The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography (Vols. 1-30)Return to the Subject List
Aers, David. "Criseyde: Woman in Medieval Society." 13 (1979): 177-200.
Troilus and Criseyde examines the disparity between social reality and the courtly love tradition, especially for women. As a widow, Criseyde lacks a protective male figure, so she uses her sexuality (as best she can) to survive in a male-dominated society. Criseyde's response to Pandarus's reports of Troilus's love shows her awareness of her powerless social position. When she shifts to discussing love, Criseyde examines the inequality between her impotent social position outside of love and her powerful position with in the courtly love tradition. Criseyde's dream about the eagle reveals her well-grounded social and psychological fears. Pandarus uses Criseyde's subordinate social position to manipulate her into sleeping with Troilus. Emphasizing her powerlessness, Chaucer depicts Criseyde's relationship to Troilus in terms of hunter (male) and hunted (female). Later, she is equated with Antenor, a move by which Chaucer suggests that women are no better than prisoners. Troilus and Criseyde's love collapses because of the social status of women. Criseyde's refusal to elope with Troilus indicates her submission to antifeminist social norms. When Criseyde becomes Diomede's lover, her seeming betrayal of Troilus reveals her to be entirely socialized in a society which forces and condemns her betrayal. Finally, Troilus responds to Criseyde with compassion, while Pandarus's response to her demonstrates social convention.
Archibald, Elizabeth. "Declarations of 'Entente' in Troilus and Criseyde." 25 (1991): 190-213.
Troilus and Criseyde is more than a psychological drama; it is a "drama of intentions" (190) examined from the angles of good intentions, bad intentions, and mistaken intentions. Recognition of how intentions differ from what happens or how intentions oppose what characters say allows readers to recognize ironies. Throughout the poem, "entente" is linked to truth, sexuality, and departure, among a variety of other meanings and connotations. Often these associations are created by rhyme patterns. Chaucer can thereby draw attention to the difficulty of following through one's intentions and suggest to the reader the complexities of the human psyche. Of course, Chaucer's intentions are most difficult to discern.
Arn, Mary-Jo. "Three Ovidian Women in Chaucer's Troilus: Medea, Helen, Oënone." 15 (1980): 1-10.
Chaucer uses Ovid's Medea as an ironic figure shadowing Criseyde. From Ovid's Helen, Chaucer borrows Criseyde's response to Troilus's first proposal and to his offer to elope. Chaucer's Criseyde also uses correspondence taken from Oënone, but this borrowing does not have the same effect as the material from Medea and Helen.
Astell, Ann W. "Orpheus, Eurydice, and the 'Double Sorwe' of Chaucer's Troilus." 23 (1989): 283-99.
The phrase "double sorwe" (I.1) is a key to understanding Troilus and Criseyde. The poem is split into two parts and parallels the story of Orpheus and Eurydice, though Boethian philosophy undergirds the poem. As in the treatment of the Orpheus and Eurydice story by Bernardus, Troilus's love for Criseyde is connected to a desire to know God, which Troilus reveals in the "Canticus Troili." Troilus must, however, continually struggle with the problem of loving in a fallen world. This conflict appears most clearly in the despair that both Troilus and Criseyde experience once Criseyde is chosen to be traded for Antenor. In the end readers recognize the "tension between philosophy and poetry, moralitee and myth" (296). Troilus's love for Criseyde transforms him, finally leading him to seek the divine.
Bailey, Susan E. "Controlled Partial Confusion: Concentrated Imagery in Troilus and Criseyde." 20 (1985): 83-89.
Troilus and Criseyde reveals several image clusters such as "sterre" and "steere," "fall" and "faille," and "sonne," "sone," and "fader." These groups add depth to a number of passages and suggest greater varieties of meaning for the work as a whole.
Barney, Stephen A. "Suddenness and Process in Chaucer." 16 (1981): 18-37.
Chaucer uses sudden action to emphasize both good and bad events. Troilus and Criseyde has the most occurrences of sudden appearances and events of all of Chaucer's works, though the Wife of Bath's, Knight's, Miller's, and Squire's Tales also use this technique. Chaucer uses suddenness of emotions when depicting courtly manners and quick judgments for moral questions (26). By tracing suddenness through Troilus and Criseyde, readers realize that Chaucer makes "humorous, ridiculous, or contemptible" what is sudden (30). Chaucer also focuses significantly on process, the process of time as opposed to Fortune, the process of time as a consolation, and the process of penitence. Though Troilus falls in love suddenly, he continues to love Criseyde by process, thereby expressing patience.
Benson, C. David, and Barry A. Windeatt. "The Manuscript Glosses to Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde." 25 (1990): 33-53.
Because of printing and binding conditions, many of the glosses on Troilus and Criseyde are not printed. In order to rectify the situation, all the glosses from all the manuscripts are reproduced here and connected to the text by line numbers.
Benson, C. David. "'O nyce world': What Chaucer Really Found in Guido Delle Colonne's History of Troy." 13 (1979): 308-15.
Chaucer borrows the narrative stance for Troilus and Criseyde from Guido's Historia destructionis Troiae. Following Guido, Chaucer makes the narrator a cynical historian.
Berry, Craig A. "The King's Business: Negotiating Chivalry in Troilus and Criseyde." 26 (1992): 236-65.
Chaucer's poetic negotiation of the chivalric code appears most prominently in Troilus and Criseyde. Reading Troilus and Criseyde against the backdrop of contemporary events suggests a number of parallels, such as that between England and Troy. This kind of reading also suggests the kinds of social and court views Chaucer would have supported, such as the one which suggested that a knight successful in the bedroom might experience defeat on the battlefield. The tensions Chaucer engages, however, express the dichotomy of the chivalric code and its relationship to knighthood and the behavior of both men and women. The use of fear to manipulate the reactions of women particularly addresses an incident in Andreas Capellanus's Art of Courtly Love, and records of real instances in which knights rescued "ladies in distress" can be found in the fourteenth century.
Berryman, Charles. "The Ironic Design of Fortune in Troilus and Criseyde." 2 (1967): 1-7.
At the beginning of Troilus and Criseyde, the characters believe that Fortune is fickle, but they behave as if they can defeat Fortune by "trouthe." Finally, however, they experience Fortune's capriciousness and realize that the world is mutable and that no one is free from Fortune's wheel.
Besserman, Lawrence. "A Note on the Sources of Chaucer's Troilus V, 540-613." 24 (1990): 306-08.
Troilus's address to Criseyde's "paleys desolat" (v 540-53) in Troilus and Criseyde borrows from a passage in the Filostrato which borrows from Lamentations 1:1 and Ovid's Remedia amoris.
Bestul, Thomas H. "Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde: The Passionate Epic and Its Narrator." 14 (1980): 366-78.
In Troilus and Criseyde Chaucer creates a narrator whose story saddens him and who is concerned to express emotion in his own narrative. In Books II and III, the narrator's intrusions into the story become vehicles to express emotions the characters must feel and to keep the narrator in the readers' minds. The narrator's emotional involvement continues; it deepens as the work progresses, and in Book V, the narrator introduces the inexpressibility topos. Though he is saddened, the narrator distances himself from the action of the story, thereby demonstrating a Christian response that the audience should emulate.
Blyth, Charles. "Virgilian Tragedy and Troilus." 24 (1990): 211-18.
Troilus and Criseyde may be defined as a Virgilian tragedy placed between recorded history and the emotional response such a tragedy evokes. Gavin Douglas's translation of the Aeneid demonstrates his recognition of this position in that he alludes both to Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde and to Henryson's Testament of Cresseid in his wording and by his use of rhyme royal. Virgil refers to tragedies in both the books about the fall of Troy and tragedy of Dido. To view these passages as tragic, however, readers must view them in retrospect.
Boswell, Jackson Campbell, and Sylvia Wallace Holton. "References to Troilus, Criseyde, and Pandarus." 29 (1994): 93-109.
As a result of updating Caroline Spurgeon's 500 Years of Chaucer Criticism and Allusions for the Short-Title Catalogue, Boswell and Holton found a number of previously unnoticed references to the primary characters in Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde. The list presented in this article refers only to those items not previously mentioned.
