Title Background

Meed and the Economics of Chivalry in <i>Piers Plowman</i>

Meed and the Economics of Chivalry in Piers Plowman

    In the first dream vision of the A and B texts of PPl, L has Meed defend herself against Conscience’s indictment by accusing him of cowardice in persuading the King to surrender his claim to the French throne. Through this character’s topical allusion to the harsh conditions of the Normandy campaign of 1359-60 and the specific provisions of the ensuing Treaty of Br├ętigny, L engages in the debate about Edward III’s war policy that took place in the 1360s and early 1370s. References to this treaty in several works contemporary with the A text of PPl indicate the range of such contestation and reveal L as one of the earliest opponents of the hostilities with France. Through Meed’s objections to the Treaty of Br├ętigny, L interrogates the ideology of chivalry that Edward III so successfully cultivated to gain baronial support for the war. (DNB)