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The elements of the Renaissance in The Faerie Queene Book- I

The Renaissance marked the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the modern world. The new age was characterised by the spirit of adventure, love for beauty, moral earnestness, a love for richness and magnificence, a liking for material luxury, power and pelf and, above all, by a desire to revive the ideals and practices of classical poets and philosophers of Greece and Rome.
the elements of the Renaissance in The Faerie Queene

The great charm of Spenser's epic The Faerie Queene lies in three things; 

(a) The quaint stateliness of the imaginary world, 

(b) The beauty and melody of his musical verse and 

(c) In the intrinsic nobleness of his general aim, his conception of human life- all these are great Renaissance qualities.

The Faerie Queene presents to us the spectacle of a highly artifcialized society, like the one that existed in Spenser's own time. In the person of Gloriana, the Queen of the fairies, Spenser intends to give us a picture of Queen Elizabeth I. The Faerie Queene reflects the life that Spenser saw in the royal court and around it, with all its glamour and artificiality, and with all its intrigues and vices. This artificiality of life, with its refinement and polish, was one of the characteristic features of the life of England in the sixteenth century, the age of Renaissance.

The Faerie Queene is not only a moral poem but also a work of art drawing its inspiration from various forms of art cultivated in the age of Renaissance. It expresses the Renaissance zeal to catch beauty wherever it exists and create its every possible form. Spenser always indulged in the richness of the picture and imagery. His perception of beauty was quick and beautiful. It was he who for the first time found the secret of the infinite and suggestiveness of musical rhythm and cadence of English verse. His invention of 9 line stanza, the vigour, the volume and the rush of his beautiful language. Spenser's epic reflects the spirit of adventures of the Elizabethan Age. Most often his noble knights are inspired with their selfless motive of rescuing the weak from the clutches of the mighty. The honour that they gain in vanquishing the wicked is in their view sufficent reward for all their pains. During the period of the Renaissance, there was a revival of old classical literature of Greece and Rome. One of the purposes of the new poetry of the Renaissance was to popularise among the people the treasures of the classical philosophers, poets and orators.

Spenser was greatly influenced by this classical lore and his acquaintance with the classical writers like Aristotle, Plato, Virgil, Ariosto and Tasso, was perfect. He borrowed from the classical writers freely but he modified the materials in his own way.

The Faerie Queene is a poem that could not have been produced except under the impact of Renaissance. In it Spenser has created a world of magic in which the imagination and the senses run riot, and while we read it, we seem to forget the moral allegory. He has the whole world of sensation at command and he never fails to heighten them with the illusion of his art.


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