Witheach new generation there is always a new interpretation on how they view literature.This is because with more information on the world it changes how we experienceit, causing a change in our views on it. Not only dose our life perspectivechange, the language we use to communicate it also changes.
For many authorsthis is the toughest battle to combine to different time eras is one works literaturethat stays true to the original text, but also is rewritten to accommodate thenew generation. Chaucer is one of many people that took this challenge on andeventually establishes the English language because of this. In “Troilus and Criseyde” Chaucer takes Homer’scharacter from the Iliad putting in the mist of the Trojan War to create andepic lover story. Chaucer takes the modern spin of courtly love, and PredestineChristianity, on the Iliad as they are brought into a relationship intothe medieval times. Christianity and culture shaped Chaucer’smind and attitudes. Aware of the essential differences between the pagan past and theChristian present, is why it was important to fuse them together when writingto a medieval Christian audience.
To some extent he tried to avoid imposing moderncriteria and classifications on ancient by only putting subtle ideologies intothe text. In the first book experience,striving to present it with historical plausibility. We can see some of his awarenessin the first pages of his story. He opens the book by saying “Of help tolovers, for I sing their pain/ as best I can; and it is true pain.” (1. 11, 12)This is Chaucer apologizes for any mistakes or confliction that the book may haveknown that his conflicting view may be apparent. At first sight it may seemthat Troilus is simply about the pagans in a pagan world, planet-determineddestiny and an afterlife among pagan planetary-deities spheres. The charactersare pre-Christian pagans, living in a historical Trojan world which worshippedthe classical pantheon and were subject only to natural law, not the Christianlaw.
Only after Achilles slays the woefulTroilus can Troilus embrace the anti-world he enters by rejecting worldlyvalues; he “fully gan despise / This wrecched world, and held al vanite /To respect of the pleyn felicite / That is in hevene above” (5. 1816-1819).Troilus finally realizes that blind lust cannot last and that we should set ourhearts on heaven.
The narrator urges that the only unconditional love comesfrom Jesus: “And give your l0ove to Him who, For pure love, / Upon a crossfirst died that He might pay/ Our debt, and rose, and sits in Heaven above;/ Hewill be false to no one that will lay/ His heart holly on Him I dare to say.)(5. 1848-1855) The poem seems suddenly to burst open as a profoundly Christianwork; that is, it does if the audience has not been alert to the hints thatabound in the poem to promise this very ending, with Troilus finallytranscending both earthly worlds, his bliss in the world of Troy and his woecaused by Criseyde’s removal to a world in which he cannot survive, the worldof the Greek camp. Secondly, Chaucer’s takes themodern idea of courtly love to show the lack of freedom women have. Love affairsare uncommon in the medieval times referring to them as courtly love.
This includes worship of the maiden from afar, rejection of the male by thevirtuous lady, and chivalric behavior. In Book II, Troilus complains of a sickness that he cannot recoverfrom, and he regularly faints. These are presented as symptoms of’lovesickness’, a medieval idea that suggested to be deprived of one’s love wasa physical illness, and exhibited symptoms that could only be cured by wine andwomen. The maiden initially rejecting her suitor was also an important element.
She must first be seen as publicly demure, and rejecting his first advances,before admitting to his desire. In this scenario is may seem that she has allthe power and choice, but in reality she doesn’t have much of an option. Fromthe being of the story she goes into a panic about the news of Troilus. Chaucermakes it clear that she does not want anything to do with love. She is verycontent with being free and having her own authority as the widow. The desire that she has to be free shown here;’Alas, since I am free, / Am I to love and put myself in danger/ Am I to losemy darling liberty?” (2.
777-784) Criseyde’s actions manipulations ofher uncle, and her autonomy significantly consists in making virtue ofnecessity rather than her own desires. Pandarus’s ‘invitation’ leaves little doubtas to the choices available to Criseyde:”An, little niece- now do not be offended- / if all night long you leavehim in his woe, / God help me, I shall think your love pretended/ And that youever cared. I dare say so / Since we’re alone, we to; but I well know/ You to sensiblefor such a crime/ As leaving him in danger all the time.” (3. 868-875)In this moment sherealizes that going into his chambers at this time of night is the smartestmove for her. One because there are servant constantly around and is she getscaught is would ruin her reputation.
But he not thinking she loves him takesaway her safety that she hopes he can provide for her. This is how her uncleleaves doubt in her choices. So although courtly love is portrayed to be a Romanicgesture by a man. We can see that Chaucer took a women of status and freedomstripped of it by courtly love. Her last grasp of her freedom was upheld by herallowing Troilus to have intercourse with her.
Troilus traps her in her chamberunable to cry for help out of fear what can happen to her “And them thisTroilus began to strain/ Her in his arms and whispered, ‘Sweetest, stay,/ Areyou not caught? We are alone, we twain, now yield yourself there is no otherway.'” (3. 1211-1215) In this moment dose his mask comes off and he reveals thetrue him. Also in this moment she relies the game is over and she has nocontrol over what is going to happen next. Instead of him taking her power sheflips the roles tries to keep her control be saying “Had I not yielded longago, my dear,/ My sweetest heart, I should not now be here.'” (3.
1217-1218)This is the last control we see from her over her own life. Through thisrelationship of courtly love is how Chaucer shows women having no control =,even when presented as they do.