Piers Plowman

by

William Langland

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King Character Analysis

The King oversees the court case of Peace vs. Wrong and also deals with Lady Meed’s misbehavior. The King doesn’t abuse his power—he trusts Conscience and Reason’s input and is committed to keeping them as his advisors for his entire reign. The King represents an ideal ruler who makes thoughtful decisions based on Christian values.

King Quotes in Piers Plowman

The Piers Plowman quotes below are all either spoken by King or refer to King. 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 III Quotes

She makes men misbehave many score times.
In trust of her treasures she troubles a great many.
…Poisoned popes, impaired Holy Church.
…She’s as common as the cartway to comers and goers,
To monks, to messengers, to leper-men in hedges.

Related Characters: Conscience (speaker), King, Meed
Page Number: 43
Explanation and Analysis:
Passus IV Quotes

If he may make amends, let Bail manumit him
And put up pledges for his crimes and purchase recompense,
Amend that misdeed and be evermore the better.

Related Characters: Wisdom (speaker), King, Wrong, Peace
Page Number: 59
Explanation and Analysis:
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King Character Timeline in Piers Plowman

The timeline below shows where the character King appears in Piers Plowman. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Passus II
Corruption Theme Icon
...before them. He warns Conscience of False and Favel’s impure intentions, and Conscience warns the King. The King promises to hang False and his companions for their evil intents and instructs... (full context)
Passus III
Corruption Theme Icon
The King decides that he will simply ask Meed which man she would like to marry, Truth... (full context)
Corruption Theme Icon
The King calls for Meed to be brought before him. When she arrives, he tells her that... (full context)
Corruption Theme Icon
...quests. In addition, meed is helpful for maintaining laws, helping beggars, and preserving peace. The King is thoroughly convinced by Lady Meed’s argument but allows Conscience the chance to respond. (full context)
Passus IV
Corruption Theme Icon
Sick of their fighting, the King orders Conscience to kiss Meed, but Conscience refuses to do so without permission from a... (full context)
Corruption Theme Icon
...them. Conscience and Reason arrive safely to court, where they are greeted warmly by the King. (full context)
Corruption Theme Icon
Penance and Repentance Theme Icon
Before dealing with Meed and her marriage, the King must first oversee a legal case. A man named Peace accuses Wrong of three crimes—rape,... (full context)
Corruption Theme Icon
...render no mercy / While Meed maintains her mastery in the court of law.” The King is furious at Meed for almost interfering with the law with her bribery. (full context)
Social Hierarchy, Community, and Selfishness Theme Icon
When the King demands that Wrong face punishment for his crimes, Conscience warns him that unless the common... (full context)
Passus V
Corruption Theme Icon
Penance and Repentance Theme Icon
Social Hierarchy, Community, and Selfishness Theme Icon
...teach us: we’ll believe you the more.” Reason also has words of wisdom for the King, telling him to treat his people with love. Lastly, Reason addresses those who “seek Saint... (full context)