Title Background

Aspects de la justice royale dans <i>Piers Plowman</i>.

Aspects de la justice royale dans Piers Plowman.

L’s interest in the nature and the remit of royal power informs all four versions of PPl, but is most clearly illustrated through the study of the B Visio. An analysis of four passages concerning the relationship between the King, the law, and justice (Prol.112–45, 1.88–127, 159–62, and 2.193–end of 4) shows theoretical affinities with Thomistic political philosophy. These passages, however, achieve more than merely rehashing standard ideas about justice and mercy and good governance; L is also interested in portraying the contemporary state of royal justice. L’s depiction of the legal system is not limited to underlining the corruption and abuse evident in the workings of the royal court, but would seem also to anticipate Sir John Fortescue’s De laudibus legum Angliae (late fifteenth century), and presents a picture of royal authority tempered by the activity of Parliament.