Troilus And Criseyde Essays
And Chaucer walks a very fine line—brilliantly—between taking this very seriously as a grand poetic project, and making it a funny, engaging, playful exploration of human psychology.
We not only know what they think, but also they express it.
Much of it happens in monologue and conversation, as people talk about love, or fortune, or jealousy, or fate, or destiny.
Troilus’s friend Pandarus (who also happens to be Criseyde’s uncle) helps Troilus woo her by transmitting letters between them and by organizing a first meeting in which Troilus can declare his love, and a second meeting in which the lovers spend the night together. Criseyde is exchanged for Antenor, and goes to the Greek camp.
Chaucer's version can be said to reflect a less cynical and less misogynistic world-view than Boccaccio's, casting Criseyde as fearful and sincere rather than simply fickle and having been led astray by the eloquent and perfidious Pandarus.
It also inflects the sorrow of the story with humour.
Hector, of Troy, objects; as does Troilus, although he does not voice his concern.
Calchas eventually persuades the Greeks to exchange a prisoner of war, Antenor, for his daughter Criseyde.The narrator, with an apology for giving women a bad name, bids farewell to his book, and briefly recounts Troilus's death in battle and his ascent to the eighth sphere, draws a moral about the transience of earthly joys and the inadequacy of paganism, dedicates his poem to John Gower and Strode, asks the protection of the Trinity, and prays that we be worthy of Christ's mercy.Long before Renaissance dramas or realist novels, Chaucer wrote a love story set in a besieged city that was a deep psychological exploration of character and human relationships. We start with love at first sight: Troilus sees Criseyde in the temple, then goes home and laments this new feeling of lovesickness.The poem had an important legacy for later writers.Robert Henryson's Scots poem The Testament of Cresseid imagined a tragic fate for Criseyde not given by Chaucer.1449), adapt language and authorship strategies from the famous predecessor poem.Shakespeare's tragedy Troilus and Cressida, although much blacker in tone, was also based in part on the material.Calchas, a soothsayer, foresees the fall of Troy and abandons the city in favour of the Greeks; his daughter, Criseyde, receives some ill will on account of her father's betrayal.Troilus, a warrior of Troy, publicly mocks love and is punished by the God of Love by being struck with irreconcilable desire for Criseyde, whom he sees passing through the temple.With the help of sly Pandarus, Criseyde's uncle, Troilus and Criseyde begin to exchange letters.Eventually, Pandarus develops a plan to urge the two into bed together; Troilus swoons when he thinks the plan is going amiss, but Pandarus and Criseyde revive him.