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 suttle ideology’s 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. 1816-19).
Troilus finally realizes that blind lust cannot last and that we should set ourhearts on heaven. The narrator urges all “yonge fresshe folkes …Repeyreth hom fro worldly vanyte / And of youre herte up casteth the visage /To thilke God that after his ymage / Yow made, and thynketh al nys but a faire/ This world, that passeth soone as floures faire” (5. 1835-41).
The poemseems suddenly to burst open as a profoundly Christian work; that is, it doesif the audience has not been alert to the hints that abound in the poem topromise this very ending, with Troilus finally transcending both earthlyworlds, his bliss in the world of Troy and his woe caused by Criseyde’s removalto a world in which he cannot survive, the world of the Greek camp. Secondly, Chaucers takes themodern idea of courtly love changing the men and women dynamic. Love affairsare uncommon in the medevil times referring to them as courtly love. Thisincludes worship of the maiden from afar (Book I), rejection of the male by thevirtuous lady (Book II), and chivalric behaviour (Book V). 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. Fromthe beginning of the book we know the desire that she has to be free shown herethe fear was that ; ‘Alas, since I am free,/ Am I to love and put myself indanger/ Am I to lose my darling liberty?” (2. 777-784) Criseyde’sactions manipulations of her uncle, and her autonomy significantly consists inmaking virtue of necessity rather than her own desires. Pandarus’s ‘invitation’leaves little doubt as to the choices available to Criseyde:”An, liitle niece- now do not be affended- / if all night long you leavehim in his woe, / God help me, I shallthink your love pretended/ And that you ever cared. I dare say so / Since we’realone, we to; but I well know/ You to sencesable for such a crime/ As leavinghim in danger all the time.
” (3. 868-875)