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Ollyphant: A Giant in The Faerie Queene

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Ollyphant is a male giant that we meet in book 3 of Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene.

He is one of two giant siblings, with her sister Argante. Together, they represent the worst of love and sex, demonstrating when such things can go horribly wrong.

When we meet them in book 3, they are pursuing a knight with plans to use him to satisfy their insatiable lusts.

Furthermore, their bestial natures are meant to suggest even more obscene sexual practices. Additionally, Ollyphant’s name (which simply means elephant) may have a phallic connotation.

In short, they represent every behavior and desire that is far outside that of courtly love, where the code of chivalry and knighthood recommend strict practices regarding such things.

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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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