Essay The Inner Pilgrimage in William Langland's Piers Plowman

Essay The Inner Pilgrimage in William Langland's Piers Plowman

Length: 3270 words (9.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The Inner Pilgrimage in William Langland's Piers Plowman

Passus VIII of William Langland's Piers Plowman presents a search--which becomes a journey within the journey of the entire text. Here the narrator, Will, describes an inner pilgrimage--one that takes its shape in a religious context, but plays itself out through everyday life and the notion of self. The medieval traditional notion of pilgrimage involves the physical journey to a religious shrine as a means of obtaining, through journey and arrival, a revelation of religious and sacred integrity. The connotations of pilgrimage, however, stretch far beyond the actual physical act--a pilgrimage is "the physical symbol of [an] eternal goal" (Davidson and Dunn-Wood 13). The expanse of pilgrimage in medieval terms also envelops the understanding that "within or alongside this spiritual journey...was an intellectual journey as well, a quest against error and folly for truth and wisdom, which ultimately amounted to the knowledge of God" (Bowman 5). But pilgrimage goes even beyond that, in that it requires an absolute journey into the self with the goal of discovering that which gives the individual a context in which to exist.

The stage is set for journey in the opening line of the passus by Will, who says, "Thus robed in russet I roamed about/ A whole summer season searching for Do-Well." The establishment of Do-Well as the goal creates the context through which this particular pilgrimage must be understood. And it must also be understood that Will does not know what (or who) Do-Well is: "And I asked very frequently of folk that I met/ If anyone knew where Do-Well made his home"; he knows only that he feels that he should search for such an existing concept (Passu...

... middle of paper ...

...da Kay and Maryjane Dunn-Wood. Pilgrimages in the Middle Ages: A Research Guide. New York: Garland Publishing Company, 1993.

Davis, J.D. A Dictionary of the Bible. Michigan: Baker Book House, 1924.

Hagan, Susan K. Allegorical Remembrance. University of Georgia Press, 1990.

Hieatt, Constance B. The Realism of Dream Visions: The Poetic Exploitation of the Dream-Experience in Chaucer and his Contemporaries Mouton & Co. 1967.

Holy Bible. Michigan: Zondervan Bible Publishers, 1990.

Kirk, Elizabeth D. The Dream Thought of Piers Plowman. Yale: Yale University Press, 1972.

Knapp, Bettina L. Dream and Image. New York: Whitston, 1977.

Langland, William. Piers Plowman. Trans. E. Talbot Donaldson. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1990.

Sargent-Baur, Barbara N. Journeys Toward God: Pilgrimage and Crusade. Michigan: Medieval Institute Publications, 1992.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

William Langland 's An Epic Translated By Siegried Wenzel Essays

- Pocketful of posies refers to flowers or herbs carried in the pockets of victims because they believed this disease was transmitted by bad smells. Ashes, ashes is in reference to the cremation of bodies after death as opposed to burial. We all fall down signifies the sudden death bubonic plague causes. William Langland also wrote about the impact of this disease in an epic translated by Siegried Wenzel: So nature killed many through corruptions, Death came driving after her and dashed all to dust, Kings, and knights, emperors and popes; He left no man standing, whether learned or ignorant; Whatever he hit stirred never afterwards, Many a lovely lady and their lover-knig...   [tags: Black Death, Bubonic plague, Yersinia pestis]

Powerful Essays
1203 words (3.4 pages)

How The Sacred Structures And Multiple Pilgrimages Influence The Hindu Religion

- One of Ninian Smart’s seven dimensions of religion is the material dimension. Though vague this dimension is one of the most prevalent dimensions across the board. The material dimension can relate to anything from natural phenomena to sculptures and paintings, it can be influential to a society as a whole or simply a personal interpretation. Diana Eck explains how the sacred structures and multiple pilgrimages influence the Hindu religion, by examining the design of the Hindu temple and scrutinizing the destinations of pilgrimages....   [tags: Hinduism, Religion, Buddhism, Pilgrimage]

Powerful Essays
1101 words (3.1 pages)

Biography of Piers Morgan Essay

- Piers Morgan, Journalist, Editor, Author, and Television personality, is one of the most known journalists of this century. Also known as “Piers Moron” for his controversial, and outspoken yet influential news reporting. He has made a name for himself in both America and Britain. Starting off as a local reporter, Piers has journeyed through multiple journalistic media outlets, finally landing a spot in the big leagues of television. After taking over the night – time television spot, previously owned by Larry King, Piers currently graces our TV screens with his brutal opinions and raw news coverage....   [tags: Journalist, Talk Show Host]

