Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Piers the Plowman

Piers the Plowman, the hardworking, sincere, and honest plowman who with each appearance in the poem becomes more clearly an incarnation of Christ. In the poet’s second vision, Piers volunteers to lead the assembly of the seven deadly sins to Holy Truth and thus earns a pardon for himself and his heirs forever. The third vision of the poet concerns Piers’s quests for the states of Do-Well, Do-Better, and Do-Best. Piers also explains the Tree of Charity and the nature of the Trinity of God to the poet and appears as the Good Samaritan, as the builder of the Church, and as God’s champion against Satan.

William, the Poet

William, the Poet, who has a series of visions, each concerned with human relationships to God in every aspect of medieval life. The first vision relates the contest between Lady Mede and Conscience; the next two dreams are visions of Piers the Plowman. In addition to the quest for Truth (God), the poet also digresses on the topics of sin and virtue, the value of learning, the clergy and the laity, and Christian tradition.

Lady Mede

Lady Mede, an allegorical character representing both just reward and bribery. She appears in the first vision as the proposed, but unwanted, bride of Conscience.

Lady Holy Church

Lady Holy Church, who explains the first vision to the poet.




Reason, and


False, allegorical characters.


Dame-Work-While-I-Am-Able, the wife of Piers.


Do-This-Or-Thy-Dame-Shall-Beat-Thee, Piers’s daughter.


Suffer-Thy-Sovereigns-To-Have-Their-Wishes-Dare-Not-Judge-Them-For-If-Thou-Dost-Thou-Shalt-Dearly-Abide-It, Piers’s son.