Why is the Faerie Queene called a romantic epic?

A ROMANTIC EPIC. —The Faerie Queene is the most perfect type which we have in English of the purely romantic poem. Four elements enter into its composition: “it is pastoral by association, chivalrous by temper, ethical by tendency, and allegorical by treatment” (Renton).

Explanation: Role of Women in Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene Edmund Spenser in his epic romance, The Faerie Queene, invents and depicts a wide array of female figures. Some of these women, such as Una and Caelia, are generally shown as faithful, virtuous and overall lovely creatures.

Lady Una, the heroine of the first book of The Faerie Queene is no exception in this regard. She has been portrayed as both an individual and a type. She stands for Beauty, Truth, Goodness, wisdom and innocence, the qualities which Plato had taught his disciples to regard as identical.

In addition to the six virtues Holiness, Temperance, Chastity, Friendship, Justice, and Courtesy, the Letter to Raleigh suggests that Arthur represents the virtue of Magnificence, which (“according to Aristotle and the rest”) is “the perfection of all the rest, and containeth in it them all”; and that the Faerie Queene

The Faerie Queene is an allegorical work in praise of Elizabeth I (represented by Gloriana – the Faerie Queene herself – and the virgin Belphoebe) and of Elizabethan notions of virtue.

In Books I and III, the poet follows the journeys of two knights, Redcrosse and Britomart, and in doing so he examines the two virtues he considers most important to Christian life–Holiness and Chastity.

Una is the embodiment of innocence, purity, truth, and common sense. She may for her innocence be easily deceived sometimes as by Archimago when he presents himself both as an aged sire and later as the Red Cross Knight.

Moral and Spiritual Allegory

The Red Cross Knight represents Holiness and Lady Una stands for Truth, Goodness and Wisdom. Her parents symbolize the Human race and the Dragon who has imprisoned them stands for Evil.

Archimago, the seeming pious hermit who offers a hospitable shelter to the Red Cross Knight and Una stands for Hypocrisy. The Knight blunders in considering himself to be acting on high moral principles in his submission to the machinations of a vicious slanderer.

Red Cross Knight, fictional character, protagonist of Book I of The Faerie Queene (1590), an epic poem by Edmund Spenser. The Red Cross Knight represents the virtue of holiness, as well as St. George and the Anglican church.

The lion, though it has no name, is also part of Spenser’s allegory. As a part of brutish nature, it represents natural law, which may be violent at times but is sympathetic to Christian truth.