Explication of “Piers Plowman” by William Langland

Topics: Piers Plowman, Bible, Alliteration Pages: 2 (550 words) Published: October 23, 2012
Explication of “Piers Plowman” by William Langland


April 9, 2012
Shannon Loerch

Explication of “Piers Plowman” by William Langland

In the 14th century William Langland penned a poem entitled “Piers Plowman”. He used 111 lines of metered rhythm to illustrate a man’s quest for a stereotypical Christian life. Classified as a dramatic poem the manner in which the author describes this quest invokes an imaginative fever in the mind of the reader. The language used requires extra effort on the part of the reader, yet the attempt produces intriguing thoughts and valued lessons. The poem is thought to have once been extremely popular as there are still a few surviving manuscripts in keeping. As visions are described by the dreaming writer in an alliterative verse form, readers can feed of the text clues and imagine a journey for truth. The ins and outs of the Christian faith will continually be a topic of debate. This particular poem calls upon stereotypical Christian values that English society, of the time, was failing to abide by. The style of writing and choice of word spelling in a manner of what is thought to be correct, illicit thoughts of an Irishman with strong accent speaking of a story he may have witnessed. The Christian connotation is strong throughout bringing the reader back to the meaning of eternal matters. The first 27 verses describe the hard working people, plowing land, tired and dirty, only kept motivated by their desire to succeed and please the Lord. Lines 18-25 specifically described the hard working man, the lack of play, and the obligation they feel to do so. The ensuing 30 lines describe how the common public views the working class as mere beggars. They are not acknowledged for their efforts but rather looked upon as a waste of space and worth. Unworthy of recognition from the common folk they are additionally thought to be overlooked by Christ as unworthy. Line 38 draws attention to...

References: Ferguson, M., Salter, M. J., & Stallworthy, J. (Eds.). (2005). The Norton anthology of poetry (5th ed.). New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company.
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