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Busirane: The Embodiment of Unlawful Love

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Busirane is a villain that appears in book 3 of Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene. He is perhaps the most vile and atrocious of all villains in the epic poem, and certainly in book 3.

And believe me, that is saying something.

Who Does Busirane Represent in the Faerie Queen?

Busirane represents unlawful love, a.k.a. gross perversions of love, such as rape.

When we first see Busirane, he is physically violating Amoret, piercing her chest with a steel rod, removing her heart from her body, and using her blood to write strange characters as he tries to get Amoret to love him.

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All of this imagery, the steel rod penetrating her chest, the open heart wound, etc., is meant to be a metaphorical form of rape. To make matters worse, Busirane has imagery of rape scenes all throughout his castle.

Additionally, when Busirane uses Amoret’s blood as ink, this could be a critique of Edmund Spenser of other poets who sexualize women in their writing. Indeed, for a poet that lived in the 16th century, Edmund Spenser seem to have a delightfully modern and favorable outlook on women.

See our complete list of Arthurian characters for more entries like this one.

Arthurian Bibliography

See also my ever-expanding list of primary and secondary sources.

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Jason is a Mythic Fantasy Author and creator of MythBank. He loves mythology, history, and geek culture. When he's not writing, his favorite hobbies include hiking, chilling with his wife, spouting nonsense words at his baby daughter, and developing this (and other) websites.

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