Langland’s Malleable Lady Meed.
Although Lady Meed is ambiguous at first, with suggestions of a “dual nature,” the ambiguity is resolved by the end of C.4, where she is shown to be immoral and corrupt. Meed is not wealth or reward in general or reward given to wrongdoers, but a false vision of reward “intimately associated with but distinct from the cupidity in the souls of those who desire her.” Rewards, when used, depend on the use to which they are put, and the motives that determine the bestowal of rewards always have a moral dimension. Meed represents reward serving a dishonorable purpose.
This Noble Craft. Proceedings of the Xth Research Symposium of the Dutch and Belgian University Teachers of Old and Middle English and Historical Linguistics, Utrecht, 19-20 January 1989. Ed. Erik Kooper. Amsterdam and Atlanta, GA: Rodopi, 1991. Costerus ns 80 (1991): 119-41.