbolism Theme Icon
The Role of Women Theme Icon
Jupiter attempts to rebut her argument, saying that really it is time that rules the earth and that it’s the gods who rule time. But Mutabilitie replies that even the gods change and aren’t immune to time, since even Jupiter was born and didn’t always exist.
For his counterargument, Jupiter suggests that time is his domain and that it’s even more important than change, since changes can only happen while time is passing.
Themes
Virtue, Allegory, and Symbolism Theme Icon
The Role of Women Theme Icon
Nature considers the arguments of Mutabilitie and Jupiter in silence for a while. At last, Nature gives a verdict: she agrees with Jupiter that, while it might seem as if change rules everything, in fact it’s the opposite, and change is ruled by the gods, meaning Jupiter gets to keep his throne as ruler of the gods in heaven.
Nature’s decision to side with Jupiter over Mutabilitie suggests that, while it might seem like things on earth are always changing, in fact these changes only happen according to the will of the gods. Although the characters here come from pagan mythology, the implication is that randomness doesn’t rule the universe, but in fact things happen according to the will of God.
Themes
Virtue, Allegory, and Symbolism Theme Icon
The Role of Women Theme Icon