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Troilus and Criseyde free read á PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB ↠ A complete modernisation by A S Kline Published with selected illustrations Troilus and Criseyde is a re telling in the Middle English vernacular of the legendary tale of Troilus and Cressida which is set during the Trojan War Chaucer composed the poem in rime rA complete modernisation by A S Kline Published with selected illustrations Troilus and Criseyde is a re telling in the Middle English vernacular of the legendary tale of Troilus and Cressida which is set during the Trojan War Chaucer composed the poem in rime royale probably in the 1380’s and the finished and highly polished work is often considered his finest achievement. I Do Feel TerribleYes I really do feel terrible about not being able to chime in with the exuberant praise most readers of Chaucer’s poem Troilus and Criseyde heap upon this work of art And not being able to share the general enthusiasm about that love story set in the chaos of the Trojan War I am even much farther from subscribing to the judgment of those who consider it Chaucer’s masterpiece because that honorary title goes to The Canterbury Tales as far as I am concerned They may be an utterly ambitious enterprise doomed to remain incomplete from the very start but still this opus magnum shows Chaucer’s ability to adopt a wide variety of styles – chivalric romantic bawdy eerie witty the list being endless – and with the exception of the Parson’s Tale I enjoyed every single word of itNot so with Troilus and Criseyde Of course there is an incredible freshness and vivacity in Chaucer’s style and it is breath taking to read the dialogues between Pandarus and his niece for instance and marvel at the cunning with which this guileful match maker slowly gets the better of the damsel’s doubts Apart from that the beauty and power of Chaucer’s poetry cannot be ignored Just look at this”And as she slep anonright tho hire metteHow that an egle fethered whit as bonUnder hire brest his longe clawes setteAnd out hire herte he rente and that anonAnd dide his herte into hire brest to gon –Of which she nought agroos ne nothyng smerte –And forth he fleigh with herte left for herte”And yet unlike The Canterbury Tales this poem strained my patience after a while because five books of courtly romance are at least as daunting a feat as the walls of Troy themselves and since there is no grain of humour immersed in any single line – no Wife of Bath for instance – the pace soon becomes elephantine All the so since Troilus and Criseyde never notice when a topic is exhausted and they could pass on to some fresher subject Instead like one of my neighbours they always revert to what they have at length harped on about five minutes beforeTalking about Troilus and Criseyde they will strain your patience in many other ways and since they are the protagonists in a dance of courtly love one cannot expect them to be multi faceted characters Chaucer shows his skill at drawing characters in Pandarus instead whose wiles and manoeuvres may not necessarily make him a likeable person but a least a credible character Criseyde on the other hand comes across as the shadow of a character and Troilus seems like a spoilt three year old wallowing in self pity and in a tear drenched bed weeping and weeping and weeping since he cannot get what he wants And yes this is all so plausible There is a war going on threatening the survival of the city as such and its inhabitants in particular and yet Troilus cannot think of anything else but his passion for Criseyde And most of the family members instead of setting him straight on his priorities actually share his tendency to concentrate on private matters only We might have come across the true reason for Troy’s fall here Navel gazing on the part of the leading TrojansAll in all Troilus and Criseyde did not work out for me even though I love reading Chaucer and a rating of three stars therefore seems to me the best way of expressing the lukewarm reading experience this poem provided for me