Bradbury, Nancy Mason. "Gentrification and the Troilus." 28 (1994): 305-29.
In Troilus and Criseyde readers see the movement of popular, folkloric material from the lower classes to the upper classes. Scrutiny of stanzas throughout the work reveals the influence of English on the courtly idiom of French, and tension between high and low elements is constant throughout the poem. To accomplish the shift in register between learned language of the upper class and popular language, Chaucer often uses proverbs which were readily accessible to any class. Chaucer also alludes to several popular stories.
Brosnahan, Leger. "'And don thyn hood' and Other Hoods in Chaucer." 21 (1986): 45-52.
Given the use of hoods in Chaucer's other works, readers can assume that the hood Pandarus refers to in Troilus and Criseyde, II, 954, is a piece of clothing, probably cloth, not a piece of armor. In light of this definition, critics may infer that Pandarus is telling Troilus to stop begging.
Burlin, Robert B. "Middle English Romance: The Structure of Genre." 30 (1995): 1-14.
Middle English romances did not exist solely for entertainment. Included with the delightful elements of the romance were social, spiritual, and class concerns. The paradigmatic axis of the romance is the chivalric and courtly codes, apparent in works like Havelok the Dane, the Alliterative Morte Arthure, Marie de France's Lanval, and Malory's Morte d'Arthur. Chaucer also makes use of this code in the Knight's Tale and in Troilus and Criseyde. On the syntagmatic axis are the quest and the test. The Knight's Tale, Malory's Morte, and Sir Orpheo use the chivalric and courtly codes together to create narrative tension. In Sir Orpheo, Troilus and Criseyde, and the Roman de la Rose, however, any attempt to put the narrative on the syntagmatic axis fails because such tales only work in the context of idleness. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight shows a different interpenetration of the two axes in that Gawain is both a courtly lover and a questing knight, but he can handle only one code at a time.
Børch, Marianne. "Poet and Persona: Writing the Reader in Troilus." 30 (1996): 215-28.
In Troilus and Criseyde the narrative voice disappears and reappears throughout the text. But regardless of the different situations throughout the poem, readers experience a single voice and presence that Chaucer establishes by building in a number of carefully selected details. Chaucer places this narrator in a position between the text and the reader so that it is "impossible for the mode of reception to become other than essentially moral" (222). Furthermore, as he does in Troilus and Criseyde Chaucer experiments with the position of author and narrator in the Canterbury Tales, particularly the Clerk's Tale,.
Camargo, Martin. "The Consolation of Pandarus." 25 (1991): 214-28.
Chaucer alters the character of Pandarus in Troilus and Criseyde to reflect the character of Philosophy in Boethius's Consolation of Philosophy. Chaucer also borrows Petrarch's sonnet "S'amor non è" for Troilus to sing instead of the song Boccaccio uses in Filostrato. This sonnet has clear Boethian overtones. Chaucer also changes Troilus's character to reflect Boethius's character in the Consolation more closely. This change is particularly visible in Troilus's response to Fortune. Chaucer's modification of Pandarus allows him to create irony by undercutting the readers' expectations.
Campbell, Jennifer. "Figuring Criseyde's 'Entente': Authority, Narrative, and Chaucer's Use of History." 27 (1993): 342-58.
Book IV of Troilus and Criseyde changes the audience's perception of Criseyde by introducing history into the narrative. Though the narrator does his best to present Criseyde's point of view, he occasionally reminds his audience that their knowledge of her is not complete. Any attempt to complete this portrait risks intruding on the tension between identification with and separation from a character, and thus, the authority of the narrator is closely connected to his presentation of Criseyde. The narrator often interrupts his narrative and includes disclaimers in an attempt to control his discourse. Book IV breaks into the narrative by forcing the audience to recognize the dangers an enigmatic woman poses to her historical framework. The destiny of Criseyde and Troilus's relationship is determined by history in part because Criseyde mistakenly believes that she can act to alter what will happen. Finally, readers realize that the only way for the narrator to control the narrative is to sever the relationship between a woman and language.
Cherniss, Michael D. "Chaucer's Last Dream Vision: The Prologue to the Legend of Good Women." 20 (1986): 183-99.
The Prologue to Legend of Good Women is itself a dream vision. The narrator meets Cupid and Alceste, who epitomize the faithful woman as opposed to the faithless women of Troilus and Criseyde and Roman de la Rose. The recognition of Alceste returns to the narrator's earlier worship of the daisy. When the narrator awakes, he is able to write about "good" women and faithless men in accordance with Cupid's command to him, and he moves forward to write a different kind of poetry.
Christmas, Peter. "Troilus and Criseyde: The Problems of Love and Necessity." 9 (1975): 285-96.
In Troilus and Criseyde, Chaucer examines a number of problems resulting from a conflict between love and the characters' perceptions of it and the reality of living in a changing world. In a realistic depiction of his characters, Chaucer shows that treachery and sincerity can be closely connected. Chaucer treats Pandarus traditionally as a hypocrite and voyeur, but allows Pandarus to behave virtuously in some instances. In addition, in the relationship between Troilus and Criseyde, Chaucer creates complex characters in whom vice and virtue coexist. Through Troilus, Chaucer tests courtly love, attempting to link it to religion instead of presenting it as an adversary to religious beliefs. Troilus's silliness as a lover balances his serious appearance in the palinode. Criseyde is attracted to Troilus because her world lacks a male authority figure, but when she betrays him, she behaves in a cowardly manner. Troilus and Criseyde exist in a relativistic world and demonstrate that love is as much a part of the world as religion and morality. As a lover, Troilus pines for Criseyde both before he has her and after she is gone. In so doing, he demonstrates the reality of being human--life in the flux. Furthermore, like the first part of the poem, the palinode examines the question of free will and determinism.
Clark, S. L., and Julian N. Wasserman. "The Heart in Troilus and Criseyde: The Eye of the Breast, the Mirror of the Mind, the Jewel in Its Setting." 18 (1984): 316-28.
Chaucer's treatment of a character's heart gives him room to comment on that character. In Troilus and Criseyde, Pandarus seems to have no heart at all. Diomede seems to equate the heart with the mind or, when wooing Criseyde, with tokens and not true love. Troilus treats his heart differently from the way Criseyde treats hers, and this difference reveals two separate views of love.
Conlee, John W. "The Meaning of Troilus' Ascension to the Eighth Sphere." 7 (1972): 27-36.
The stanzas which describe Troilus in the spheres are connected to the classical and medieval motif of a celestial journey. Chaucer integrates Greek, Roman, and Christian ideas of immortality into Troilus and Criseyde by varied use of the number eight and its numerological connotations in medieval thought. Troilus ascends to the eighth sphere, and the number eight indicates "completion of a cycle . . . purification; and immortality, eternity, and eternal salvation" (34). Thus Chaucer can, by introducing numerology, prepare the way for the section on Christian love that ends the poem.
Cook, Daniel. "The Revision of Chaucer's Troilus: The Beta Text." 9 (1974): 51-62.
Of the three available texts of Troilus and Criseyde, scholars have always accepted the gamma text as the most accurate version. This decision, however, is open to debate. The readings given by the beta text differ significantly from both the alpha and gamma versions, and since most changes improve the quality of the text by adding detail, they cannot be considered merely scribal. Thus, the beta text must be accepted as the most authoritative.
Cotton, Michael E. "The Artistic Integrity of Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde." 7 (1972): 37-43.
Chaucer associates Criseyde with the moon, thus indicating Criseyde's changeableness. The other planets also function as foreshadowing elements, moving human actions to a different, sometimes ironic, place where Chaucer can connect these events to universal patterns. This link allows Chaucer to make divine and hellish allusions. The imagery of planets and pagan gods develops the theme of Fortuna and instability.
Covella, Sister Frances Dolores. "Audience as Determinant of Meaning in the Troilus." 2 (1968): 235-45.
An author's tone and attitude significantly affect what the author says; in Troilus and Criseyde, Chaucer's tone and attitude toward his audience create a number of verbal ironies. Chaucer's narrator makes every effort to defend Criseyde's actions, and when they become indefensible, he begins to distance himself from her behavior, constantly referring to his sources. In the epilogue, the change in tone can be attributed to Chaucer's perceived change in audience from a listening group of ladies and gentlemen conversant with the code of courtly love to a reading audience which might not have such familiarity with that code. The irony in Troilus and Criseyde seems to grow out of the relationship between Chaucer and his audience, creating more humor than corrective satire.
