Allegorical Insubordination and the 1596 Faerie Queene

The Temple of Venus episode has become a textual crux for readers of The Faerie Queene because of the way in which it complicates the connection between the poem's two halves. Interpretations have tended to focus on the erotic relation between Scudamore and Amoret; this essay, in contrast, focuses on the structural relation between Scudamore and the poem's allegorical design. It demonstrates how Spenser uses Scudamore to highlight the tension between character and figure, representation and allegorization, at the beginning of the 1596 continuation of The Faerie Queene, and, more broadly, to reflect upon character as system in narrative.