The Poet as Ploughman
The filial relationship between the Parson and the Ploughman in the General Prologue to the CT represents their bond as spiritual ideals of humble Christian good living. The Plowman may be viewed as a secular shadow of the Christian ideals propounded by the unblemished Parson, not a fully formed character in himself, but the spiritual element of a character which may be adopted by any individual. Chaucer adopts the figure of the Plowman as exemplary laborer from L, but frees the image from its specifically religious connotations and imbues it with the connotations of literary creation derived from European tradition. Like the Plowman, Chaucer perceives his own role as poet to be in brotherhood with the Church, whose representative concludes the CT by sowing the seeds of “moralitee and vertuous mateere.”
ChaucR 33 (1998): 146-56.