When Troy is besieged by Greeks who come to avenge the abduction and rape of Queen Helen by Paris, son of Priamo, Calchas, a Trojan priest, foresees the fall of Troy and flees to the Greeks, leaving behind his widowed daughter, Griseida. When the Trojan people hear of Calchas’s treachery, they assemble to burn her house, but they are stopped by Hector, who says she can remain in Troy.
Some days later Troilo happens to see Griseida at a religious festival and, overcome with her exquisite beauty, he immediately falls in love with her. In order to keep his love secret, however, he makes remarks about the stupidity of love. In private he praises Griseida’s beauty and declares his love for her. Soon he begins to fight fiercely against the Greeks in the hope that his feats will be pleasing to her, but she shows no signs of recognizing his love. With each day his pining for her grows worse until he cannot eat or sleep but spends his time imploring Love to tell Griseida of his pain.
Pandaro finds Troilo in this condition and asks what causes his grief. Pledging Pandaro to secrecy, Troilo tells of his unrequited love for Griseida. Pandaro, agreeing that Griseida is worthy of such love, assures Troilo that he will, with his cunning, find a way to win the girl for him.
Pandaro leaves Troilo and goes immediately to Griseida’s house to tell her that she is greatly loved by a noble and virtuous man of Troy. After considerable teasing Pandaro reveals Troilo’s name to her. Though she considers Troilo worthy, Griseida still grieves for her dead husband, and she tells Pandaro that Troilo’s love will pass. Pandaro persists in telling her of Troilo’s miserable state, and at last she is convinced.
After Pandaro accomplishes his mission, he returns to Troilo and tells him of his success. Troilo is overcome with joy. After praising Venus, he goes with Pandaro to behold Griseida’s beauty.
For a time Troilo is satisfied with the knowledge that Griseida acknowledges his love, but as his passion increases he desires more than brief glimpses of her. His grief soon returns. When he tells Pandaro of his frustration, his friend suggests that he write a letter that Pandaro will take to Griseida.
The heartrending letter is written and carried to Griseida. Again she is hesitant, fearing that if she answers the letter she will appear immodest. Again Pandaro convinces her, and she writes a letter telling Troilo that she desires to meet him; once more her better judgment restrains her. Pandaro returns to Griseida after delivering the response and tells her that mere words are not sufficient. After some argument he assures her that her reputation will not be injured, as the matter will be kept secret.
When Griseida consents to meet Troilo in a secret room in her house,...
(The entire section is 1155 words.)