Study Guide

The Faerie Queene Book 6, Canto 6

By Edmund Spenser

Book 6, Canto 6

  • No physical wound inflicted by a weapon is as bad as the emotional would inflicted by a bad reputation—those wounds are almost impossible to cure.
  • The wounds inflicted by the Blatant Beast are in this latter category, and the hermit has a tough time tending to them.
  • This hermit, since he is a former knight, knows a lot about the world, and about healing.
  • One day, he sees that the wounds are spreading infection, which now no surgery can heal. Luckily, it seems like discipline and good advice will do the trick.
  • The hermit takes Timias and Serena and gives them a lecture on living better, explaining that only they can help themselves.
  • He encourages them to rely less on their outward senses.
  • He explains how the Blatant Beast has venomous teeth and that he was born of the monster Echidna (a famous monster from Classical mythology), beautiful on top but so hideous on the bottom that the gods hid her from sight.
  • She mated with a cruel Titan named Typhaon and bore the Blatant Beast, who slanders and attacks everyone, whether they deserve it or not.
  • So, traditional medicine won't work against this wound, but instead they need to avoid doing anything bad, restrain themselves from pleasure and desire, and generally detox.
  • And so Serena and Timias closely follow his advice. In no time at all they're better and depart from the hermit.
  • They decide to travel together and soon meet a maid wearing clothes of mourning, riding on a mangy animal lead by a fool and a large, vicious man.
  • But, before we hear what's up with this lady, we need to go back to Arthur and the savage and learn what they've been up to.
  • Arthur and the savage are seeking Turpine, to avenge his cruel treatment of Serena and Calepine.
  • They find the castle and ride straight in. While the savage man takes the horses to the stable, Arthur explains that he's a wandering knight in need of a place to stay.
  • A groom (a kind of assistant) tells Arthur to go away, since the lord of the castle hates knights and won't let them stay.
  • The savage, returning from the stables, sees the groom being rude to Arthur and immediately attacks him.
  • When everyone else sees this, they jump and attack but Arthur keeps them away.
  • The few who do survive Arthur's attack run to Turpine and tell him what has happened.
  • When Turpine hears this, he heads straight there and, seeing so many of people dead, denounces Arthur as a coward and villain and attacks him straight away.
  • They begin to fight fiercely, and when Turpine senses Arthur is winning, he tries to hide himself, but Arthur spots him and pursues him throughout the entire castle.
  • Finally, Arthur catches him in his bedroom, crying to his wife, and Arthur whacks him on the head.
  • His wife screams and hides her husband with her dress, begging Arthur for mercy.
  • Arthur refrains from attacking again, and Turpine slowly revives himself, and Arthur severely lectures him.
  • He calls him a coward, tells him his conduct toward Calepine and Serena was utterly shameful, and says that he'll spare his life but he must never bear the arms of a knight again.
  • Taking his armor, Arthur then worries about what's happened to the savage man, and finds him viciously attacking others people in the castle.
  • Arthur signals for him to stop, takes him up to Turpine and his wife Blandina, and again prevents the savage man from attacking Turpine.
  • They remain at the castle and Blandina entertains them lavishly, seeming to be courteous and kind, but actually up to no good.
  • Her husband is secretly planning his revenge while Arthur sleeps.
  • But Turpine is too frightened to do anything immediately, so Arthur and the savage get up early and head out.