The False Integrity of Troilus and Criseyde’s Love Essay

The False Integrity of Troilus and Criseyde’s Love Essay

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Pandarus, from Troilus and Criseyde written by Geoffrey Chaucer, behaves as an intermediary in developing a relationship between Troilus and Criseyde. He is often seen as pedantic, meddling and self motivated, although the reader never discovers his true intent, he is a central role in the poem. Pandarus is an unsuccessful lover but sets himself up as a “servant of love’s servants” (pg 63) such as the narrator does. His credibility is undermined because of his unsuccessful previous ventures into love and this suggests that his involvement in Troilus and Criseyde love is useless. Regardless of his failed love, Pandarus, using various forms of manipulation, weaves the love story between Troilus and Criseyde and advances their relationship in an insincere way.
Pandarus initially uses different rhetorical devices, such a false analogies and pedantic examples in his speech, to influence Criseyde’s response to Troilus’ love. Criseyde moves from indifference to interest in Troilus through Pandarus’ persuasion when he convinces Criseyde everyone would assume that she is only friends with Troilus. Pandarus persuades her the relationship will be innocent using the analogy that no one would assume a man goes to a temple to eat the images rather than to pray (II.372-373). This analogy, although completely inaccurate, is used in a favourable way to make a point. The two ideas are unconnected because Pandarus creates assumed similarities between the man going to the temple and Troilus’ meeting Criseyde, but the conclusion is not accurate since there are more differences than similarities in the situations. No one would assume a man is eating images while Troilus having an affair with Criseyde is believable. Pandarus also uses prose to script...

... middle of paper ... up appearances to take a chance so Pandarus was essential to push the plot along. Pandarus’ ideas to further the love were too artificial to ever be genuine. By putting Criseyde in a position of inferiority, where Troilus and Pandarus have more knowledge over the situation and therefore more power, creates more of a predatory relationship than any of genuine intent. His use of violence, when referring to their love as a hunt, and manipulation compromised the love’s integrity. Although it may have helped Troilus and Criseyde come together, the false authenticity of his plot, compared to the possible natural progression of love that could have occurred, demonstrates how he thinks of their relationship as more of a game.

Works Cited

Chaucer, Geoffrey. Troilus and Criseyde. Ed. Barney Stephen A.
New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2006. 9-427. Print.

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