Since the theme of book 3 is chastity, the Squire of Dames shows us a very different angle on this theme.
In his case, he was trying to seduce a lady, but the lady told him to go and please as many other women as he could in order to win her favor. And while not overtly stated, it is implied that the Squire of Dames is meant to sexually please all of these women.
So he does so, with 300 of them.
When he returns, the woman he was trying to seduce is not pleased that he had sexual relations with so many women (go figure), so she tasks him with finding 300 women who would not accept his advances. This turns out to be more difficult.
This ridiculous “quest” is meant to be a parody of chivalry, and a contrast to the many good knights in The Faerie Queene who remain loyal to one woman, such as the Redcrosse knight.
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