Piers Plowman by William Langland

William Langland Dreaming up Piers Plowman

Though I can appreciate the brilliance of Langland’s poem, I did not especially enjoy it. Langland’s extensive use of allegory, though intentional, became so confusing and muddled that the poem’s meaning was difficult to decipher.  The names given to the characters rarely actually describe them.  Holy Church is unreliable and flighty rather than a constant support, faith isn’t all that faithful, nor was conscience a very good guide. Piers Plowman takes place as a series of dreams and dreams within dreams. Reading Piers Plowman is actually very much like dreaming. People disappear, scenes change, and you look back to recount what happened the next morning with no idea how it all fit together. That may be fine for dreams, but it does not necessarily the way one would like to experience a book.  Frankly, It is easier to decipher meaning out of dreams than out of Piers Plowman.

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