Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)


Troilo, a Trojan knight during Troy’s siege by the Greeks, a son of King Priam. Although Troilo has always mocked love, when he sees Griseida at the temple of Pallas, he is overpowered by her beauty and immediately falls in love with her. At first he keeps his love secret, but at last he allows her cousin Pandaro to act as go-between. Soon she returns his love, and Troilo rejoices in the delights of an intense, though secret, love affair. During that time, he continues to fight bravely for Troy. When Griseida must leave Troy to go to the Greek camp in a prisoner exchange, Troilo is devastated. He tries to persuade her to run away with him, but at last he reluctantly lets her go, believing her promise to return within ten days. He waits for her in agony, and when she does not return within the appointed time, he writes her several letters. Finally, he can no longer believe her deceptive replies. His sister, Cassandra, tells him that Griseida now loves Diomede. When Troilo finds a brooch he once gave Griseida on Diomede’s cloak, the reality of her betrayal sinks in. He fights Diomede several times on the battlefield, then is killed by the Greek warrior Achilles.


Griseida, a beautiful young widow living in Troy during the siege. When her cousin Pandaro brings her word that the young warrior Troilo has fallen love-victim to her beauty, Griseida is unsure that she wishes to be involved in a love affair because of the possibilities of scandal. She feels especially...

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(Great Characters in Literature)

Bergin, Thomas G. Boccaccio. New York: Viking Penguin, 1981. Devotes a chapter to Il Filostrato, summarizing the plot, examining the work’s literary origins, and analyzing its themes. Notes the importance of the work to Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde.

Boccaccio, Giovanni. Il Filostrato. Italian text edited by Vincenzo Pernicone, translated by Robert P. apRoberts and Anna Bruni-Seldis. New York: Garland, 1986. In a comprehensive introduction, the translators trace the history of the Troilus story, examine the autobiographical elements (including the now-discarded identifications of the woman to whom Boccaccio supposedly wrote his work), review Boccaccio’s ideas about courtly love, and tell of the appearance of the story in English literature.

Dean, James. “Chaucer’s Troilus, Boccaccio’s Filostrato, and the Poetics of Closure.” Philological Quarterly 64, no. 2 (Spring, 1985): 175-184. Examines the difference between the two versions of the tale, with particular attention to their endings. Concludes that Chaucer’s tale is more philosophical.

Kearney, Milo, and Mimosa Schraer. “The Flaw in Troilus.” Chaucer Review 22, no. 3 (1988): 185-191. Compares Chaucer’s work to Boccaccio’s, examining the scene in which Pandarus encourages Troilus to find other women if he cannot have Criseyde. Troilus’ failure to defend his love exemplifies several situations in which Chaucer makes his hero more passive than Boccaccio’s.

Serafini-Sauli, Judith Powers. Giovanni Boccaccio. Boston: Twayne, 1982. Examines Il Filo-strato with reference to its use of courtly love, character development, and Griseida’s betrayal of her lover.