Dahlberg, Charles. "The Narrator's Frame for Troilus." 15 (1980): 85-100.
Reading with an eye for dissimilarity may illuminate the first sentence of Troilus and Criseyde. Chaucer alters the classical form of the opening sentence to reflect more clearly the minstrel tradition. The invocation to the Muse shows the principle of contrast as does the end, which carefully alternates between Chaucer's and Boccaccio's ideas. The style follows an equally contrasting pattern, alternating between high and low styles.
Davis, Adam Brooke. "The Ends of Fiction: Narrative Boundaries and Chaucer's Attitude toward Courtly Love." 28 (1993): 54-66.
Troilus and Criseyde is about the limits of convention and the way the cult of courtly love engages the problems of lovers. Furthermore, the love conventions restrict the role of women. Criseyde bargains her way out of these restrictions, finding Troilus a safe lover when he is separate from Pandarus.
Dean, Christopher. "Chaucer's Play on the Word Beere in Troilus and Criseyde." 15 (1981): 224-26.
The meanings "bier" and "pillow" work well in Pandarus's line when he brings Troilus his "beere."
Delasanta, Rodney. "Chaucer and Strode." 26 (1991): 205-18.
The Ralph Strode to whom Chaucer refers in the closing dedication of Troilus and Criseyde was probably the same as the philsopher Strode from Oxford, as evidence of a lawyer Strode in London after 1373 indicates.
Doob, Penelope B. R. "Chaucer's 'Corones tweyne' and the Lapidaries. 7 (1972): 85-96.
"Corones" is a different spelling of "ceraunius," a semi-precious stone also named thunderstone. "Tweyne" refers to the two common colors, red and blue, good colors for a lady's eyes and lips. The reference to "corones tweyne" in Troilus and Criseyde suggests that the stones' power will kill Troilus and that Criseyde is to use the stones' power for healing. Though by scorning Troilus Criseyde shows pride, generally punished by a thunderbolt, Criseyde can use her beauty to save Troilus and not draw her punishment. In addition, the colors of the ceraunius fit with references to other gems in the poem.
Durham, Lonnie J. "Love and Death in Troilus and Criseyde." 3 (1968): 1-11.
Troilus and Criseyde clearly praises love, but makes some suggestions about how love works. From the beginning, Chaucer associates Criseyde with the seasons, with nature. Troilus, however, he associates with death. Pandarus's comments to Troilus as Pandarus arranges for Troilus and Criseyde to meet establish a bed-equals-death metaphor. When the unconscious Troilus is thrown into Criseyde's bed and then comes to in "heaven," the metaphor becomes one of "death" and "resurrection." As Criseyde leaves Troy, she becomes an image of earthly love, associated with April showers and seasonal changes. Troilus is more idealistic; he cannot act in the more practical realm. Death becomes the gateway to love, both earthly (when he faints) and heavenly (when he physically dies).
Dwyer, Richard A. "The Appreciation of Handmade Literature." 8 (1974): 221-40.
In creating physical texts, medieval scribes believed themselves capable of filling in textual gaps. Scholars must, therefore, be aware of the scribes' participation as manuscripts were remade. Medieval writers were not concerned with the "final" version of a text, since revisions were made later by scribes. In Piers Plowman, the different versions show scribes who, enthusiastic about older forms, attempted to align Langland's text with those forms and so "fix" the manuscript. Scribal "fine-tuning" to make significant changes in the manuscript is also a problem for those studying the Canterbury Tales and Troilus and Criseyde. The changes made to "Luf es Lyf" by Rolle show how selecting verses from different poems and putting them together can allow the scribe to create his own work. The resulting inconsistencies seem even more the product of a person who is madly in love. Examination of Boethius's Consolation of Philosophy demonstrates how scribes popularized it by lifting sections from model versions and attaching them to newer transcriptions. For example, Jean de Meun's proheme appears in several manuscripts as does William of Conches commentary. Mixed prose versions eventually led to verse translations. Renaud de Louhans questionings of Boethius's rigorous stand eventually led Renaud to replace Fortune with Death, thus making the tale more accessible to those not of aristocratic background.
Dyck, E. F. "Ethos, Pathos, and Logos in Troilus and Criseyde." 20 (1986): 169-82.
The Middle Ages saw poetry as persuasive and writers looked toward earlier models to support their ideas. Geoffrey de Vinsauf's Poetria nova instructed writers on style. Augustine's De doctrina christiana suggested that poetry should persuade its audience to a greater awareness of Christian truths. Both these writers derive their ideas from the Aristotelian tradition in which a writer uses three modes to persuade, ethos (character), pathos (emotion), and logos (reason). The narrator of Troilus and Criseyde opens by appealing to ethos in order to impress readers that he is a poet. Once he undermines his status as a poet by consistently referring to Lollius instead of Boccaccio, he becomes more human, but loses ethos in his writing. At the end of the poem, he returns to ethos. Chaucer adds the appeal to pathos to what he found in Boccaccio, and although that pathos does not come directly from the narrator, it affects the audience nonetheless. The narrator's appeal to logos seems to fail, but if readers examine the poem in terms of Chaucer's appeal to logos, it is more successful.
Ellis, Steve. "Chaucer, Dante, and Damnation." 22 (1988): 282-94.
The relationship between eagle and pilgrim in Book II of the House of Fame satirizes the relationship between Dante and Virgil as it appears in the Inferno. Chaucer's view of Virgil, Aneas, and fame derives from the Convivio. In the House of Fame, the Legend of Good Women, and Troilus and Criseyde, Chaucer seems to question the end result of fame derived from literature: does it result in spiritual damnation or glorification?
Farnham, Anthony E. "Chaucerian Irony and the Ending of Troilus." 1 (1967): 207-16.
The ending of Troilus and Criseyde is ironic. The question at the end of the poem seems from one viewpoint to be a rhetorical question with a clear answer, and from another viewpoint to be a rebellion against such an answer. The debate seems to be between "celestial love" and "feyned love." Troilus and Criseyde participate in a false love because their love must be conducted by deceiving others. Eventually, this falsehood destroys the love it was designed to protect, and readers realize that such love falls far short of the ideal. Ironically, however, all human love falls short of divine ("celestial") love and so is false ("feyned").
Ferris, Sumner. "Venus and the Virgin: The Proem to Book III of Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde as a Model for the Prologue to the Prioress's Tale." 27 (1993): 252-59.
In the Prioress's Prologue Chaucer refers to the Proem to Book III in Troilus and Criseyde. Though the similarities are not great, both passages use the same five topics in a corresponding manner.
Fish, Varda. "The Origin and Original Object of Troilus and Criseyde." 18 (1984): 304-15.
Because Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde is not a personal experience for the narrator in the way that Boccaccio's Filostrato is, Chaucer's story is more about writing poetry than Boccaccio's story which is more about love. The use of Boethian imagery emphasizes the ironical nature of the narrator's position. Chaucer suggests that poetry has all the seductive power of Boccaccio's lady. In the end, Chaucer's narrator turns away from the philosophy of love and of poetry expressed by Boccaccio.
Fleming, John V. "Deiphoebus Betrayed: Virgilian Decorum, Chaucerian Feminism." 21 (1986): 182-99.
To experience fully the effect of Troilus and Criseyde, readers must recognize within it the translations of many different works. Chaucer's alterations of the sexual consummation scene from the Filostrato draw particular attention. In describing Criseyde, the narrator does not express feminist views, but is against anti-feminism. The incident in Deiphoebus's house has striking similarities to the Biblical story of Amnon and Tamar, thus giving overtones of incest to this incident. Chaucer uses Deiphoebus to portray treacherous women, but his anti-anti-feminism forces him to undercut that image. Pandarus deceives Deiphoebus in the name of brotherly love in order to trick Criseyde. Chaucer uses a number of details to connect Pandarus's betrayal of Deiphoebus to Criseyde's betrayal by Troilus.
