Book I Summary

Canto I

  • Stanzas 1-28: We are introduced to the quest of the Redcross Knight and Una; they are lost in a wood, where the knight encounters and defeats the foul beast of Error.
  • Stanzas 29-55: They spend the night at the house of Archimago, a sorcerer who sends troubling dreams to the Redcross knight and creates a false Una to deceive him

Canto II

  • Stanzas 1-27: Believing her to be faithless, the Redcross knight abandons Una, who pursues him unsuccessfully; on his way, the knight meets and defeats Sansfoy and takes Duessa into his protection.
  • Stanzas 28-45: The knight and Duessa rest in the shade of enchanted trees; one of these trees was once a knight called Fradubio, and he warns the knight about Duessa’s true nature.


Canto III

  • Stanzas 1-21: Una meets the lion and spends the night with Abessa and her mother.
  • Stanzas 22-44: Archimago joins Una in the guise of the Redcrosse knight and is slain in battle by Sansloy, who takes Una away with him.


Canto IV

  • Stanzas 1-15: The knight and Duessa travel to the Palace of Pride and meet the queen Lucifera.
  • Stanzas 16-37: Luceifera and her company ride out to the country, and we are introduced to her six counsellors.
  • Stanzas 38-51: Sansjoy arrives at the palace and recognizes Sansfoy’s shield, taken as a war prize by the Elfin knight. The knights agree to a formal combat the next day. 


Canto V

  • Stanzas 1-19: The knights meet in combat, but Sansjoy is spirited away by Duessa before the Redcrosse knight can kill him.

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