The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography (Vols. 1-30)Return to the Subject List
Campbell, Josie P. "The Idea of Order in the Wakefield Noah." 10 (1975): 76-86.
The Wakefield Noah is about love and mastery within the family unit. In discovering divine love, however, Noah also gains an understanding of obedience. Love produces friendship, and friendship, obedience. Noah must realize that love connects man to God in obedience and that the obedience this love produces will save the world. The commitment to care for his family and for the animals is an essential part of man's relationship to God. God's love sustains earthly life. Evidence in the play does not suggest that Noah ever gains mastery over Uxor, his wife. Uxor's idea of mastery is based on fear and contrasts with the ideas about love which Noah is learning. Finally, when Uxor and Noah fight to a draw, their sons suggest a new way of behaving in which Noah and Uxor will be equals. Ultimately, Noah asserts that love maintains order, not fear.
Freiwald, Leah Rieber. "Swych Love of Frendes: Pandarus and Troilus." 6 (1971): 120-29.
The progress of the friendship between Pandarus and Troilus parallels and comments on the progress of the relationship between Troilus and Criseyde. The classical ideal of friendship asserts that true friendship exists between self-sufficient, virtuous equals. Imperfect friendship, however, is predicated on a sense that one or both the individuals will profit from the relationship. Pandarus and Troilus have an imperfect friendship because each believes association with the other will be of benefit to himself. As Pandarus becomes less useful to the love affair, Troilus's sense of gain disappears as does his relationship to Pandarus does in corresponding fashion. In the end, Troilus has neither friend nor lover.
Gaylord, Alan T. "Friendship in Chaucer's Troilus." 3 (1969): 239-64.
Troilus and Criseyde deals as much with courtly friendship as with courtly love, and when Chaucer exposes the flimsy nature of love, he also exposes the shallowness of the friendship on which courtly society is based. Chaucer expands the role of the friend from that in the Roman de la Rose and in Boccaccio. Chaucer's friends defend and advise, though not necessarily wisely, as Pandarus does for both Troilus and Criseyde. In Roman de la Rose, the Ami (friend) serves as the one who advises listening to Love instead of Reason. Christian writers capitalized on Ciceronian echoes and connected Reason to Charity. The advice of Ami, then, shuts out Reason and Christian Charity. Chaucer complicates his Troilus and Criseyde by putting friendship under the command of Venus so that friendship then describes the relationship between "nations, continents, and spheres" (251). Thus, when Pandarus comes to set Criseyde up for Troilus's advances, he can couch his suggestions in the language of friendship. When Pandarus returns to Troilus, he can imply that Troilus must press his advantage so that the "friendship" can be expanded into passionate courtly love. Unfortunately, Troilus becomes so much a lover that when he needs to champion Criseyde, preventing her from being shipped off to Troy, he does nothing. By the end of the narrative, "ironies, complications, and contradictions" become apparent to the audience through the idea of friendship (261). The reader realizes that Pandarus is no friend at all. Diomede's courtship of Criseyde progresses quickly through friendship to love, causing the reader to recognize Fortune's power over love. Chaucer's use of friendship makes Troilus and Criseyde both romance and antiromance, and questions noble courtly values.
Green, Richard Firth. "Troilus and the Game of Love." 13 (1979): 201-20.
In the Middle Ages only a fine line separated flirtation from seduction. The language of friendship was based on the language of love, creating ambiguous discourses. Because only the upper classes participated, such dialogue indicated the difference between social classes. The idea that a lover could die for love became part of social interraction. Like love-talk, the hyperbolic emotion accompanying love was an aristocratic phenomenon. Only personal integrity kept the ambiguities of the game in check. Writers could use the blurred distinction between friendship and amorous love to create irony as Chaucer does in Troilus and Criseyde which must be considered in this context. Pandarus demonstrates love talk when he mentions his mistress and speaks to Criseyde, but he is only playing the game as an aristocrat. Diomede makes his suit most forceful through his capacity for love talk, and it is to this ability that Criseyde capitulates. Troilus is out of place because he loves purely in a way courtly love does not comprehend, and he regards the standards of courtly love behavior as banalities. His love makes him inarticulate. In the end, Troilus laughs because he has learned that love is part of a fallen world in which he no longer participates.
Lenaghan, R. T. "Chaucer's Envoy to Scogan: The Social Uses of Literary Conventions." 10 (1975): 46-61.
The logical connection between the two parts of the Envoy to Scogan is not clear, but it does suggest a particular historical time in which to examine Chaucer's talent. Given the date of Scogan's service in the royal household, the poem can be dated in the 1390's. Like other poems of this period, the Envoy to Scogan contains a personal statement of a love which produced obligation. Like Deschamps, Chaucer indicates a sense of friendship for his companions, and like Machaut, he is self-deprecatory. The Envoy to Scogan uses a common theme to evoke activity from Scogan, in part by reminding him that he and Chaucer are equals. The suggestion of friendship, however, prevents such an idea from disrupting the social order.
Scattergood, V. J. "The Originality of the Shipman's Tale." 11 (1977): 210-31.
The Shipman's Tale clarifies Chaucer's definition of a bourgeois attitude towards money. Chaucer describes the merchant's household as prosperous, but unlike the merchants in the analogues, Chaucer's merchant is unnamed. Comparison between the monk's poor professional behavior and the merchant's excellent professional behavior emphasizes the merchant's honorability. The merchant also honors the friendship between himself and Don John, though Don John rejects the merchant once he gains the merchant's wife. The merchant's open behavior regarding his debt contrasts with the wife's and Don John's secretive deals to repay what they owe. The Shipman's Tale portrays merchants in a favorable light, though the merchant in the tale may be too concerned about earthly, as opposed to heavenly, things. The merchant also speaks plainly, while the wife and Don John speak ambiguously. Both the wife and Don John extricate themselves from potentially destructive situations by pretending that the merchant also speaks ambiguously. The literal quality makes the merchant vulnerable, but it also protects him from knowledge of the adultery his wife and Don John have committed.