Fyler, John M. "Love and Degree in the Franklin's Tale." 21 (1987): 321-37.
When the Franklin describes Arveragus and Dorigen's marriage, he says, "the name of soveraynetee,/ That wolde he [Arveragus] have for shame of his degree" (751-52). Properly understood, this statement suggests that Arveragus wants the "name" of sovereignty in order to offset his low social position. The name of sovereignty is a common romance motif in which the knight unknown can barely present his suit because of the difference in social station between himself and his lady. Paradoxically, once the lovers are married the male gains sovereignty. Chaucer treats the paradox of courtly love in other works including Troilus and Criseyde, the Parliament of Fowls, the Legend of Ariadne from the Legend of Good Women, and the Knight's Tale. Though the Franklin would like to believe that members of all classes can attain gentillesse, his tale suggests that ultimately gentillesse is the province of the upper classes. For its focus on these issues, the Franklin's Tale seems to respond to the Clerk's Tale most immediately.
Gallacher, Patrick J. "Chaucer and the Rhetoric of the Body." 28 (1994): 216-36.
Chaucer makes a number of different references to the body, treating the body in a number of different ways. Given different conditions, for example sickness and health, the body can be a stumbling block or a thing of beauty. Dante plays on this dichotomy in the Commedia. In medieval works, the treatment of the body is split between that of subject and object. In the Knight's Tale, Chaucer's treatment of Arcite's body results in irony and comedy. In Troilus and Criseyde the body becomes "a locus of acting and being acted upon" (221). Troilus's denial of involvement in any of Pandarus's plots makes him morally and physically inactive. Further examination of the relationship between Troilus and Criseyde reveals an imbalance of activity and passivity which ultimately contributes to a "pattern of merit and grace" (225). Griselda uses the description of her nakedness to draw attention to Walter's abuses of marriage in the Clerk's Tale. Both the Prioress's Tale and the Reeve's Tale examine the body in terms of stasis and movement. The treatment of the body as subject and object also appears in the Second Nun's Tale. Some characters and tales deride the human body, for example the Pardoner and the Manciple,. This attitude also appears in the Summoner's Tale.
Gallagher, Joseph E. "Theology and Intention in Chaucer's Troilus." 7 (1972): 44-66.
Because of his profession of Christianity, Chaucer must denounce the power of love as sinful. In medieval thought, sin was a conscious choice to act against the information provided by reason; thus, Chaucer sins by composing Troilus and Criseyde, since it indicates a desire for things of the world. In the Retraction, Chaucer finally chooses the highest good, rejecting Troilus for its choice of worldly as opposed to divine love. The Second Nun's Tale demonstrates Chaucer's perception that sin willfully seeks temporal things. In the tale, Cecilia can convert an audience who chooses the unchangeable God because that audience follows Reason. Almachius treats Cecilia poorly because he chooses evil. It is not a sin for a writer to demonstrate that something is temporal, even if the writer does not make moral criticism. Since the introductory summary of Troilus and Criseyde indicates that kind of moral orientation, Chaucer probably did not intend to end by stating that writing Troilus and Criseyde was sinful. Clearly, Troilus and Criseyde do not have a virtuous love. In the Prohemium to Book III, Chaucer first shows signs that he wishes to blur the distinction between Christian love and his sympathetic presentation of the love between Troilus and Criseyde. The frequency with which this blurring occurs indicates that Chaucer intended it. Chaucer gives Troilus vaguely Christian words in his hymn, thus deepening the disguise for Chaucer's sympathy with temporal love. Though in the hymn Troilus seems to recognize love as a unifying force, nothing in the language suggests that this perception of love is any better than Troilus's former idea of love. As Troilus and Criseyde continues, more references to Fortune occur, but never with a mention of sin. Through loving Criseyde, Troilus gains greater philosophical, but not moral, understanding. This understanding allows him to continue loving Criseyde, thus demonstrating Chaucer's ability to elude the strictness of medieval Christianity.
Garbáty, Thomas J. "Pamphilus, de Amore: An Introduction and Translation." 2 (1967): 108-34.
Pamphilus greatly affected the primary writers of the Middle Ages including Boccaccio, Chaucer, and Gower. The reader can see its influence in Troilus and Criseyde and the Roman de la Rose. The translation shows the importance to Chaucer studies of this neglected work.
Garbáty, Thomas J. "Troilus V, 1786-92 and V, 1807-27: An Example of Poetic Process." 11 (1977): 299-305.
When Chaucer asks that his book "subgit be to alle poesye" (300), he looks for poetic inspiration from Virgil, Ovid, Homer, Lucan, and Statius, not Boccaccio. Chaucer creates a comedic end for Troilus and Criseyde by having Troilus ascend to the eighth sphere and laugh in heavenly joy.
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.
Goodall, Peter. "Being Alone in Chaucer." 27 (1992): 1-15.
In medieval writing, solitude often results from a lover's desire to be alone in order to complain. Chaucer creates such situations in the Romaunt of the Rose, Troilus and Criseyde, the Knight's Tale, and the Man of Law's Tale. Those moments of aloneness that do not result from love often have melancholy overtones, perhaps because many people in the Middle Ages viewed the desire to be alone as abnormal and associated with secrecy, most likely for the purpose of doing something one should not, often sexually. Culturally, a bedroom did not belong to one person, but to an entire family. Nicholas in the Miller's Tale goes against a number of conventions related to private rooms and university life, though scholars sought private studies before private bedrooms. Nicholas's desire for privacy leads to a number of puns in the Miller's Tale. In Troilus and Criseyde Chaucer gives Criseyde private space to think and to write letters, thereby associating the solitude of the lover and the scholar in a unique way.
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.
Guthrie, Steven R. "Prosody and the Study of Chaucer: A Generative Reply to Halle-Keyser." 23 (1988): 30-49.
Chaucer wrote Troilus and Criseyde and other poems in a Romance iambic pentameter with strong French overtones, as opposed to Shakespeare who wrote in a Renaissance iambic pentameter. Chaucer's rhythms depend on his ability to put weak stresses where strong stresses should be and vice versa. Careful comparision of Chaucer to Shakespeare reveals that the two writers use significantly different variations of iambic pentameter. Examination of Machaut's lines reveals, however, a number of similarities to Chaucer.
Hanson, Thomas B. "The Center of Troilus and Criseyde." 9 (1975): 297-302.
By removing the poems between the books, readers realize that the changes made to Book III of Troilus and Criseyde shift the numerical center of the poem so that it falls exactly at the consummation of Troilus and Criseyde's love. This shift of centers is also related to Chaucer's treatment of the Wheel of Fortune and the flight of stairs.
Hardman, Phillipa. "Chaucer's Articulation of the Narrative in Troilus: The Manuscript Evidence." 30 (1995): 111-33.
The discovery of an autograph copy of the Filostrato indicates that the narrative glosses, previously though to be scribal, are actually authorial. The presence of such glosses in Troilus and Criseyde suggests that perhaps some of the glosses previously considered scribal might be authorial. Comparison of Chaucer manuscripts with those of Boccaccio reveals a number of differences and some surprising similarities. Examination of all the Chaucer manuscripts of Troilus and Criseyde shows that while there is some evidence of scribal error and variation, a number of the narrative divisions, illuminated capitals, and textual glosses appear in the same place in many manuscripts. Such similarity between so many manuscripts suggests that Chaucer may have followed Boccaccio's practice of inserting glosses and narrative breaks in the manuscript.
Hart, Thomas Elwood. "Medieval Structuralism: 'Dulcarnoun' and the Five-Book Design of Chaucer's Troilus." 16 (1981): 129-70.
Chaucer carefully laid out the structure of Troilus and Criseyde, and examination of the division of Troilus and Criseyde into five books shows that the divisions themselves add to the work. Readers can assume that Chaucer intended to construct his poem carefully since he borrows from Vinsauf's Poetria nova, which advocates constructing poems architecturally. Chaucer alludes to the highest principle of medieval mathematics when he has Pandarus use "dulcarnoun" (3782), Pythagoras's theorem. The five-book structure may be viewed geometrically as representing two right triangles. The reference to "dulcarnoun" falls in the middle of the shared hypotenuse of the triangles. The number of lines is also proportioned in such a way that they form a regular pentagon. The text may also be examined in terms of "circular proportionality" (145). Chaucer's mention of "nombres proporcionables" in his translation of Boethius's Consolation of Philosophy (III, Met.ix) suggests that he was interested in numerical proportion.
