Indeterminacy in Winner and Waster and The Parliament of the Three Ages.
The appeal of WW and P3A derives from their ability to challenge and dramatize the inadequacies of commonplace didactic lessons, in a fashion that recalls Wolfgang Iser’s notion of a literary text’s indeterminacy, which engages the reader’s imagination to “fill in the gaps.” Indeterminacy is fostered in these two poems through such conditions and devices as an alliterative verse-situation that relies on a dramatic interplay between the poet/minstrel and audience, irresponsible narrators, a dream vision form that may relate enigmatic dreams, and personification allegory that exposes the limitations of particular characters’ values. The audience is thus led to formulate more acceptable solutions to problems posed by, and in, the poems.
ChauR 20 (1986): 246-57.
Harrington, David V.