Criseyde's Personality in her Thought Life and Reality

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The character of Criseyde in Troilus and Criseyde is intriguing not only because of the conflicts and tensions she is faced with, but also because of the occasional variations between the type of person she is in her thoughts and the type of person she is when she interacts with Pandarus or Troilus. In her thought she is more independent, self confident and her feelings for Troilus are made evident. Whereas her persona when she’s interacting with Pandarus or Troilus is more reserved and her actions depict her as weak and victim like. In Book II, the passage in lines 695- 765 (pgs. 96-101) reveals Criseyde’s thought process and what specific conflicts she is faced with as she contemplates what her course of action should be regarding Troilus after finding out from her uncle, Pandarus, that Troilus loves her and will die without her. This passage also reveals Criseyde’s view of herself, what she considers to be appropriate behavior, what issues she holds in high regard when deliberating what she should do and most importantly, it shows Criseyde to be a complicated person who isn’t just doing what her uncle says or simply fulfilling the desires of Troilus.

Criseyde’s thoughts in this passage show her to be a self-confident woman. In lines 745-755 Criseyde, for the first time, acknowledges that she is beautiful,

“I am oon the fairest, out of drede,

And goodlieste, who that taketh hede,

And so men seyn, in al the town of ztroie.

What wonder is though he of me have joye?”

Sarah Raza

Page 2

By acknowledging that she is beautiful, she shows that she isn’t someone who is low in self-confidence. It also shows that she isn’t surprised to know that Troilus has fallen in love with her, but rather it is something that migh...

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...is kidding around with Pandarus, she seems to be more of herself. She tries to be strong and think from her head about whether a relationship with Troilus would be beneficial to her or not, but in reality it seems as if she does genuinely like Troilus and wants to just be with him for pleasure; but she doesn’t want to reveal this to anyone or confront it in her thoughts. Instead, she seems to look for a reason to like Troilus and justify a relationship with him. Criseyde’s behavior varies with the degree to which she wants to constrain her true personality in front of Pandarus and Troilus. Criseyde seems to want to be in control of her feelings, but as her thoughts reveal, she is confused as to how she should behave. This leaves the reader open to expect anything from Criseyde, since her behavior is at times quite the opposite of how she is in her thoughts.

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