Powerful Essays
990 words (2.8 pages)

Essay on Christian Principles in Langland's Works

- Christian Principles in Langland's Works Many regard Langland’s work as a variation on the classic ‘Pilgrim’s progress’ story for the fourteenth-century Christian. The poem is often called a spiritual autobiography; but this is a simpliste description, the ironical result of the very vividness of Langland's presentation of his dreamer. The poet records a spiritual crisis that he experienced after a disputation with friars in later years. The poem, like Dante's, is certainly in one sense a Pilgrim's Progress--but hardly in Bunyan's sense; it describes not so much a spiritual journey (and journey was the dominant sense of 'progress' in Bunyan's day) as an unfolding, a development, stage by st...   [tags: Literature Religion Christianity Poems Essays]

Powerful Essays
987 words (2.8 pages)

Essay on A Pilgrimage

- A Pilgrimage A pilgrimage is a journey undertaken for a religious reason. Since the time of Jesus Christians have visited the places associated with his birth, life and death. In addition to these sites in Israel there are many other centres of Christian pilgrimage Lourdes in France, Walsingham, and Canterbury in England, Holywell and Saint Davids in Wales, Rome, to name but a few. [IMAGE] The Roman Catholic Church has always taught that pilgrimage is a useful way to strengthen one's Christian faith....   [tags: Papers]

Powerful Essays
3621 words (10.3 pages)

Piers Anthony's Novels Essay

- Piers Anthony's Novels There have been many notable figures in the field of writing. Most of those people are long dead, but there are a few that are pretty fresh on the scene. One such author is Piers Anthony. He has written many novels and long series, which have all done extremely well. Despite the major differences between Anthony's novels, he tends to use repeating themes throughout all of his books. Piers Anthony is currently living in a log cabin with his wife. He does not have any other job so she must pay the bills while he is between books....   [tags: Papers]

Free Essays
539 words (1.5 pages)

Essay on Pilgrimage for Christians

- Pilgrimage for Christians This question has a lot or arguments for both sides, which will be discussed here. The Christian Church itself is not entirely sure of whether or not pilgrimage should be practised, and different denominations have different views. Pilgrimage can help Christians a great deal. Pilgrims grow closer to God during pilgrimage and pilgrimages can inspire them to spread the word of God when they return from the trip. If there are having doubts over their faith in God, pilgrimages can make them feel close to God, and they can believe in him without doubt again....   [tags: Papers]

Free Essays
642 words (1.8 pages)

Pilgrimage Essay

- Pilgrimage A pilgrimage is a journey to a holy place. The place is usually where events have happened in the past that are relevant or important to what the pilgrim believes in or has faith in. People go on pilgrimages for various reasons. These reasons include things like seeking spiritual healing or discipline, increasing their faith; feel closer to God, just to experience what a pilgrimage feels like. In places like Lourdes, which is situated in the South of France, many people visit there because they believe that miracles really do occur there....   [tags: Papers]

Free Essays
413 words (1.2 pages)

Essay on Pilgrimage

- Pilgrimage A pilgrimage is a journey to a holy place. The holy places that Christians choose to visit on pilgrimage can include; where a saint lived, where a relic of a saint is kept, where a vision occurred or where Jesus lived. To travel to holy places (such as Rome or Lourdes) is in itself considered a part of the pilgrimage. Originally pilgrims would have walked and maybe met with other groups on the way. Some choose to make the journey alone or as a group, e.g. - the HCPT takes sick children to Lourdes as part of the charity....   [tags: Papers]

Powerful Essays
1209 words (3.5 pages)

Pilgrimage Essay

- Pilgrimage Introduction This is coursework is about Pilgrimage. The coursework is divided into three parts. I am going to talk about what happens at pilgrimage, why people go and reasons why/why not are these places becoming too commercialised. But what is a pilgrimage. A Christian Pilgrimage is a journey undertaken, by believers to a place, which is, for some reason, considered to be holy. No one has the obligation to go but religious pilgrims have been particularly important in the Catholic Church for centuries....   [tags: Papers]

Free Essays
1344 words (3.8 pages)