What pictorial quality do you find in The Faerie Queene


Pictorial elements in literature is one of the iconographic presentations in literature writing. Edmund Spenser (1552-1599) has adopted pictorial quality in his great epic “The Faerie Queene”. In the “Faerie Queene” Edmund Spenser presents the different type of imagery what made him a pictorial Artist. 

Mood of diligent:

Edmund Spenser begins his epic with the adventures of the Knight of the Red Cross, who was deputed by the Fairy Queen to relieve the distress of Lady Una, whose parents dwelt in perpetual dread of a fierce Dragon that had laid waste their whole kingdom and threatened them with death and destruction. The Knight of the Red Cross accompanied by Lady Una, proceeded his journey to accomplish the task entrusted to him. As he was going through a wood, he found himself before a cave. This was the cave of monster Error and there took a horrible fight between Red cross Knight and monster error protending a zest of diligent mode to us.

More Notes: The Faerie Queene

Romantic visionary

War is the theme of epic and love is the theme of Love poems. They were the main themes of romances of Spenser’s time, Spenser added religion to it. In this Canto, the poet treated the themes of Love, war, and religion romantically.The purity of Una’s Love charms the reader. The intrigues of Archimago in the guise of religion, though hated but undoubtedly exposes a romantic visionary.

Actual existence:

Spenser shows himself at his best when freed from the need of describing a scene or object in actual existence. He gives free rein to his imagination when dealing with the objects of his own creation. 

Manifold details:

Spenser’s word-pictures are usually elaborate and developed at full length with every minute detail, worked to its widest span. He is an artist who knows where he has to restrain his verse and content himself by touching upon a significant detail or two leaving the maxtfold details of the picture to the of his reader.

Impressive poetic language:

Spenser has painted the beauty of nature. He has given vivid pictures of beasts and giapts. But when he comes to delineate ugliness or prvoking disgust or dread by representing horror in its most impressive

aspects, he seems to put forth all the power of his poetic language. The portrait of Archimago is presented in such a way that apparently he seems simple but full of treacherous guile, knitting, the snare of his villainous mischief, while professing holiness and pretty.

Presenting abstract into concrete:

Spenser is skilled in presenting the abstract into concrete forms. In image making power, his superiority to his contemporary poets is one of degree, resulting a finer sensibility and a wider range of appeal which have strengthened his position as the poet’s poet. In poem “The fairy queen” also portends many abstract image into concrete.

Sense of touch:

The fight between the Knight and the monster proved to be the most fierce one. At one point in the course of his fighting the Knight found himself in the tight grip of the monster’s huge tail. At this time Lady Una shouted to the Knight to show his bravery She urged him to have faith in himself and in Jesus Christ and to show his bravery. Fighting with monster error and fall in tight grip of monster’s huge tail exposes a sense of touch to the audience which is regarded as tactile imagery in the poem.

Sound imagery:

In poetic description, sound imagery is the natural accompaniment of word painting. The Faerie Queene is peopled with noise and sound. So, Spenser introduces vocal and instrumental music in his imagery and this was the demand of the age.


To sum up, we can say that we find a rich diversity of picture-painting in his masterpiece, a mingling of different shades and colors. The total impression created by his work is that of a poet-painter ever out to draw magnificent and lively pictures of life.

Rashedul Islam
Rashedul Islam

Hi, This is Rashedul. Researcher and lecturer of English literature and Linguistics.

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