Chaucer, Troilus and Criseyde

Topics: Troilus and Criseyde, Medieval literature, Cressida Pages: 2 (366 words) Published: April 3, 2013
Troilus and Criseyde
And in short, dear heart and all my knight,

be glad, and regain your lustiness,

and I shall truly, with all my might,

your bitterness turn all to sweetness.

If I be she that may bring you gladness,

for every woe you shall receive a bliss’:

And him in her arms took and began to kiss.

Addressed to Venus, goddess of Love, the poem also invokes Calliope, muse of epic poetry. Chaucer seems to use courtly love differently. He takes only the parts of the myth that he needs to fill out his story; he uses the whole courtly love structure, and goes beyond it. He includes all of the conventions: both lovers are stricken with love "at first sight;" Troilus is sick with love and feels unworthy; they exchange letters; Troilus pledges obedience; both pledge faithfulness. But they realize that it is a ritual, a game. Troilus asks Pandarus, "What do I do now?" and Pandarus says, "Write a letter." So Troilus writes a letter, using all sorts of key phrases, as instructed to by Pandarus, overseen and delivered by Pandarus as well, so these letters are not being written from a naïve place, there is an underlying motive attached here. Criseyde, when she gets the letter, does not think, "How beautiful--how romantic," but "He made that move well." Both Chaucer and his lovers use courtly love as a convention--not completely seriously. It is the detail that Chaucer adds beyond the convention that makes the story convincing and touching.


Beseeching him, for God’s love that he

will, in honour of truth and nobleness,

as I mean well, so mean well to me,

and my honour with wit and finesse

always guard: and if I may do him gladness,

from here on, then I will not feign:

now all be whole, no longer complain.


But nevertheless, I warn you,’ said she,

‘king’s son though you be, in this

you shall no more have...
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