Heidtmann, Peter. "Sex and Salvation in Troilus and Creseyde." 2 (1968): 246-53.
Readers' views of Troilus and Criseyde turn on how they understand love and the ambiguity inherent in that term. At the end of the poem, Troilus's soul rises to the eighth sphere, thus seeming to reach salvation of some sort, although he is pagan. Troilus's salvation results from love. This ascension is possible if readers regard all the different kinds of love as part of Love and accept that courtly love is part of Love because Love is irresistible and ennobling. Troilus experiences both these facets of love and, as a result of the ennobling force of love, he can reach a kind of heaven.
Hodges, Laura F. "Costume Rhetoric in the Knight's Portrait: Chaucer's Every-Knight and His Bismotered Gypon." 29 (1995): 274-302.
Medieval writers generally skipped over practical problems of errant knights such as battered armor and the necessities of laundry and bathing, a point Chaucer draws attention to in Troilus and Criseyde. Dirty knights were subject to ridicule throughout chivalric literature that most directly connected nobility and cleanliness. Medieval literature sets the traditional figure of the knight in shining armor in opposition to Everyman, the soiled pilgrim. Chaucer's Knight, however, represents the reality of medieval knighthood. He is neither the shiny knight of the chivalric romance nor the tattered pilgrim. Through the spotted gypon, Chaucer presents readers with a realistic picture of knighthood.
Holley, Linda Tarte. "Medieval Optics and the Framed Narrative in Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde." 21 (1986): 26-44.
Especially in framed narratives, Chaucer used structures based on medieval theories of seeing found in Robert Grosseteste, Albertus Magnus, Roger Bacon, and John Pecham. Framing devices derive from the medieval dramatic tradition which often used the church arch as a frame for dramatic action. This physical frame evolved into the use of Christian history as an invisible frame. Painters working from newly rediscovered knowledge about optics were able to create three-dimensional paintings and used framing devices. Critics then encouraged the reading of paintings, a belief that carried over into manuscript production. Troilus and Criseyde is constructed in four different frames, 1) characters who through a frame, 2) the dream-vision frame, the poem, 3) the physical, verbal, historical, and philosophical frames within the poem, and 4) a metaphorical frame. In the Nun's Priest's Tale, Chaucer parodically reverses the frame of Troilus and Criseyde.
Johnson, Lynn Staley. "'To make in som comedye': Chauntecleer, Son of Troy." 19 (1985): 225-44.
Chaucer creates irony in the Nun's Priest's Tale by referring to the account of the fall of Troy at strategic points. These references align Chanticleer with Troilus and comment on Chanticleer's foolishness. Troilus may also be examined in light of Chanticleer, and the comparison heightens readers' sense of Chanticleer as a comic figure, and of Troilus as a tragic one. Troilus and Criseyde carefully follows the pattern of Fortune, but in the Nun's Priest's Tale, Chanticleer observes his situation and acts to change what will happen. Thus, comedy results from action and, unlike tragedy, is not bound to Fortune's wheel.
Kaske, R. E. "Pandarus's 'Vertu of corones tweyne.'" 21 (1986): 226-33.
The "virtue" in Troilus and Criseyde II, 1735 is pity or mercy, often referred to in biblical exegesis as a crown, sometimes as a double crown. This reading places the love of Troilus and Criseyde between earth and heaven.
Kaylor, Noel Harold, Jr. "Boethian Resonances in Chaucer's 'Canticus Troili.'" 27 (1993): 219-27.
Because Chaucer did not have the best command of Italian when he translated Petrarch's Sonnet No. 132 from the Canzoniere, he may have perceived Boethian elements in the sonnet that are not actually present. His later alterations of the sonnet and its inclusion in the "Canticus Troili" suggest that Chaucer was attracted to the sonnet's content more than its form.
Kearney, Milo, and Mimosa Schraer. "The Flaw in Troilus." 22 (1988): 185-91.
In Troilus and Criseyde Chaucer presents Troilus as continually cowardly and unable to speak. Troilus, because of this flaw, is unable to save Criseyde from being sent from Troy as a kind of peace-offering.
Kendrick, Laura. "The Troilus Frontispiece and the Dramatization of Chaucer's Troilus." 22 (1987): 81-93.
The frontispiece of Troilus and Criseyde represents a reader, possibly Chaucer, delivering Troilus and Criseyde orally while two actors perform the text in front of a puy, a group of men created to help others, whether members of the group or not. Often these societies were dedicated to serving Christ or the Virgin Mary. Other works written for puys are highly allegorical, as are many elements of the frontispiece.
Kiernan, Kevin S. "The Art of the Descending Catalogue, and a Fresh Look at Alisoun." 10 (1975): 1-16.
As demonstrated in the works of Geoffrey of Vinsauf, appropriate description of a beautiful woman began with her head and worked downward to her feet. Writers could achieve different effects by altering the order of the catalogue or by using clothing to draw attention to various body parts. Chaucer's description of Alisoun in the Miller's Tale demonstrates this tradition as do his descriptions of Criseyde, the Wife of Bath, and the Prioress. Though Chaucer's presentation of Emily in the Knight's Tale is not a catalogue, it functions like one in that the reader examines Emily's body. Writers also use catalogues to create humor, particularly by describing someone other than a beloved lady as in Chaucer's description of Sir Thopas. The use of the catalogue to describe ugliness in The Weddynge of Sir Gawen and Dame Ragnell demonstrates the standard of beauty by opposition. When Chaucer uses the catalogue to describe Alisoun, he involves the reader in the Miller's leering.
Knapp, Peggy A. "The Nature of Nature: Criseyde's 'Slydyng corage.'" 13 (1978): 133-40.
Chaucer goes to great lengths to associate Criseyde with Nature. Pandarus, then, becomes Nature's priest. Troilus refers to Nature/Criseyde as paradise and worships her. Diomede exploits her for his personal gain. Each lover demonstrates a different response to Nature.
Koretsky, Allen C. "Chaucer's Use of the Apostrophe in Troilus and Criseyde." 4 (1970): 242-66.
Most of the apostrophes in Troilus and Criseyde do not appear in the source. The use of the apostrophe gives Chaucer the opportunity to explore the feeling of love at a philosophical level, while amplifying the poem. The apostrophes of each character not only give clear pictures of that character's feelings, but also demonstrate the significance of events in the story. Careful analysis of each character's apostrophes supports these assertions.
Lockhart, Adrienne R. "Semantic, Moral and Aesthetic Degeneration in Troilus and Criseyde." 8 (1973): 100-18.
Troilus and Criseyde is an examination of the ideal virtues--honour, worthinesse, and manhod--and how those virtues function in real life. Honor contains integrity and a good reputation. The "Book of Troilus" connects honor to generosity and respect seen in Hector and Deiphebus. The ensuing comparison of Troilus to Hector allows Chaucer to examine worthyness as a quality of the courtly lover. Whereas worthyness once implied merit earned by brave deeds, in Troilus's case it indicates self-centeredness. Only after Criseyde is gone does Troilus assert his manhood and take action, and then he only seeks death. Troilus fails in that he is unable to keep perspective on his love. Troilus and Criseyde also examines "trouthe." As Troilus painfully discovers, the line between a truthful character and an accurate presentation of reality is quite thin. Finally, readers realize that Chaucer examines an artistic problem, that of making an ideal concrete, but no matter what Chaucer does, Time and Fortune are still able to alter his work.
Maguire, John B. "The Clandestine Marriage of Troilus and Criseyde." 8 (1974): 262-78.
