Last Updated on May 7, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 628
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 vulnerable to gossip because her father has just left Troy to join the Greeks. At last, moved by Troilo’s compelling love letter, she agrees to meet with him. She later finds that she returns his passion. It is she who arranges for their first night together. When she is ordered to the Greek camp, she agrees to the exchange, pointing out to Troilo that to elope with him would make scandal inevitable. Once among the Greeks, Griseida soon finds herself being courted by Diomede. She writes Troilo a series of insincere letters, assuring him of her return, but in fact she has thrown her lot in with Diomede, her new lover.
Pandaro, a Trojan warrior, Griseida’s cousin, Troilo’s friend and confidant. Although he is unsuccessful in love, Pandaro is eager to advance his friend’s affair. He acts as adviser and go-between for the couple, urging Griseida to entertain Troilo’s courtship. Pandaro frequently reminds Troilo of the need for secrecy as an aid to increasing Griseida’s passion. When Pandaro finds Troilo deep in grief at the prospect of Griseida being sent to the Greeks, Pandaro suggests that it might be better to find a new love than to mourn her loss. Pandaro is the first to conclude that Griseida will never return.
Diomede, a Greek warrior, a hardy fighter. He courts Griseida and wins her affections after she is exchanged to the Greeks. Diomede first approaches Griseida on her fourth day in the camp. With his usual sense of how to advance his self-interest, he assures her that the Greeks are bound to win this war and tells her about his own nobel origins. When Griseida says that she is mourning her dead husband, Diomede does not believe her.
Calchas, Griseida’s father, a Trojan priest who foretells Troy’s fall. At the story’s beginning, Calchas has deserted Troy for the Greek camp. When he has a chance, he asks that Griseida be included in a prisoner exchange. Griseida describes Calchas to Troilo as avaricious, claiming that she will be able to use that quality to bribe him into allowing her to return to Troy.
Last Updated on May 7, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 235
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.
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