The Bower of Bliss is beautiful by worldly standards, full of lush vegetation, beautiful gardens, temperate weather, etc.
It is also full of temptations, both erotic, food-related, and visual. The entire Bower is dedicated to distract and tempt you away from moderation. It lures you into an extreme.
The Bower is full of men that have been turned into creatures. When these creatures are turned back into men, many of them are upset and want to be turned back into an animal again.
Enter Sir Guyon
Even Sir Guyon is temporarily tempted at key moments, but he is eventually able to reach the center of the Bower of Bliss, capture Acrasia, and destroy the entire place.
It is interesting to wonder why Edmund Spenser spent so much time making this place feel beautiful, even when it is clearly false. In a sense, the place almost feels wholesome. However, we are likely meant to view the Bower of Bliss as a twisted reflection of an idyllic paradise like the Garden of Eden.
See our complete list of Arthurian characters for more entries like this one.
- Norris Lacy, Geoffrey Ashe, Debra Mancoff – The Arthurian Handbook (Second Edition)
- Alan Lupack – The Oxford Guide to Arthurian Literature and Legend
- Ronan Coghlan – The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Arthurian Legends
- Anonymous – Lancelot-Grail, the French Vulgate
- Sir Thomas Malory – Le Morte d’Arthur