The Faerie Queene, written by Edmund Spenser (1569-1599) in the late 1500s, is an allegorical poem designed to teach its readers how to live up to the six virtues the poet shows in each book. The poem symbolizes the moral and spiritual journey of an individual through countless temptations of sins towards the ultimate attainment of glory and truth. The encounter between the Knight and Archimago serves some allegorical significance which are as follow.
More notes: The Faerie Queene
Sign of the Knight’s Weakness
Archimago who stands for hypocrisy gives a shelter whe the Knight and Una are in danger in a stormy night. The knight makes the mistake of considering himself acting on high moral principles, succumbing to the machinations of an evil cynic. His weakness is a sign of inexperience, a failure to distinguish between appearance and reality.
Fall of Man from the garden of Eden
Historically the submission of the Red Cross Knights to the intrigues of the Archimago alludes to the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, with man losing his original purity at the subtle promptings of Satan. Allegorically the archimago personifies hypocrisy, but in reality, represents a far greater evil than we usually associate with hypocrisy. His mission is to work evil designs and conspiracies against Lady Una (Truth) and Red Cross Knight (Holy) so that they can be separated from each other. He represents one of the advocates of the Roman Catholic faith to harm and weaken the forces of reform represented by the Red Cross Knight, Prince Arthur and Lady Una.
In termination, it is clear that Archimago bears a dual personality. His deeds prove his as the Spanish ruler, Philip II, who is a Roman Catholic of faith.