Analogy Of Wynnere And Wastoure In The Middle Of The 14th Century

2359 words - 9 pages

Every where in life there are opposite forces which cannot exist with out one another. These things, whether opposing actions or opposing thoughts, often in the end cannot exist without one another. For if in the end one prevailed, there would be an unbalance. You cannot have ying without yang or life without death. In Wynnere and Wastoure there is a harmony between the two characters. While this harmony may be unclear to both of the characters, it becomes evident after each volley of arguments that there is no winner in this battle. Wynnere cannot exist without Wastoure.Wynnere and Wastoure is a book steeped in the social problems of the time. The poem is dated from 1352 to 1353. The book was written around the end of the black plague and around the same time as the hundred year’s war. With the death of many Europeans due to the black plague there was shortage of workers and a rise in wages which lead to a decrease in the wealth of the upper class. The rain of Edward the III put England into large amount of debt. He created a large debt for England by constantly borrowing to fund the hundred year’s war. This constant flow of cash in a circle of borrowing, spending and repaying can be seen much like the relationship between Wynnere and Wastoure. (Lois Roney, 1076) As a result of the economic troubles of England a need to educate the public in fiscal policy must have been prevalent in England.In the initial scene a stage is set. A battle between two armies, one of Wynnere and one of Wastoure. The two armies are easily separated by their social status. The army of Winner is made up of merchants, lawyers, friars and the pope. The Winners are clearly the emerging wealthy middle class. Both the lawyers and merchants in that period of time were becoming wealthier and wealthier. The friars and Pope (the church in general) was also extremely wealthy and had become so only in a short amount of time compared to the age of the nobility in England. The army of Waster can be seen as the nobles. Here we can see that this battle sets the stage for the rest of the book. A battle between Wynnere, the emerging wealthy class, and Wastoure, the old noble class of wealth which is becoming gradually less powerful. (Gardiner Stillwell, 242)As the two are called before the King they offer arguments for their side before the battle. With each argument Wynnere and Wastoure counter each others points with valid arguments which make the reader value both sides. (Nicolas Jacobs, 488) Winner’s first attack on Wastoure attacks Wastoure for what he is more then his policies. He admires his own frugality and attacks Waster’s pride. The attack on Waster’s pride can be seen as more of an attack on the pride and ideology of the noble class which was evident in the time period when the book was written between the merchant and noble classes. His argument offers valid points. Waster comes back with reasonable counterpoint. He counters that winner’s...

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