Title Background

The Clemency of Cobblers: A Reading of ‘Glutton’s Confession’ in <i>Piers Plowman</i>.

The Clemency of Cobblers: A Reading of ‘Glutton’s Confession’ in Piers Plowman.

Invariably read as an example of social realism, Glutton’s Confession (B.5.296-318, 336-56) is better considered metaphorically as a mock-confession, in which the tavern functions as the “devil’s chapel” of pulpit tradition, drinking cups replace hymns, the ale-pot stands for the chalice, and Glutton’s vomiting is meant to recall the metaphor of voiding one’s sins in confession. Clement the Cobbler, whose name suggests a confessors merciful disposition and whose profession was notorious for pretension, is a mock-confessor; the scene thus returns the audience to the idea of confession even when one of the sins appears to have turned away from repentance.

Volume

LSE ns 17 (1986): 61-75.

Author

Gray, Nick.