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Through the Blatant Beast in Books 5 and 6, Spenser expounds the effects slander can have upon its victims. The Blatant Beast bites its prey, leaving them poisoned and dying. Only self-control, good living, and forthrightness of speech can cure them of their ills. Spenser uses the poisoning of Serena to show how a woman’s virtue can suffer even when she has done no wrong; he uses the poisoning of Timias following Belphoebe’s misperception of his intentions toward Amoretta to show a similar evil worked upon an upright man. Spenser had real-world counterparts in mind for these episodes: well-known political figures had been the victims of slander and could not escape its detrimental effects even after the allegations were disproved. The Blatant Beast is the one creature left alive by the questing knight: apparently, Slander is subject to repression (the Beast’s jaws can be bound for a while) but not complete elimination (the Beast still lives).
Each of the story's strong female figures points to the real-life Queen Elizabeth, whose continued celibacy caused great concern among many of her subjects (who feared she would leave no heir to continue her glorious reign). In some ways, the entire epic is not just dedicated to Queen Elizabeth I, but it also aims to change her mind and push her into accepting a suitor.
Spenser chose to set his epic in a romanticized medieval fantasy world full of knights, monsters, and damsels in distress. He uses this environment to give power to his allegorical statements, but at the same time, he includes an undercurrent of criticism for feudal Britain (and the class system his own age had inherited from it). Along with virtuous knights, Spenser includes noble savages (the Savage Man), honorable squires (Tristram), and even battle-hardened women (Britomart and Radigund). The knights, who are supposed to be the ideal of virtue, are often the most wrong-headed characters in the epic.