Troilus And Criseyde And The Book Of The Duchess

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Geoffrey Chaucer has successfully developed several themes which are seen throughout his works. Although the literary techniques that Chaucer uses are not his own, these themes which reoccur are in the one of a kind style which defines Chaucer's works.

In both Troilus and Criseyde and The Book of the Duchess, the characters of Troilus and the Black Knight go through heartache and sorrow because of a love they once had but both lost. Both characters are young and naive when it comes to matters of the heart and leave their fate in the hands of Cupid and Fortune.

Although the woman that Troilus loved did not die like the woman the Black Knight loved, she still broke his heart by not being true to him. Despite the fact that they lost their women in different ways, they are both still victims of love won and love lost.

Chaucer never speaks about his own experiences with love, but it is made evident in Troilus and Criseyde what his understanding of love really is: "Ek though I speeke of love unfelyngly, // No wondre is, for it nothyng of newe is" (T&C.II.19-20) He speaks of love as if it is nothing new.

Troilus is very inexperienced and immature when it comes to love. This is portrayed when he criticizes love and people who are in love in Book I, which is why Cupid put Troilus's love l...

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... of Troye,

In lovynge, how his aventures fellen

Fro wo to wele, and after out of joie,

My purpose is, er that I parte fro yet.

Thesiphone, thow help me for t'endite

This woful vers, that wepen as I write."


In the end, it all comes down to fate. Whether it be Cupid or Fortune, Troilus and the Black Knight already had their destinies laid out for them. These characters, who once started out with absolutely no experience with matters of love, had quickly gained love and lost love. It goes to show you that you can never take anything for granted and Chaucer has done an excellent job of portraying this in both Troilus and Criseyde and The Black Knight.

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