Title Background

The Inner Dreams in <i>Piers Plowman</i>.

The Inner Dreams in Piers Plowman.

The apparent omission of the second “inner dream” in C. 18 may be seen as resulting from Langland’s attempt at theological clarification, but entails significant loss to the poem nonetheless. The substitution of Liberum-Arbitrium for Piers diminishes the power to communicate affectively the mysteries of faith as they have been experienced by the Dreamer’s emotional discovery in the inner dream of B. 16. The second inner dream in B stresses the primacy of inner conversion, a necessary preparation for the salvation of the world, and suggests that God’s suffrance (in the two senses of enduring and tolerating), when approached affectively rather than intellectually, can resolve the dilemma posed by the first inner dream concerning the power of evil.