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Troilus and Criseyde


Troilus and Criseyde is one of the poems that were written by Geoffrey Chaucer and it re-tells the story of two lovers of the 15th century that was set against the setting of war in the cordon of Troy. Geoffrey was a student at the University of Cambridge and also worked at the Christi College in Cambridge. The poem was composed through using the rime royale; the composition took a long time because it became completed in the 1380's.Many of the scholars of Chaucer regard the poem as one of the best that ever was since existence of poems because it was written in the best way possible thus being referred to as the finest work that a poet can ever come up with (Allen, 2008).

People in the those days highly regarded poets as compared to modern days when poets are not highly regarded in the society and this is because education was very valuable and most people sought after wisdom and they believed that through any form of writing such as poems, they could get wisdom. As one of the poems that took long to be completed in the history of poetry, this poem remains to be one of the most valuable poems in history since it touches different aspects of life and touches on issues that affect people even in the modern world thus making it a timeless poem.

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After the poem was completed, it was very influential because it was self-sufficient in many ways than it was known. Even though the character of Troilus is from the literature of ancient Greek, the love story that was expanded about him being a lover was mainly focusing on the origin of medieval. The very first version of the love story was that of Benoit's poem called Roman de Troie but the principal source of Chaucer's same poem is believed to be by Boccaccio who also had to re-write it from a certain tale during his II Filostrato. The version of Chaucer can be said to be reflecting a different world-view from what Boccaccio portrays in his version since he portrays Criseyde as a character who is more fearful and also sincere as compared to being led astray by Pandarus who is believed to be more perfidious and eloquent.

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The poem is very interesting because it ensures that the story behind it has both sorrow and humor and this is what makes the audience more interested to continue following it. The story is seen to be a sorrowful one but the way the poet has brought it out makes it looks more serious and attractive since it is not made to appear completely sorrowful but also incorporated with some sense of humor. Most people who wanted to become poets in the future focused on learning from the experience of great poets and their poems and this is one of the poems that has been focused by many poets since it has inspired them (Allen, 2008).

Later poem writers found their inspiration through such great poets and followed their legacy and they also decided to use their poet styles and also adapted to the language that they used in writing those poems. Some of the examples of poets who used styles and languages from this poem were such as Shakespeare and Robert Scot since their poems were made more interesting through the use of styles from this poem. The poem of Troilus and Criseyde was mainly considered to be a courtly romantic poem even though its generic classification remains to be one of the areas of debate in most of the literature of Middle English.

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Chaucer emphasizes on the cycle of matter of what was happening in Rome. The story starts when Criseyde who is the daughter of Calchas the seer is living alone in a place called Troy after her father decided to abandon Trojans so that he could help the Greeks.

Finally Troilus, a man who had been ridiculed by love previously becomes interested in her and she becomes the reason and the object of his desire that is overwhelming. After trying very hard to get to her heart, he decides to talk to her uncle who makes it a little bit easier for him to win her heart but this does not last long because he looses her love when prisoners become exchanged between Trojans and Greeks. It continues with Calchas who happens to know a lot about the imminent destruction of Troy but still decides to persuade Greeks to exchange his daughter and Antenor and this is what saves her from the city that is doomed. She promised Troy that she would be back to him after ten days but this was not the case because once she got back under the care of her beloved father she changed her mind since she realized that her promise was an impossible one.

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Being away from Troilus for sometime makes her lover for him to fade away especially after the flirtations that she got in Diomedes. After sometime the love that she had for Troilus fades thus she decides to forget about him but on his side Troilus keeps thinking of her and even discovers the brooch that he gave her pinned on the armor that was used during the war. Troilus feels so bad about being left by Criseyde that he feels like looking for Diomedes and revenge on him. He looks for him everywhere so that he can take his revenge but he does not get to find him and during the war as he still tried to pay his revenge, he got killed by the Achilles.

Troilus dies in his effort to revenge for his forgone love by Criseyde after he had been heartbroken for a long time. In the story behind the poem, the spirit of Troilus is said to be gone to heaven and the absurdity of life itself is being reflected upon. All the decisions that people make while still alive in reference to love is also being ridiculed after he dies in the name of loving someone who could not reciprocate his love back.

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The poem is very influential because it talks about issues that affect people even in the modern days such as love, rage and lust among other issues. Chaucer focuses more on the theme of love during a time of war thus the poem impacts both loss and love during the destruction that took place in Troy. The story also touches some religious aspect of lives of some of the characters and he decides to put the story of Troy into a Christian perspective even the characters themselves are not Christians and this can be seen where there is the mention of heaven in the story. The narrator of the poem can be seen to be in love even though he learns more from the experience that Troilus goes through instead of learning about the love of God.

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Troilus on the other hand is a Trojan who happens to have been scorned by love but still dares to fall in love again with a widow by the name of Criseyde who also lets him down one more time. Even though she seems to be loveable, her changing character in love proves that she cannot be steadfast in love. According to Chaucer, the reunion of Troilus and Criseyde is not such a wonderful thing because she is portrayed as a woman who is worthless since she comes to a bad end as far as love is concerned. The reunion is viewed as interesting but as she leaves him for Diomede, then the real aspect of her ever being in love with Troilus is questionable in many ways since she does not maintain her love and she does not also keep the promises that she made to him (Allen, 2008).

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Finally, when Troilus and Criseyde unite at the end of book III after he had been trying to win her heart, he feels good for a while but as the events continue taking place things change and Troilus looses the love of his life to someone else. The union had full pleasures but when she broke her promises to him then all the pleasure was in vain because Troilus was heartbroken and ended up dying in the name of love and loss.

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