Piers Plowman

by

William Langland

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Anima Character Analysis

Anima, who represents the soul, initially is a beautiful woman who resides in a castle made of the four elements, which represents the human body. She lives with a duke named Do-Well, his daughter named Do-Better, and a bishop’s peer named “Do-Best.” Anima is guarded by the five senses—the five sons of a knight named Sir Inwit. Later in the poem, Anima is male and is the last teacher Will meets. Anima’s teachings primarily focus on charity.

Anima Quotes in Piers Plowman

The Piers Plowman quotes below are all either spoken by Anima or refer to Anima. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Love Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the W. W. Nortona & Company edition of Piers Plowman published in 2006.
Passus XV Quotes

And for an example see how on trees in the summer time
There are some boughs that bear leaves and some bear none.
There is some sickness in the root of such sots of trees;
Just so parsons and priests and preachers of Holy Church
Are the root of the right faith to rule the people;
But where the root is rotten…
Shall never flower nor fruit grow nor fair leaf be green.

Related Characters: Anima (speaker), Will
Related Symbols: Tree
Page Number: 247
Explanation and Analysis:

Therefore by color nor by clergy, you’ll never come to know him,
Neither through words nor works, but through will alone,
And no clerk knows that, nor creature on earth
But Piers the Plowman, Petrus id est Christus.

Related Characters: Anima (speaker), Will, Piers Plowman
Page Number: 253
Explanation and Analysis:
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Piers Plowman PDF

Anima Character Timeline in Piers Plowman

The timeline below shows where the character Anima appears in Piers Plowman. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Passus IX
Love Theme Icon
Social Hierarchy, Community, and Selfishness Theme Icon
...out of the four elements. Inside the castle, Kind has “enclosed” a beautiful woman named Anima, whom he loves. Keeping her company is a duke named Sir Do-Well, and his daughter,... (full context)
Corruption Theme Icon
...Wit reveals that the castle made of four elements is actually the human body, and Anima—the soul—dwells in the heart. Wit teaches that sinful humans have a soul “like the Devil,”... (full context)
Passus XV
Love Theme Icon
...back asleep. He slips into another dream, this time coming face-to-face with a man named Anima, who goes by several other names as well, including Animus, Mens, Memoria, Ratio, Sensus, Conscientia,... (full context)
Corruption Theme Icon
...“naturally, natively in my heart” have an understanding of all of the sciences and arts. Anima tells Will that wanting to know so much makes Will “one of Pride’s knights,” since... (full context)
Corruption Theme Icon
Social Hierarchy, Community, and Selfishness Theme Icon
Anima explains that society is like a tree. Some branches are barren, while others have healthy... (full context)
Good Works and Salvation Theme Icon
Will asks Anima about charity, explaining that he’s never seen charity play out in his life: “I have... (full context)
Corruption Theme Icon
Good Works and Salvation Theme Icon
Social Hierarchy, Community, and Selfishness Theme Icon
Labor vs. Idleness Theme Icon
Will wishes he could meet Charity, but Anima says that without Piers Plowman’s help, Will has no hope of meeting Charity. Piers Plowman... (full context)
Corruption Theme Icon
Good Works and Salvation Theme Icon
Social Hierarchy, Community, and Selfishness Theme Icon
Continuing his teaching about Charity, Anima tells Will that whether Charity is clothed in expensive furs or simple cloth, “…he’d hand... (full context)
Corruption Theme Icon
Social Hierarchy, Community, and Selfishness Theme Icon
Labor vs. Idleness Theme Icon
Anima declares that people will do well to remember that even though humans suffer greatly, “…God... (full context)
Corruption Theme Icon
Social Hierarchy, Community, and Selfishness Theme Icon
Anima tells the story of a Christian man named Mohammed who trained a dove by putting... (full context)
Corruption Theme Icon
Social Hierarchy, Community, and Selfishness Theme Icon
Anima says that even though “…Christ’s Cross that overcame death and deadly sin” should be revered,... (full context)
Passus XVI
Corruption Theme Icon
Good Works and Salvation Theme Icon
Still dreaming, Will thanks Anima for his teachings but admits that he still is confused about Charity. Anima responds with... (full context)