How Does Chaucer Deal With Humor in Troilus and Criseyde?

Question you can answer:

  • How Does Chaucer Deal With Humor in Troilus and Criseyde?
  • Or, Humor is an Essential Element of Troilus and Criseyde. Discuss.
  • Chaucer’s Deal With Humor in Troilus and Criseyde

Introduction:  Humor is the tendency of experiences to provoke laughter and provide amusement. Geoffrey Chaucer (1340-1400) is a master of humor and irony. He is the first humorist of English literature. Chaucer wins the heart of his readers by applying these essential elements in his poetry.

Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde is a poem where humor is represented in various ways in various places. Humor makes this poem more interesting and applicable to the readers of Chaucer.

Humour in love

In the poem ‘Troilus and Criseyde, ’ Chaucer applies humor to love. The first book of Troilus and Criseyde reveals that Troilus goes to the temple of Apollo to celebrate the ceremony of Palladium. Here Troilus mocks over the knights, who shows their interest and sigh upon a woman. Troilus laughs at them and calls them fools. He mocks by saying,

O very foolish, nice and blind ye

There his not one can war by other be

Here Cupid also attaches humor throwing the arrow of love to the heart of Troilus in the temple. Troilus is overwhelmed by the outstanding appearance of Criseyde. Troilus fall in love with Criseyde. He feels that he can’t live without Criseyde. Here Troilus becomes himself a fool who once mocks over others in case of love.

Pandarus, as a source of Humor

Chaucer was a poet of a man intensely interested in a man and his affairs. This quality of poetry makes him great. He had no dislike for fools and rascals. He never showed any disgust for monkeys. Rather he enjoyed their pranks and family traits. In the poem, ‘Troilus and Criseyde, ’ Pandarus exposes this aspect. He is the uncle of Criseyde. But he performs as a matchmaker. When Troilus reveals his love for Criseyde to Pandarus, he tells her niece about the love of Troilus.

Pandarus is a funny fellow.

He performs like a comedian of a comedy. He serves to a delight and source of joy for the poet. He is perfectly matched to the situation of the poem. He influences the mind of Criseyde in such a way that she never gets angry. Pandarus drags the spirit of Troilus when he hesitates and fears to express his love to Criseyde. Pandarus says,

Thou wretched mouse’s here.

Art thought so that she will thee bite?

Pandarus tries to impress Criseyde with the love of Troilus. Again and again, he arranges to meet these two souls. But every single time, Criseyde was attempting to avoid Troilus. But at last, Criseyde surrenders to Troilus’s love by the influence of Pandarus.

Later on when Troilus enters the room, Pandarus utters what Criseyde should do and what should not. He advised Criseyde to sit one the side of bed beside Troilus so that they can know each other and can feel the feelings of the heart.

Actually, Pandarus’s role as an uncle of Criseyde did not go with his character. But Chaucer represents him perfectly throughout the whole poem in a humorous way. But at last when his niece Criseyde betrays Troilus, he becomes more upset and feels sorry for Troilus.

Though Chaucer maintains humor throughout his poem ‘Troilus and Criseyde ‘ but at the end of the poem, misery takes the place of humor. In 14th-century England, humor was not present in a great extent in any literary branch. In this sense, Chaucer is the first humorist who represents humor mixing with pleasure and pathos.

Ruhul Amin
Ruhul Amin

This is Ruhul Amin, working and researching for English literature to make it discovered and available to the world.

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