Satyrane is a peculiar character who shows up in book 1 and book 4 of The Faerie Queene. He is half human, half satyr, but unlike what you might expect from a medieval story about a “halfbreed” like this, Satyrane is actually a very helpful character.
Instead, he represents something of a go-between with the wild fairyland on one side, and the courtly knight side on the other. In fact, his wild side manages to make him a better knight, unlike most. On two occasions, we see him genuinely helping, first with Una in book 1, and second with Florimell in book 4.
And yet, Satyrane is not doing any of this for selfish reasons. He has no romantic relationship with either Una or Florimell, and he even gives up his claim on the “false Florimell” when he wins her in a tournament in book 4. This allows the false Florimell to choose her own champion.
In a way, Satyrane is a redemptive story, as satyrs are usually looked down upon as being overly lustful, womanizing, and overall untrustworthy. Satyrane, in contrast, is none of these things.
Well done, sir!
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