TEMA: Criseyde Thinking

“The Syntax of Calculation: The Language of Thought and Threat in Troilus and Criseyde”
David Day
University of Houston: Clear Lake

close reading of texts
free translation as he goes along

fascinated by the modernism of the psychology
“first novel ever written in the world and the best”
psychologically realistic poem is very modern
but it draws on medieval and classical literature

syntax use –to express thoughts and arguments
consistently displayed in particular ways by particular characters

analyzers, feelers, and manipulators

Chaucer’s interest in the details of human conflict
may be our ideas of what is modern have older use

ex 1 (2.656-65)
weighs advantages of Paduras’ suggestion that she love Troilus
pity to sleigh such a one if he were sincere
marshals data
l. 656 she and multiple verbs
cast and roll—valuing pubic rather than private
excellent prowess (warrior skills), renown, estate (status or social position)
Criseyde’s state is often mentioned. it is precarious.
then personal = wit, good looks, kindness
she is calculating. She looks at his public and then his private view.
Boccaccio’s list is mixed.
So Chaucer’s differentiation is significant.

ex 2 (2.449-55)
Criseyde is about to die from fear….
saw the earnestness and saw all right
She and coordinate verbs 450
each gives info she is looking at before she makes up her mind

book 3
also data for determination to see if she should attend the tryst

ex 3 (5.1023-29)
Should she accept Diomedes words to stay with the Greeks?
first his words then his estate
She is alone and had need of friends’ help.
Chaucer making a point that she is carefully weighing concerns.
She is calculating and so is the syntax of her thought

she is under siege
abandoned daughter of a traitor
many would like to burn the family
dependent on Hector for her safety

Chaucer emphasizes her precarious condition.
He gives her reason, thinking, and stopping before she speaks.

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