Parable, Allegory, History, and Piers Plowman.
The tension between allegory and interpretation in parables suggested to the Middle Ages allegory and the exemplum, though for certain New Testament parables the interpretation is supplied, whereas allegory invites the reader to intuit meanings beyond the literal. The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares (Matt. 13:24-30), one of the most allegorical parables, informs many of the themes, metaphors, and structural elements of PPl. WL makes direct allusion to the parable in the opening and closing passus, and its influence is felt in the poem’s agricultural setting; its emphasis on patience as a means of withstanding temptation; apocalyptic overtones; and veiled allusions to the Lollard heresy. Like Ezekiel, the progenitor of all apocalyptic parabolists, WL connects current events to their origins and their future resolutions; like the biblical parables, PPI’s visions do not easily yield their hermeneutical solutions.