Langland’s Malleable Lady Meed
Lady Meed is at first presented as ambiguous, with suggestions of her dual nature; but the possibility of this dual nature is repudiated, and by the end of C.4 she is shown to be immoral rather than amoral. She is best defined as a false vision of reward, “intimately associated with but distinct from the cupidity in the souls who desire her,” and not as wealth or material reward in general, or as reward given to wrongdoers. Lady Meed is always evil, while meed can be good. Rather inconsistently, she occasionally serves as a projection of cupidity itself.
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. Costerus ns 80. Amsterdam and Atlanta: Rodopi, 1991. 119-41.