Trouilus and crusade - Krista Ammons Fortune and Tragedy...

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Krista Ammons Fortune and Tragedy English 402 Due: November 11, 2006
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Fortune and Tragedy Boethian philosophy can be seen in many of Chaucer’s works. Troilus and Criseyde is a classic work of Chaucerian tragedy that carries a Boethian plot. Paying careful attention to Boethius’ use of Fortune, Chaucer’s Troilus displays many aspects that appear to be drawn from Boethius. Chaucer uses the rise and fall of Fortune’s wheel in the outline of his poem. In Book I Troilus is brought under the influence of Fortune. Troilus is transported to an elevated reality at the top of Fortune’s wheel in Books II and III. In these books he lowers the importance of all other Gods, placing Criseyde and Fortune at the top of his substance. In Books IV and V Troilus becomes a slave to his past good fortune becoming solely under the control of Fortune. Through Troilus’ choice to worship Fortune he descends into great suffering resulting from his loss of freewill, which leads to his demise. In a tragedy a reversal in fortune must occur. Chaucer’s concept of tragedy is dependent on Fortune, and man’s obsession with wanting to manipulate her. To understand how Boethius helped influence the tragedy one must understand Chaucer’s feelings and thoughts about the manner of tragedy. Chaucer gives his audience a definition of his view of a tragedy in The Monk’s Tale saying: I wol biwaille in manere of tragedie The harm of hem that stoode in heigh degree, And fillen so, that ther nas no remedie To brynge hem out of hir adversitee.
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For certein, whan that Fortune list to flee , Ther may no man the cours of hire withholde; Lat no man truste on blynd prosperitee; Chaucer is telling man to not trust in Fortune that Fortune will ultimately bring down those in high degree. Chaucer reiterates this same view of tragedy in his character Troilus. Troilus tells the reader, do not trust Fortune and don’t think her gifts are personal property (III.391-92). Chaucer shows Fortune to be evil, taking man’s freewill away from him. Pandarus explains, “‘For of fortunes sharpe adversitee The worste kynde of in fortune is this: A man to han ben in prosperitee, And it remembren whan it passed is’” (III.1625-28). If one has experienced satisfaction a time of adversity will inflict great suffering. Chaucer explains the change in fortune, “And now swetnesse semeth more swete, That bitternesse assaied was byforn” (III.1279-20). Chaucer expresses how great suffering comes from knowing an exceptional state of being. An extraordinarily good state can be stolen with the spin of Fortune’s wheel leading to great adversity. This is to
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This note was uploaded on 11/10/2011 for the course ENGLISH 333 taught by Professor Smith during the Fall '06 term at University of Tennessee.

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Trouilus and crusade - Krista Ammons Fortune and Tragedy...

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