Prof. G. Steinberg
Given the violent fact of the Peasants' Revolt of 1381, people in England in the late 14th century were abundantly aware that there was something dreadfully wrong with their society. The question was what.
Focus on the following in your response paper:You only have a small selection from Piers Plowman in your textbook. The entire poem goes on for well over 5,000 lines. In that long, long poem, the same thing essentially keeps happening over and over. The Dreamer (sometimes called Will) has a series of dreams in which he learns about God, religion, morality, the Gospels, and other similar topics, but no matter how much he learns, he can never find (or found) a perfect society. Every group of people that he dreams about ends up disintegrating into chaos, violence, and mutual recriminations. Clearly, William Langland, the author of the poem, seems very concerned about social cohesion and its notable lack in 14th-century England. So, given the selections that you have in your textbook, what would you say is the cause of the disintegration of society in Langland's eyes? Why do social groupings fail in the selections? What is wrong with people that they can't seem to live together in a peaceful, cohesive society? Is there a solution to the problem?
Click here to go to the syllabus.