Consolation in the Book of the Duchess by Geoffrey Chaucer Essay

Consolation in the Book of the Duchess by Geoffrey Chaucer Essay

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Consolation in the Book of Duchess
In “Book of the Duchess,” Geoffrey Chaucer draws close parallels between the poet’s insomnia and the Knight’s grief. In showcasing the Knight’s complete lack of interest in the hunt, coupled by his general lethargy, Chaucer effectively parallels the Knight’s apathy to that experienced by the Narrator himself and his own feelings of loss of energy and enthusiasm.. The Chaucerian consolation in “The Book of Duchess,” seeks only to revitalize its suffers, and offers very little thorough investigations into the roots of the Narrator’s and the Knight’s prolonged state of despairs. Instead, as far as is possible, it seems that Chaucer ignores all explanation of causes, but continues to provoke the reader’s curiosity for the reasons behind the insomnia, yet never fully answers whether consolation found or rejected. Through these parallels and juxtapositions, the reader can begin to discover, understand, and contemplate, the mechanics of consolation as it functions throughout the poem
The capacity of the poet to take notice of nothing, “how hyt cometh or gooth" (Chaucer 7), is mirrored by the Knight’s failure to notice the approaching poet in the garden (Chaucer 500-510); the reason being that both characters have completely severed themselves, at least psychologically, from their worldly surroundings. While the Knight has removed himself from the court and immersed himself in “his owne thoght” (Chaucer 504), the Narrator suggests that he too has rid himself of the external world that has become illusory to him (Chaucer 12-13). The Knight has “yturned his bak / To an ook, an huge tree,” shutting out the beauty of the garden that surrounds him (Chaucer 446-447). The oak tree, symbolic of Nature’s strength...


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...Consolation of Philosophy. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1999. Print.
Chaucer, Geoffrey. “The Book of the Duchess.” In The Riverside Chaucer. Ed. Larry D. Benson. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1987.
Freidman. John Block. “The Dreamer, the Whelp, and Consolation in the “Book of the Duchess.” The Chaucer Review 3.3 (1969): 145-62. Print.
Hoffman, Frank G. "The Dream and the Book: Chaucer's Dream-Poetry, Faculty Psychology, and the Poetics of Recombination." 2004. Print.
Philips, Helen. “Structure and Consolation in the “Book of the Duchess.” The Chaucer Review 16.2 (1981): 107-18. Print.
Symons, Dana M., Consortium for the Teaching of the Middle Ages, and Western Michigan University. Medieval Institute Publications. Chaucerian Dream Visions and Complaints. Kalamazoo, Mich: Medieval Institute Publications, College of Arts & Sciences, Western Michigan University, 2004. Print.

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