Piers Plowman


William Langland

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Meed Character Analysis

Meed is False’s fiancée and Holy Church’s enemy. Although she has been instructed by God to marry Truth (due to the fact that her mother, Amends, is a righteous woman), she disobeys. The King tries to marry her off to Conscience, but to no avail. Meed is a lavishly dressed woman who tries to endear herself to everyone through her extravagant gifts—something Conscience pegs as sinful.

Meed Quotes in Piers Plowman

The Piers Plowman quotes below are all either spoken by Meed or refer to Meed. 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:
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Meed Character Timeline in Piers Plowman

The timeline below shows where the character Meed appears in Piers Plowman. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Passus II
Corruption Theme Icon
...jewels, red-gold ribbons, and expensive furs. Holy Church tells Will that this woman is named Meed and is as intimate with the papacy as Holy Church herself. Whereas Holy Church is... (full context)
Corruption Theme Icon
In his dream, Will sees the preparations for Meed’s wedding. Many people are involved in the wedding planning, including common people, clerks, and knights.... (full context)
Corruption Theme Icon
...objects to the wedding, saying that it will anger Truth. He reminds the crowd that Meed is the daughter of a woman of legitimate birth, Amends, and thus has been instructed... (full context)
Corruption Theme Icon
Meed, False, and many of their other companions depart for London, all led by Guile. Along... (full context)
Passus III
Corruption Theme Icon
The King decides that he will simply ask Meed which man she would like to marry, Truth or False, “And if she works with... (full context)
Corruption Theme Icon
The King calls for Meed to be brought before him. When she arrives, he tells her that it was unwise... (full context)
Corruption Theme Icon
Contesting Conscience’s charges, Meed argues that gifts are a good thing. By giving meed (rewards), a king can honor... (full context)
Corruption Theme Icon
Quoting the Bible, Meed retaliates by reciting, “He will acquire honor who gives gifts.” Conscience is quick to point... (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 man named Reason. 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... (full context)
Corruption Theme Icon
...should be punished and declares, “by the Rood, I shall render no mercy / While Meed maintains her mastery in the court of law.” The King is furious at Meed for... (full context)
Passus XI
Corruption Theme Icon
...a variety of scenes from nature, from “wild worms in woods” to “how men took Meed and dismissed Mercy.” Will notices that Reason “respect[s] and rule[s] all beasts,” but doesn’t seem... (full context)