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Character Construction in Chaucers Troilus and Criseyde

Chaucers epic poem, Troilus and Criseyde, is not a new tale, but one Chaucer merely expanded upon. One of these expansions that Chaucers work has become renowned for is the improvement of the characters. Generally, Chaucers characters have more texture, depth, humanity, and subtlety than those of the previous tales. Of the three main figures in the epic poem, Troilus, Criseyde, and Pandarus, Pandarus is the character that Chaucer took the most liberty with, creating and evolving Pandarus until he had taken on an entirely different role. However, this is not to say that Chaucer did not add his own style to Troilus and Criseyde. Chaucers continual development of the primary characters definitely lend more interest and humor to the epic poem, Troilus and Criseyde.The most interesting character by far is Pandarus. He serves as the protagonist and go between for Troilus and Criseyde. In fact, one could argue if it were not for him, Troilus may never have attained the brief affections of his lady love, Criseyde. When Pandarus comes across an uneasy Troilus and inquires as to the cause of his trouble, his speech is very eloquent. It is this speech that gives the reader his first glimpse of how subtlety and indirectness will initially characterize Pandarus. Further along the passage, Pandarus torments Troilus into anger, causing him to reveal the source of his woe. (Chaucer 24-5). In regard to the introduction of Pandarus, Kirby concludes: "Chaucer makes us feel that here is a witty, likable chap who does nottake life too seriously and who does not hesitate to mingle friendly works with good-natured taunts." (127) Pandarus also reveals that he is fairly well educated with his allusion to Niobe. In addition to the revelation of his education, this also reveals Pandarus penchant for a pattern of persuasion which he employs throughout his role. "Pandarus thinks the that way to make a man do something that he does not want to do i...

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