The medieval Church taught that the mutual consent of the couple made a valid marriage, a church ceremony was not necessary; because of abuse, however, clandestine marriages were considered undesirable and, in some communities, unlawful. While Boccaccio clearly depicts an extramarital affair between Troilus and Criseyde, Chaucer shows the lovers in a different light. Chaucer's Criseyde is a modest widow, unwilling to compromise her virtue. Troilus sings a hymn to Hymen, god of marriage, and, as in a medieval wedding ceremony, Troilus and Criseyde exchange rings and pledge their "trouthe" to one another. Furthermore, when Chaucer speaks of the tales of feminine fidelity he would rather tell, he choses tales of married women. The fact that Troilus and Criseyde are married explains why Troilus will not forget Criseyde even at Pandarus's urging and why he does not have the option of taking Criseyde away and then returning her if necessary. Finally, Chaucer never suggests that Troilus is guilty of sin.
Mann, Jill. "Troilus' Swoon." 14 (1980): 319-35.
Chaucer presents the relationship between Troilus and Criseyde in terms of power. In the beginning, Troilus has power over Criseyde as her social superior and as a man in a patriarchal society. In love, however, the woman becomes the superior, but once the lovers are in these positions, there is no way for either to initiate consummation because such an action will imply hypocrisy. The emphasis on the growth of love indicates a different structure within that of the love relationship. That structure will permit consummation without making the lovers into hypocrites. When Troilus comes to Criseyde's room believing that they are about to consummate their love, he instead meets Criseyde who is angry at him for mistrusting her. He swoons at this point in recognition of his contradictory impulses in the situation. Criseyde's request for Troilus's forgiveness shifts the power in the relationship to him, reestablishing traditional sex roles. Yet, Troilus does not force Criseyde to elope with him, thereby indicating that he accepts her love as a gift.
Manning, Stephen. "Troilus, Book V: Invention and the Poem as Process." 18 (1984): 288-302.
Troilus and Criseyde, particularly Book V, reveals a concern with the mutability of poetry and the Narrator's metamorphosis from narrator to poet. Medieval writers thought of poetry in two ways. Like Geoffrey of Vinsauf, some writers thought that creating poetry was like building a house; other writers believed, like Boethius, that Fortune had a significant part in writing. Chaucer follows the Boethian view in Troilus and Criseyde. Inventio includes mimesis and imagination, and Chaucer's narrator employs both. In the Epilogue, the narrator realizes the theme of his story and so gives himself a unified identity as narrator and poet.
McGregor, James H. "The Iconography of Chaucer in Hoccleve's De Regimine Principum and in the Troilus Frontispiece." 11 (1977): 338-50.
The picture of Chaucer in Hoccleve was created after his death and displays specific ideas of Chaucer's purpose for writing. The frontispiece for Troilus and Criseyde may have been painted during Chaucer's life, but there is no way to decide conclusively. Hoccleve presents Chaucer as a poet who has arrived at the end of poetry: he is also a philosopher. Chaucer is also a good counselor, so Hoccleve presents an abridged Melibee, but he distorts the sense so that Chaucer becomes a counselor to princes. The portrait of Chaucer Hoccleve presents, then, is designed to inspire the prince. Chaucer is also presented as the instructor to the prince in the frontispiece to Troilus and Criseyde. Both portraits present Chaucer in a nationalistic sense, suggesting that his most important role is that of presenting philosophy to the ruler, thereby encouraging peace.
Mieszkowski, Gretchen. "'Pandras' in Deschamps' Ballade for Chaucer." 9 (1975): 327-36.
If we read "pandras" as Pandarus, then we must admit to a likeness "between translators and go-betweens, readers of poems and lovers" (328). This reference is not, however, evidence that Deschamps read Chaucer. Because Deschamps seems to have regarded Troilus and Criseyde as Chaucer's translation of a French work, Le Livre de Troilus, he could refer to Chaucer's Pandarus without being able to read English. Because of Deschamps's patriotism, readers must reject the theory that Deschamps refers to French as "la langue pandras" (333). Scholars must also reject the 1386 date for the ballad since the evidence cannot support so specific a date.
Mieszkowski, Gretchen. "Chaucer's Much Loved Criseyde." 26 (1991): 109-32.
In Troilus and Criseyde, the portrait of women Chaucer presents is based on ideas of the woman as Other. Criseyde is not the strong female heroine of other medieval writings. She does not take control of her life, but submits to the will of the male authority figures around her. Critics often praise her, and Chaucer makes her very alluring, but her attractiveness "diminishe[s] her selfhood" (110). Throughout Troilus and Criseyde Chaucer alters Boccaccio's characterization of Criseyde to make her more passive. She does not speak for herself, and her attractiveness is directly correlated to her submissiveness. Even when she maks plans, they are only to submit to the will of the strongest party. She does not, however, have a sexual relationship with Pandarus; though many critics believe that their relationship is incestuous, the text does not support such an assertion.
Mieszkowski, Gretchen. "Chaucer's Pandarus and Jean Brasdefer's Houdée." 20 (1985): 40-60.
In Pamphile et Galatée, Jean Brasdefer's translation and expansion of Pamphilus, de Amore, the character Houdée fills the role of Pandarus in Troilus and Criseyde. In fact, Houdée uses a speech pattern similar to that of Pandarus, though Pamphile is the earlier work. Both Pandarus and Houdée lecture, over-use proverbs, refer frequently to authorities, make learned jokes, and speak to hear themselves talk, but they both use "vital, direct, earthy, colloquial" speech (49) founded in everyday activities. Houdée is, however, incongruous, so readers perceive her as a joke. Pandarus achieves the status of highly evolved character, in part because the conflicts and contrasts in his character are not so extreme. Scholars cannot positively state that Pamphile et Galatée is Chaucer's source for Pandarus, but the similarities are suggestive.
Mieszkowski, Gretchen. "R. K. Gordon and the Troilus and Criseyde Story." 15 (1980): 127-37.
R. K. Gordon's collection of translations and criticism regarding Troilus and Criseyde leaves out significant parts of the Roman de Troie reprinted and discussed here.
Moore, Bruce. "'Allone, withouten any compaignye'--The Mayings in Chaucer's Knight's Tale." 25 (1991): 285-301.
The narrator of the Knight's Tale does not present the marriage of Palamon and Emily as either an ideologically or a politically neutral occasion. The marriage is, like Arcite's funeral, a way to impose order on chaotic human experience. Emily and Arcite also go maying, a traditional popular, as opposed to literary, ritual. Such rituals maintained a sense of community and reminded participants of the community's moral standards. As evident in the Legend of Good Women, a cult of leaf and flower became the courtly version of the maying tradition. The Legend of Good Women, the Gest Hystoriale of the Destruction of Troy, Troilus and Criseyde, the Orologium sapientiae, the Court of Love, and Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry also show the sense of community created by May celebrations. In the Knight's Tale, however, maying occurs without community. Arcite and Palamon give way to animal behaviors as a result of Arcite's maying. Emily is a victim of the courtly love tradition, and her moments alone in the garden emphasize her desires, contrasting them with her position as prisoner.
Olson, Donald W., and Edgar S. Laird. "A Note on Planetary Tables and a Planetary Conjunction in Troilus and Criseyde." 24 (1990): 309-11.
The conjuction Criseyde describes in Book III of Troilus and Criseyde matches exactly an actual conjunction that occured between May and June, 1385, as study of the Alfonsine Tables shows.
Ross, Thomas W. "Troilus and Criseyde, II. 582-87: A Note." 5 (1970): 137-39.
By translating Boccaccio's word intero as hool (line 587), Chaucer creates a bawdy pun which sheds aditional light on the characters of Criseyde and Pandarus.
Ruggiers, Paul G. "Platonic Forms in Chaucer." 17 (1983): 366-82.
Chaucer builds his poetry around four different topics, "1) eating and drinking; 2) sexuality and love; 3) play and seriousness; and 4) the making of art" (367). Drinking has religious overtones of suffering, and the drinking image appears in the Reeve's, Pardoner's, Man of Law's, and Franklin's Tales as well as in Troilus and Criseyde and the House of Fame. Chaucer treats love in four different ways as seen in Troilus and Criseyde, and in the Miller's , Reeve's, and Second Nun's Tales. Furthermore the Canterbury Tales as a whole experiments with the theme of play, examining play from a number of different points of view. Chaucer also investigates what it is to create a literary work, a theme particularly present in the Tale of Sir Thopas and the Tale of Melibee.
