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The Plowman Quotes in The Canterbury Tales

Instructor: Summer Stewart

Summer has taught creative writing and sciences at the college level. She holds an MFA in Creative writing and a B.A.S. in English and Nutrition

Twenty-nine characters take a journey in Geoffrey Chaucer's 'The Canterbury Tales' and each one contributes to the overarching plot and themes within the poem. In this lesson, we will look at quotes about the Plowman

Background

In The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer writes an idealized character description of the Parson's brother, the Plowman. Unlike many of the other characters that do not fit the expected behavior of their rank, the Plowman fulfills his industrious and simple role as a man who works hard and would help anybody in need. While the Plowman's part in the piece is small, he serves as a rich contrast to characters who cast large negative shadows on humanity. In this lesson, we will look at quotes about the Plowman to get a stronger understanding of his character.

Labor without Complaint

The Plowman is a virtuous and industrious man who willingly and peacefully does his work without complaint. The Plowman is responsible for clearing the roads of feces; he also does other jobs that involve waste disposal. Even though he does one of the filthiest jobs in his community, he does it with pride and doesn't concern himself with money. For example, Chaucer writes, 'That hadde ylad of dong ful many a fother; / A trewe swynkere and a good was he, / Lyvynge in pees and parfit charitee.' Chaucer continues to say, 'He wolde thresshe, and therto dyke and delve.' In modern English, Chaucer is saying that the Plowman was willing to do any job that needed to be done for the sake of the community, and he works hard to get the job done without ever concerning himself with wealth. The Plowman is a true laborer and he doesn't believe himself to be above any job handed to him.

Faithful and Committed to Good

Not only is the Plowman industrious and humble, he is committed to God and God's word. Chaucer writes, 'God loved he best with al his hoole herte / At alle tymes, thogh him gamed or smerte, / And thanne his neighebor right as hym-selve.'

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