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Renaissance Literature is indebted more to emblematic and allegorical modes, than to modern forms of realism

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  1. Introduction
  2. Catholic art
  3. Cultural icons of antiquity
  4. Visual medium
  5. The gaping gates
  6. The lady
  7. The connection with the sun
  8. The Faerie Queen
  9. The unravelment of The Faerie Queen
  10. The ultimate fairy
  11. Conclusion
  12. Bibliography

The aftermath of reformation, mid 16th.Century, left the art and literary world in upheaval. The former art of Catholicism which had been figurative and vivid, depicting the saints in all their glory, was redundant and even despised. Many reformers believed that to idolize the saints and to depict them in such a vital and charismatic way was to set up; What we begin to see is a refuge being made in the distant past. Cultural icons of antiquity are resurrected, images made safe/tame by their familiarity and distance in time. The gods of ancient Greece and Rome, become handy vessels for political and moral exploration, whether in writing or art, made impotent of any religious tension by their mythical antiquity.

[...] This is emphasized by another biblical reference, in that the house appears to be built on weak foundations, as it sits on a 'sandie hill.' As we know from the gospel of Matthew, it is a foolish man who builds a house on sand, '7:27 And the rain descended and the floods came and the winds blew, and beat upon the house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.' Indeed, by the end of Canto the mighty house has fallen and all within have come to a dreadful end; 'This all through the great Princesse pride did fall And come to shamefull end . [...]

[...] When he fights the monster Errour, like perhaps many mortals, he experiences a loss of faith as he is overcome by the demon, which is only held in check by Una's presence. However what makes the faithful knight most mortal is his tendency towards depression, based perhaps again on his wavering faith. This is shown clearly in Canto IX. Despair is actually a character, and he sets about convincing the knight that all is hopeless by telling him of difficult moral situations, such as a knight would encounter; But he should die, who merits not to live? The knight is much disturbed by Despair's words and feels as if . [...]

[...] Connecting Elizabeth I to a princess of hell, is a less than flattering view, but this is overlaid with such gilt and flattery, one cannot help but marvel at Spenser's apparent duplicity. For example in one impressively obsequious passage, he compares the Lady entering the hall to the mighty life giving sun, rising at the dawn of day, 'As faire Aurora in her purple pall, Out of the East the dawning day doth call: So forth she comes: her brightness brode doth blaze' This connection with the sun is interesting in itself, and reaffirms connections between the Lady and Elizabeth for in much of Elizabethan art, the Virgin Queen is associated with the sun and all its powerful imagery. [...]

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