Reinardus: Yearbook of the International Reynard Society, Volume 11
  • ISSN 0925-4757
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9951
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AbstractA high proportion of the animal imagery in The Faerie Queene serves a function that is effectively heraldic. The actual blazons of knights are seldom given: occasionally they provide a fixed point of reference that still allows for more fluent delineation of character and motivation, where animal imagery plays a vital part. Spenser may have been influenced by Sidney's Arcadia, where characters choose their heraldic devices for tournament or battle so as visibly to express their present states of mind. Sidney is elaborating from real life. Spenser's use of allegory allows him to invert this technique so as to offer and control subjective insight. This he does in three main ways, all of which have immediate and overall structural effect. His characters may ride, encounter or appear with specific beasts that express or project qualities of mind or character, as the Lion ridden by Cupid (FQ III xii 22), the beasts subdued by the young Satyrane, (F I vi) Mercilla's Lion (FQ V 33). They may have names reflected in their actions: Sanglier (FQ V i), Bruin (FQ VI iv). Simile may be specific to an occasion, as Marinell falling before Britomart's spear 'like sacred Ox' (FQ III iv 17) or cumulative over an episode, as in Arthur's fight with Maleger (FQ II xi). In particular, the reader's responses are educated by associative repetition so as to give an unexpected image special force, shifting or clarifying moral perspective.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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