The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography (Vols. 1-30)Return to the Subject List
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.
Stroud, T. A. "The Palinode, the Narrator, and Pandarus's Alleged Incest." 27 (1992): 16-30.
The Palinode at the end of Troilus and Criseyde has always puzzled critics. The narrator's depiction of Troilus's end draws attention to two possible ways of interpreting the plot, either as "pathetic romance" or as an allegorical "Boethian quest" (18). Identification of the repudiation of earthly love as a palinode allows critics to examine the charge that Pandarus committed incest. Though medieval writers treated unwedded sex as sin, Gower treats incest as a sin in Confessio amantis, neither Boccaccio, Dante, Ovid, nor any of the French fabliau treat incest. Though Pandarus does act as a go-between, he merely asks Criseyde to forgive him the next morning.