Sadlek, Gregory M. "Love, Labor, and Sloth in Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde." 26 (1992): 350-68.
Chaucer changes Troilus from his counterpart in the Filostrato, both making Troilus a greater courtly lover and increasing his slothfulness (acedia). Chaucer so develops Troilus's acedia that Troilus becomes a complex parody of a courtly lover. Publicly, of course, Troilus is a great warrior; privately his sloth is revealed. Sloth is necessary to love, and though Troilus thinks of love as work, he does not seem to do much of it. In the beginning, Troilus boasts that he has avoided laboring. He also shows fear, forgetfulness, and sorrow. This behavior contrasts with that of Pandarus and Diomede, both of whom labor courageously. Perceiving Troilus this way makes him more responsible for the failure of his and Criseyde's love, and suggests that Chaucer wants him to share the blame for the failure of their romance.
Sadlek, Gregory M. "To Wait or to Act?: Troilus II, 954." 17 (1982): 62-64.
When Pandarus tells Troilus to "don thyn hood" (II, 954), he tells Troilus to put on armor and prepare to fight for Criseyde's love.
Salemi, Joseph S. "Playful Fortune and Chaucer's Criseyde." 15 (1981): 209-23.
Chaucer crafts the opening of Troilus and Criseyde so that the characters display the mutability of this life. This opening presents the opportunity to get Boethius's point of view. Following instances of the phrase "to pleye" throughout the work reveals that however the characters "play," the game has consequences. Chaucer associates Criseyde with freedom and Troilus with the human reaction to Fortune. Because Criseyde makes choices to which others like Troilus and Pandarus respond, Criseyde behaves like Fortune in the poem.
Schuman, Samuel. "The Circle of Nature: Patterns of Imagery in Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde." 10 (1975): 99-112.
The ring is an important symbol of Troilus and Criseyde's relationship, in part for the sexual puns it allows. Like Troy, Criseyde is besieged, and she refers to herself as encircled by walls just as Troy is surrounded. Ultimately the image of imprisonment is reversed, and Troilus ends up encircled by the walls of Troy. Though Chaucer uses a three-year time span, within that expanse of time he emphasizes the cyclical seasons and the cycle of day and night. The natural cycles highlight the natural facet of Troilus and Criseyde's love. The Wheel of Fortune is another circular element of the poem which emphasizes the other natural cycles that she controls. Chaucer also uses astrological cycles. When Troilus dies and ascends to the eighth sphere, Chaucer points out that the things of earth are not important. Readers come to realize, however, that Troilus and Criseyde is a spiral rising to God, not a circle remaining on the earth.
Smith, Macklin. "Sith and Syn in Chaucer's Troilus." 26 (1992): 266-82.
Though the forms for "since" do not generally alter readings of lines in which they occur, awareness of "syn," used less frequently than "sith" or "sithen" shifts readers' perceptions of the lines in which "syn" appears because "syn" implies some kind of moral judgment. Chaucer uses "syn" in Troilus and Criseyde more often than most writers, and comparison of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight to works like Cursor mundi and Piers Plowman and to writers like Robert Manning of Brunne and Hoccleve shows that scribes were indifferent to the form they used. Chaucer is then responsible for the increased use of "syn" in Troilus and Criseyde, suggesting that he intended to use the pun and to create ambiguity and double meanings. Chaucer uses the same pun in the "Legend of Phyllis," the Miller's and Man of Law's Tales, and the Wife of Bath's Prologue and tale. In Troilus and Criseyde, however, this pun is more frequent, and Chaucer employs it to create double reality and Christian irony.
Specht, Henrik. "'Ethopoeia' or Impersonation: A Neglected Species of Medieval Characterization." 21 (1986): 1-15.
By understanding ethopoeia or adlocutio, scholars gain greater comprehension of character portrayal in medieval literature. Generally, ethopoeia suspends the narrative in order that protagonists might reveal their thoughts in a formal style. Classical rhetoricians, such as Horace in his Ars poetica and Hermogenes in his Progymnasmata, taught that decorum must be observed when inserting such a moment into the text. Twelfth- and thirteenth-century rhetoricians taught that this device could be used both for giving personality to a character and for personifying inanimate objects. Chaucer borrows from this tradition in the Legend of Good Women when presenting Medea and Dido. He employs this device to a greater extent in Troilus and Criseyde when Criseyde leaves Troilus for Diomede.
Spillenger, Paul. "The Metamorphosis of Musorno: A Note on Chaucer's Translation of Filostrato I, 54 in Troilus I, 526-32." 29 (1995): 348-51.
Chaucer most likely read Filostrato I, 54 and translated according to the Italian he had learned as a result of contact with merchants. Not having learned Italian in school and not having the benefit of editorial punctation, he would be likely to translate these lines in accord with popular idiom, so arriving at a different meaning than that actually present in Boccaccio.
Steinberg, Diane Vanner. "'We do usen here no wommen for to selle': Embodiment of Social Practices in Troilus and Criseyde." 29 (1995): 259-73.
Troilus and Criseyde is constructed around two social spheres, one inside Troy and one outside the walls, one feminine and one masculine. Trojan practices place more value on women, while the Greek practices are "cruelly misogynist" and allow for "the commodification and exchange of women" (259). Examination of the poem reveals that the interior spaces are associated with women. The acts of courtship represent the male invasion of those spaces. Though the battlefield is the place in the poem most clearly associated with male domination, Troy is not a place of complete feminine freedom. Among Trojan aristocrats, relationships between the sexes are more courtly. In the Greek world of the battlefield, relationships between men and women depend on power and violence.
Stevens, Martin. "The Winds of Fortune in the Troilus." 13 (1979): 285-307.
In Troilus and Criseyde Chaucer uses the image of the boat in the sea of life driven by a force such as Fortune uncontrolled by man . Troilus uses this image to describe his state. Ultimately, he ceases to believe that Fortune steers his boat and focuses on Criseyde instead. The attention to an earthly guide leads to his destruction. All of the characters recognize the power of supernatural forces, but they fail to recognize what those forces are doing in their world. The narrator is most subject to Fortune, recognizing his powerlessness; he presents authority, but not experience. Pandarus stands in direct opposition to the narrator because he acts on his own, disregarding the will of the gods. Pandarus is a poet-figure because he "makes" the love between Troilus and Criseyde with his words (247), but while Pandarus freely uses his imagination, the narrator merely reports. The conflict between the two points of view reflects Chaucer's struggle to define the role of the artist. In the sea-imagery, Troilus's direction, first inward towards consummating his love and then outward to death, becomes important. Chaucer uses the image of the boat driven across the sea of life to depict Boethius's idea that recognizing God's Providence requires insight.
Stokes, Myra. "The Moon in Leo in Book V of Troilus and Criseyde." 17 (1982): 116-29.
Chaucer adds descriptions of the moon and stars to suggest the slowness of the earthly progression of Troilus and Criseyde's love. He carefully connects Criseyde's breach of faith with the moon's departure from Leo, the sign of the lion previously associated with Troilus. The association of the lovers with planetary motion implies that it follows a similar, inevitable process. Criseyde's association with the planets has a dual significance: Troilus sees her as a guiding star though she is most like the moon. Chaucer follows a similar pattern in his "Complaint of Mars" which, like Troilus and Criseyde, presents loving and losing as necessary. In an appendix, Stokes discusses reasons why the eighth sphere to which Troilus ascends must be the Primum Mobile.
Stugrin, Michael. "Ricardian Poetics and Late Medieval Cultural Pluriformity: The Significance of Pathos in the Canterbury Tales." 15 (1980): 155-67.
Examination of Chaucer's pathetic voice in the Clerk's, Physician's, Prioress's, Man of Law's, and Monk's Tales, as well as in parts of Troilus and Criseyde, the Legend of Good Women, and the Knight's Tale, shows Chaucer's place among Ricardian writers. Because the pathetic tales do not fit easily into the mold of their original morals, reading them becomes difficult. These tales are part of the Canterbury Tales as a whole, which suggests a plurality of thoughts and ideas.
Sundwall, McKay. "Criseyde's Rein." 11 (1976): 156-63.
