Spenser's Golden Chain of Concord
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This thesis examines the virtue of concord as it appears in the Faerie Queene and how it links together the various titular virtues in a “golden chain of concord”. Before discussing the image of the golden chain as it appears in the text, Chapter One articulates the nature of concord itself through a close textual examination of Cambina, a figure Spenser establishes as a persona of concord, as she functions in founding the various friendships of Book Four. Studying Cambina allows for an articulation of the importance of the concept of concordia discors, the idea that harmony can arise even out of conflict, to the virtue of concord. Chapter Two examines how this notion of concordia discors proves crucial in understanding how the initially competing virtues, and the knights which represent them, interact and eventually come to harmonize. Lastly, Chapter Three examines how Prince Arthur, like Cambina, acts as a catalyst for concord through demonstrating to the knights how they might come to love one another even with their differences. The knights all recognize God’s providence in their lives and thus shape their lives towards seeking His will. Athur, recognizing the mutuality of the knights’ aims, encourages them to love one another. Through loving one another, the knights can come to better understand God’s love and His grace. In discussing concord through the image of the golden chain and its linking of the virtues, this thesis establishes the importance of a holistic approach to understanding The Faerie Queene rather than relying on a book by book analysis of them.