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«4 Book III: “Al that which chargeth nought to seye” Book III of the Troilus provides the climax, in every sense, of Troilus and Criseyde’s love ...»

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Scholars who question whether Criseyde is passive or active in the poem receive no clear answer in Book III. In fact, Criseyde’s character is further complicated by the actions within Book III. Is she in bed with Troilus by her own choice, as she protests, or is she truly the “larke” to Troilus’ “sperhauk,” or more truthfully, Pandarus? Ambiguities are pushed aside as the proem to Book IV reminds readers of the ultimate conclusion of Troilus and Criseyde’s love affair.


1. Qtd. in Stroud 20. Donald R. Howard, “Experience, Language, and Consciousness: Troilus and Criseyde,” Chaucer’s Troilus” Essays in Criticism, ed. Stephen A. Barney (Hamden, Conn., 1980) 180.

2. Some of this scholarship will be addressed in this chapter, but Fehrenbacher notes other works as well, and I will add to his list. See C. David Benson, Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde (London: Unwin Hyman, 1990) 94-95; Jane Chance, Mythographic Chaucer: The Fabulation of Sexual Politics (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1995) 132; Alan Gaylord, “Reading Chaucer: What’s Allowed in ‘Aloud’?,” Chaucer Yearbook 1 (1992) 87-109; Barry Windeatt, Troilus and Criseyde (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992) 292-93.

3. Evan Carton, “Complicity and Responsibility in Pandarus’ Bed and Chaucer’s Art,” PMLA 94 (1979): 49-61. Fehrenbacher claims such a reading has its origins in Evan Carton’s article.

4. Fehrenbacher quotes similar passages from both Augustine and Aquinas. St. Augustine, The City of God Against the Pagans, vol. 4, ed. and trans. Phillip Levine (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 196) 502-4; St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae 2a2ae.154.9, ed. and trans.

Thomas Gilby (London: Blackfriars, 1968) 239.

5. Qtd. in Fehrenbacher 349; Fehrenbacher quotes from Jacques Derrida, Of Grammatology, trans. Gayatri Spivak (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1974) 263.

6. 350; Fehrenbacher cites Claude Levi-Strauss, The Elementary Structures of Kinship, Trans.

James Harle Bell and Richard von Sturner (Boston: Beacon Press, 1969) 493.

7. Dieter Mehl, “The Audience of Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde,” Chaucer and Middle English Studies in honour of R.H. Robbins, ed. Beryl Rowland (London, 1975) 178,187.

8. Beryl Rowland, “Pandarus and the Fate of Tantalus,” Orbis Litterarum 24 (1969): 11,15.

9. 564; Haldeen Braddy, “Chaucer’s Playful Pandarus,” Southern Folklore Quarterly 34 (1970):


10. Qtd. in Levine 564; Levine quotes from H. Caplan, ed. Ad Herenium, (Cambridge, 1954) 320-21.

11. Sigal is also discussed in Chapter 1 pp.12-13. For an explanation of the alba and aubade see Chapter 1, note 9.

12. Robert Kaske, “The Aube in Chaucer’s Troilus,” Chaucer Criticism II, eds., Richard J.

Schoeck and Jerome Taylor (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1961): 167-79.

13. Maureen Fries, “The ‘Other’ Voice: Woman’s Song, Its Satire and Its Transcendence in Late Medieval British Literature,” Vox Feminae: Studies in Medieval Woman’s Song. John F.

Plummer, ed. (Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute, 1981) 155-78.

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