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The narrative appears to have been based by Chaucer on the tale Il Filostrato in Boccaccio’s Decameron and though a tragedy in essence Chaucer introduced elements of humour while drawing a sensitive portrait of Troilus as the deserted lover and Criseyde as the unfortunate betrayer Classed as a courtly romance the poem helped to bring the Medieval Renaissance to English lite. Some great authors spur us on to greater heights; others serve to remind us of our shortcomings For me Chaucer is of the latter type From the beginning and to the bitter end he was a struggle to appreciate I could of course sense his greatness; it is manifest in every stanza Yet I could not despite my dogged persistence suck the nectar direct from the fountain; I’m only left with the drippingsA great part of my difficulty was purely linguistic I was going back and forth between reading Chaucer in the original or in translation when the choice was decided for me A friend of mine loaned me the complete collected works of Chaucer in the original Middle English There were footnotes of course but not as many as could be desiredSo there I was struggling night after night reading a language which I could only half pronounce and half understand It was folly of course; but I like a good challenge and I’m not one to stop a book once started Going on this way I read the entire Canterbury Tales over several months—no mean feat I tell you Rewarding and entertaining Certainly But I missed so much that I will inevitably need to reread it Chaucer himself addresses this difficulty in this poemAnd for ther is so gret diversiteIn Englissh and in writyng of oure tongeSo prey God that non myswrite theNe the mysmetre for defaute of tonge;And red wherso thow be or elles songeThat thow be understonde God I bisecheEven when I did get to the point when I could read Chaucer without too much pain I was still left a little cold As I also experienced while reading A Clockwork Orange there is something withdrawn and detached about reading a work in a language half your own Words from our day to day life have a certain emotional immediacy which is lacking in words otherwise synonymous but unfamiliar Chaucer’s language does make up for this in its richness elegance and novelty Even so there is something hermetic about a language that nobody has spoken in 700 yearsSo what of this poem Well compared with the Canterbury Tales it is certainly lacking in ribaldry and boisterous fun The atmosphere is one of gallantry and courtly romance rather than a bar where chums gather to tell stories Yet for what it lacks in liveliness Troilus and Criseyde makes up for in its completeness and polish The Canterbury Tales are unfinished and uneven whereas this poem is finely crafted and composedThe story is classic two beautiful young people fall in love and then something conspires to end the love affair in tragedy Unlike Romeo and Juliet however the tragedy comes from unfaithfulness as much as circumstances There is of course controversy as to how Chaucer wanted us to interpret the poem On the one hand the narrator points to the unfaithfulness of women as the moral of the story; on the other hand Troilus is so whiny and self absorbed that it’s hard for us to condemn Criseyde’s choice We moderns in our sexually enlightened age run a risk of imposing our own cultural sensibilities on the characters; for readers at that time the story could have been a straightforward tale of the fickleness of womenThis story suffers from the same malady as did Romeo and Juliet—two protagonists neither likable nor compelling Troilus was melodramatic; Criseyde even tempered but still uninteresting Pandarus comes across as the most likable chap in the story Even so it’s hard to understand why he—or anyone else for that matter—would devote so much time to a love affair while Troy is being sacked by a gigantic army of Greeks In fact the whole idea of putting a courtly romance amid the Trojan War didn’t uite work for me Courtly romance is silly adolescent and self indulgent; imagine Romeo and Juliet pining for each other in Saigon during the Vietnam War Their entire city all of their family and friends are facing death and destruction; yet all they can do is solilouizeBut as I said at the beginning of this review it really comes down to my own shortcomings that this poem fell flat At least I can say I gave it an honest shot Now I can only hope that time will amend my faults and learning my ignorance

summary Troilus and Criseyde

Troilus and CriseydeRature with a subtle blend of classical story medieval courtliness and English character depiction The elouent and cynical Pandarus who leads Criseyde astray hence the obsolete term ‘ pandar’ for a pimp or procurer is a type that recurs in later literature for example as the Shakespearean characters Iago in Othello and Iachimo in Cymbeline Published by Poetry in Translati. From BBC Radio 4 Classical Serial One of the great works of English literature this powerful compelling story explores love from its first tentative beginnings through to passionate sensuality and eventual tragic disillusionment Lavinia Greenlaw's new version for radio brings Chaucer's language up to date for a modern audience while remaining true to his original poetic intention After seeing the beautiful widow Criseyde at the temple in Troy Troilus falls instantly in love with her Inexperienced in love he is unable to act on his feelings and locks himself in his room to compose love songs Pandarus worried for his friend eventually persuades Troilus to tell him why he is so miserable and is delighted to hear that the cause is Troilus' love for his niece Criseyde Worried about her reputation Criseyde is at first reluctant to enter into a relationship with Troilus After much cajoling and manipulation she reluctantly comes around to the idea Pandarus is frustrated that the relationship is moving too slowly and engineers a complex plan to get Criseyde and Troilus in bed together Troilus Tom FergusonCriseyde Maxine PeakePandarus Malcolm RaeburnServantFriend Kathryn HuntCalchasServant Kevin DoylePriamServant Terence MannHectorDiomede Declan Wilson With music composed by Gary Yershon and performed by Ehsan Emam Tim Williams and Mike DaleDirected by Susan Roberts