When Diomede takes Criseyde's bridle (rein), his action shows that he has taken Troilus's place as Criseyde's protector. The action of taking the rein and thereby offering protection also occurs in Benoît's Roman de Troie, one of Chaucer's sources.
Watts, Ann Chalmers. "Chaucerian Selves--Especially Two Serious Ones." 4 (1970): 229-41.
The separation between Chaucer the author and Chaucer the speaker seems to vary considerably throughout Chaucer's work. The relationship between the author and the speakers is also the relationship between the speakers and the worlds of their settings. The speaker is "normal" while the world is fantasy, and the speaker accepts his illusory world, asking the wrong questions or no questions at all. Thus, the narrator in the Book of the Duchess displays notable obtuseness in his conversation with the man in black, an obtuseness that points to the real world. In the House of Fame, readers experience a similar disjunction between the real world and the fanciful world, and at the end, the narrator denounces the surroundings. As in the House of Fame, the narrator of Troilus and Criseyde presents an interesting problem, particularly at the end of the poem when the distance between the narrator and the author collapses. The joining of author and narrator presents a distinct moral discernable in the serious tone and the absence of qualifing phrases. At the end of the poem, the speaker curses his world, and the author prays for salvation.
Wentersdorf, Karl P. "Some Observations on the Concept of Clandestine Marriage in Troilus and Criseyde." 15 (1980): 101-26.
Until 1563, clandestine marriages were considered sinful because they were forbidden by canon law, not because they were sexually immoral. The phrase "to plight troth" has a number of different meanings, including marriage. Chaucer carefully modulates the relationship between Troilus and Criseyde from one of courtly love to that within Christian marriage. Criseyde's desire for security is a natural response to her social position, but the lovers clearly believe in the morality of their union. The plot of Troilus and Criseyde parallels the historico-political situation of Edward the Black Prince's secret marriage to Joan of Kent, but Chaucer probably did not intend to include historical echoes.
West, Michael D. "Dramatic Time, Setting, and Motivation in Chaucer." 2 (1968): 147-87.
Because Chaucer chooses to focus on other elements of his stories, the analogues to his tales often surpass his in realistic elements. In the Merchant's Tale, the garden setting causes the tale to function in both the worlds of allegory and fabliau, giving the reader a sense of unreality while at the same time leaving the reader with the idea that marriage is "sheer hell" (176). The same elements operate in the Prioress's Tale. Chaucer significantly changes the timing of events from that in his source in order to satisfy the demands of the story. These changes, however, do not coincide with what the reader recognizes as reality. The Pardoner's Tale also demonstrates Chaucer's lack of concern for realistic action in his story. Chaucer's thieves do a number of strange things which thieves do not usually do, like getting three bottles of wine, but forgetting the bread. Unrealities also occur in Troilus and Criseyde. These actions demonstrate the overwhelming greed of his characters. The mutilation of realistic detail draws his audience into his stories, thus making the tales every bit as effective as the sources, but on their own terms.
Windeatt, Barry [A.]. "'Love that oughte ben secree' in Chaucer's Troilus." 14 (1979): 116-31.
Comparison of Boccaccio's Filostrato to Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde shows that the English characters enjoy less privacy and model their behaviors after literary characters. Troilus is particularly susceptible to the social isolation created by his intense feelings which leads him to imagine himself as a literary courtly lover, not a member of his own society. The attention the English characters pay to the presence of other people and to appearances differentiates between private and public domains. Chaucer's characters become more imaginative, since they must carefully conceal their inner feelings to preserve their outward appearances. When Troilus confesses his love to Pandarus, Pandarus responds by forcing Troilus into carefully orchestrated patterns gleaned from books. Because the lovers are so careful of society, they are incapable of acting on their own to consummate their love, and Pandarus must arrange for a private moment in which they may make love. By emphasizing the social aspect of his characters' lives, Chaucer demonstrates the impracticality of courtly love conventions.
Winstead, Karen A. "John Capgrave and the Chaucer Tradition." 30 (1996): 389-400.
Although Capgrave never directly refers to Chaucer, analysis of Capgrave's Life of St. Katherine of Alexandria indicates that he had some familiarity with Troilus and Criseyde and the Canterbury Tales. Capgrave's portrait of Katherine approaches the same question of the place of women in society which Chaucer examines in Troilus and Criseyde. Though Katherine is a saint and Criseyde is not, Katherine shares a number of qualities with Criseyde, including a reading mentality. Capgrave also follows in Chaucer's footsteps where he apologizes for the places where his work lacks something, when he claims to be a translator instead of a creative writer, and when he assures his reader that his account of Katherine's life is accurate. Capgrave discusses several issues that were not considered appropriate to discuss with the laity, but by creating an extremely intrusive narrator he avoids any authorial responsibility and censure. Though the ending of the Life of St. Katherine is complex, like the ending of Troilus and Criseyde, Capgrave reminds readers of authorial troubles, not of the transition from earthly to spiritual existence. Capgrave also expresses concern with how later readers will perceive what he writes.
Woods, Marjorie Curry. "Chaucer the Rhetorician: Criseyde and Her Family." 20 (1985): 28-39.
Traditional rhetorical training taught writers to approach charactrers from either a positive or a negative point of view. Chaucer uses Criseyde's family to highlight the development of her character, first demonstrating how her actions differ from theirs, then revealing how her behavior is similar to theirs. In Troilus and Criseyde Chaucer also depicts other characters both positively and negatively in accordance with rhetorical tradition.
Yager, Susan. "'A whit thyng in hir ye': Perception and Error in the Reeve's Tale." 28 (1994): 393-404.
Several passages in the Reeve's Tale refer to sight and perception, and often those passages use university language. The passage on the "whit thyng" (4301) alters the university discussions so as to empower the miller's wife by giving her the ability to perceive. In university discussions, the white thing would usually become clearer, revealing itself as a human male, though this process allows great room for error. As Chaucer also demonstrates in Troilus and Criseyde, women's perceptions of men are determined by outside forces. The wife in the Reeve's Tale also shows the propensity of humankind to err.
Yeager, R. F. "'O Moral Gower': Chaucer's Dedication of Troilus and Criseyde." 19 (1984): 87-99.
Gower, best known for his works in Latin and French at the time Chaucer wrote Troilus and Criseyde, was Chaucer's poetic counterpart. Chaucer's reference to Gower, who had a reputation for focusing on morality in a broad sense, would help readers of Troilus and Criseyde to interpret the poem correctly. Gower's declamatory stance at the beginning of Vox clamantis and his opinion of worldly love parallels Troilus's stance in the eight sphere at the end of Troilus and Criseyde. Chaucer's evocation of Gower suggests ways his audience might read the combination of pagan and Christian elements in Troilus and Criseyde.
Yearwood, Stephenie. "The Rhetoric of Narrative Rendering in Chaucer's Troilus." 12 (1977): 27-37.
In Troilus and Criseyde Chaucer uses several narrative techniques which cause his readers to adopt particular value systems. Chaucer alters the frame in order to control the audience's response to the narrative. Chaucer also splits the narrator's positioning, so at one time the narrator reports events and at others, the readers are unaware of the narrator at all. The split of narrative positioning adds a number of different complexities to the plot. This type of examination also reveals that Chaucer does prepare readers for the epilogue which should not surprise readers with its value system.
Zimbardo, Rose A. "Creator and Created: The Generic Perspective of Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde." 11 (1977): 283-98.
Troilus and Criseyde expresses Chaucer's concern with the inability of the artist to imitate the unknowable larger cosmos in which the author participates. When humans create ordered worlds, they imitate God, but the human creations are subject to mutability and so will collapse. The poet-narrator is a Pandarus-like figure, detached from experience in order to create a different reality. The epilogue forces readers to recognize that the created will always be more limited than the creator. The tragedy is that humans can never escape from mutability. Chaucer's attempt to see things from God's point of view results in only a partial vision. Inconstant Criseyde is associated with Nature's changes. Pandarus realizes that all the things Troilus thought were immutable do change and that those changes are integral parts of being human. Chaucer uses Troilus to depict the changes occasioned throughout life. The Muses Chaucer introduces at the beginning of some books are also indicative of the movement within the books and within Troilus's romance with Criseyde.