Piers Plowman


William Langland

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Field Full of Folk Symbol Analysis

Field Full of Folk Symbol Icon

The busy, bustling “field full of folk” that Will sees in his first few dreams represents society, which is populated by humans from each of the three estates, or social classes: the clergy (first estate), the nobility (second estate), and the peasantry (third estate). However, the field also symbolizes society on a grander scale, as it symbolizes the whole earth, teeming with people from all different walks of life. Since the field is positioned directly between the castle on the hill and the dungeon in the valley, the field symbolizes the way that all people have the capacity to go to either Heaven or Hell, depending on their behavior on earth.

Field Full of Folk Quotes in Piers Plowman

The Piers Plowman quotes below all refer to the symbol of Field Full of Folk. 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.
Prologue Quotes

I saw a tower on a hill-top, trimly built,
A deep dale beneath, a dungeon tower in it,
With ditches deep and dark and dreadful to look at.
A fair field full of folk I found between them,
Of human being of all sorts, the high and the low…

Related Characters: Will (speaker), Truth, Holy Church, Wrong
Page Number: 3
Explanation and Analysis:
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Field Full of Folk Symbol Timeline in Piers Plowman

The timeline below shows where the symbol Field Full of Folk appears in Piers Plowman. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Corruption Theme Icon
Social Hierarchy, Community, and Selfishness Theme Icon
Labor vs. Idleness Theme Icon
In his dream, Will sees a “ field full of folk ” nestled between a tower on a hill and a dungeon in a valley. The... (full context)
Corruption Theme Icon
Social Hierarchy, Community, and Selfishness Theme Icon
Back in the “ field full of folk ,” Will sees all kinds of people in the bustling town, including bakers, brewers, butchers,... (full context)
Passus V
Corruption Theme Icon
Penance and Repentance Theme Icon
Social Hierarchy, Community, and Selfishness Theme Icon
...dream only to drift back to sleep moments later. Once again, Will sees the “ field full of folk ,” but this time he also sees Reason preaching to all of the people in... (full context)