Troilus and Criseyde
by
Geoffrey Chaucer (1342 - 1400)
edited by Archy Mimarius
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About the origin of Troilus and Criseyde:
The story of Troilus and Criseyde was first told, in interwoven episodes, in a long French poem of the mid-twelfth century, the Roman de Troie of by Benoît de Sainte-Maure. The historical event underlying this poem was the Trojan war recorded by Homer in his Iliad. Benoît's main sources were classical prose accounts in Latin. Giovanni Boccaccio freely depends on and alters Benoît's material to compose his own poem Il Filostrato in the late 1330s.
Il Filostrato is the source of Geoffrey Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde. Chaucer freely changes and alters his sources so much that his poem is essentially new. Troilus and Criseyde was written between 1381 and 1386.


About the story of Troilus and Criseyde:
The story is about the Trojan prince Troilus, son of Priamus who is king of Troy, who falls in love with a lady called Criseyde. With the help of his friend Pandarus, who is Criseyde's uncle, Troilus wins Criseyde's love. A time of love and prosperity follows, which ends when the Greeks capture the Trojan warrior Antenor. Criseyde and Antenor are exchanged hence Troilus and Criseyde are separated. In the Greek camp Criseyde is courted by the Greek warrior and king Diomedes, who advises her to forget the city of Troy and her lover Troilus. After some hesitation, Criseyde falls for Diomedes and betrays Troilus. Troilus becomes acquainted with and subsequently suffers from the loss of his earthly love. After his death, Troilus learns about eternity and eternal love.