The Tragedy of Troilus and Criseyde - Literature Essay Example

The Tragedy of Troilus and Criseyde

Chaucer started his prose by introducing the character of Troilus and how he went through the course of love and failure - The Tragedy of Troilus and Criseyde introduction. The author forewarned his readers of the wonders of love that the heaven’s grace can bring. In this prose, Troilus and Criseyde were his subjects for comparison.


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Troilus was never the kind who prayed for the heaven that love may bring. He was actually one of those who scorned love and never believed the immeasurable joy that it can bring. He sneered over his men, calling them fools as they delighted at the sight of beautiful ladies and dream about love (Chaucer).

Then on the feast of the palladium, the God of Love took vengeance on Troilus. He hit him with his arrow and as his gaze came upon the beautiful Criseyde standing on one corner, his heart leaped and he knew his heart has betrayed his virtue. He was right then one of the fools in love (Chaucer).

Criseyde on the other hand was a girl caught in the shame of his father’s treachery to his country, only protected by favors from Hector. She is the niece of Pandarus, Troilus’ good friend, and has been known throughout Troy for her beauty and modesty. She had rejected Troilus at first, but when she saw his misery in loving her during the plotted meeting in Deiphobus’ house, her hardness melted away into love (Chaucer).

They were both misers at first as Troilus with his huge pride decided to love Criseyde in secret and Criseyde was a widow living in an island, but Pandarus brought them together and led the way to the heaven of grace brought by love.

Heaven is a place of abundance (Brown).  In the given prose, the heaven of grace connotes that love can bring an abundance of blessing in many forms. It was reflected through the happiness each of the couple brought to the life of one another. It was the bliss and satisfaction that each have felt.

In the case of Troilus, it was in the form of salvation from the sorrow and pain he felt as he tried to love Criseyde from afar to keep his pride intact. When he was finally able to make his feelings known to her, he found joy even in the simplest things and there was no more glory than being loved in return. For Criseyde, it was through the security and the loyalty that Troilus offered her that made her really happy. Each felt like pure delight amidst the war.

In their “chance-meetings” they were fulfilled more especially when they were set up for a night in Pandarus’ home. The utter ecstasy of their union, the immeasurable happiness they felt was heaven itself on earth and when they had to part for the day was about break, it was like dying.

Dying may be compared to the feelings of loneliness and despair that love can overcome. In a number of instances in the story, it was emphasized how love will not feel as much as a grace from heaven without sorrow nor pain, as it was said in Stanza 92 of the first book, “How ever could one know what sweetness is if one had never tasted bitterness?” (Chaucer). It was further reflected when by the end of the tragedy, Troilus was slain in the battle. After many years of waiting for the fulfillment of Criseyde’s promised return from being captive of Greeks he was finally free. He was anyhow, figuratively dead from his suffering heart. Dying literally was his last taste of the heaven of grace from love.


Works Cited

Chaucer, Geoffrey. Troilus and Criseyde. USA: Penguin, 1971.

Brown, Daniel. “You Are a Person of Abundance.” (2005). 29 October 2008 <>.

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