Medieval Essay

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Ken Bobal 2/13/13 Professor Scanlon Medieval Literature of Dissent Paper 1 Rough Draft Lines 135-147 of Passus I in Piers Plowman offer an interesting viewpoint from the narrator of the poem. The narrator’s views of this poem are pro kind knowledge, as well as clerical. However, these thirteen lines thirteen lines bring about a very intensively pro-clerical viewpoint. The narrator states “Whan alle tresors arn tried, Truthe is the best. Lereth it th[u]s lewed men, for lettred it knoweth—That Treuthe is tresor the Trieste on erthe’” (lines 135-137). These lines are interesting for a multitude of reasons, including the punctuation and language itself. William Langland capitalizes the “T” in “Truthe” and “Treuthe” to strengthen his argument in this passage. Not only is Langland stressing the “Truthe” of the situation through ingenious punctuation, but he is comparing it to finding a treasure, something very valuable. In line 136, the narrator is saying to teach this idea of truth to the uneducated, since the educated already understand this idea. This continues to forward the pro-clerical movement in this passage, as members of the clergy were associated with learning and reading. The narrator clearly sees the members of the clergy in a positive light as they are the “lettred” and he acknowledges the fact they already “knoweth” the “Truthe”, an idea which he will expand upon further in this passage. Also, the narrator goes on to claim “Treuthe” as the “tresor the Trieste on erthe.” If truth is seen as the greatest treasure on earth, whatever that may be, and the clergy already understands this, then this passage is clearly an attack on the uneducated lower classes and a praise of the church and nobles even though this “Treuthe” is still unknown. Lines 138-142 come across as a self-criticism of the narrator himself. The narrator states

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