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Chaucer from Prentice to PoetThe Metaphor of Love in Dream Visions and Troilus and Criseyde$

Edward I. Condren

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780813032412

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813032412.001.0001

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(p.189) Appendix A Parallel Structures of Duchess, Fowls, and Fame with its Tidings of Love

(p.189) Appendix A Parallel Structures of Duchess, Fowls, and Fame with its Tidings of Love

Chaucer from Prentice to Poet
University Press of Florida





Emotional state of narrator: lethargic, unable to discriminate, sad, suffers from insomnia.


Emotional state of narrator: seeks knowledge, especially regarding “love,” later understood to mean “harmony.”


Emotional state of narrator: perplexed over the variety of dreams and their causes.

External influence: a book. Reads Ovid's story of Ceyx, Alcione, and Morpheus. Learns that Morpheus governs sleep and send sdreams.

External influence: a book. Reads and summarizes Cicero's Somnium Scipionis

on universal harmony.

Still missing what he sought, but has something he was not seeking.

External influence: a dream. Recalls and praises highly a dream he had on December 10.

Sleep arrives from fatigue.

Sleep arrives from fatigue, loss of light.

Remembers he fell asleep “wonder sone.”

Has a wonderful dream, impossible to interpret.

Has the best dream anyone ever dreamed.

Dream setting

Dream setting

Dream setting

Dreams he awakens in a bedroom. Hears the harmony of birdsong. Walls covered with story of Troy, Roman de la rose.

Dreams that Africanus appears to him as a reward for reading Somnium Scipionus.

Dreams he is in Venus's temple of glass. Walls covered with Aeneid showing destruction of Troy and Dido-Aeneas story.

Horn summons dreamer to hunt led by Octovyen. Hart escapes; horn blows a forloyn.

Digression on males false to women.

Summarizes last six books of Aeneid

in fifteen lines. Exits temple of Venusfor desert wasteland. “Crist…Fro fantome andillusion me save.”




Whelp, almost caught, leads dreamer to forest of artifice.

Africanus takes dreamer to gate leading to garden and Venus's temple. Reward for studying the Somnium, revered by Macrobius.

Golden eagle swoops down, seizes dreamer, takeshim aloft. Eagle: reward for faithful, albeit fruitless, service to Venus and Cupid, to increase his knowledge and his ability. Eagle lectures dreamer onsound waves, eventually depositing him at House of Fame.

Symbolic alternatives

Symbolic alternatives

Symbolic alternatives

Artificial Presentation of Love in Roman de la rose. Windows shut. Artificial forest, a locale thatsuits a man in black. Stilted use of language in poems and in speech of man in black.

Artificial Fearful words in black over gate. Temple of Venus's allegorical figures, like statuary, mainly showing love's sorrows. Artificial speeches declaimed by three tercel eagles who violate Nature's law.

ArtificialSterile landscape outside glass temple of Venus. Fame's castle and tower on a rock of ice. Fame's caprice in assigningreputations. Busts of authors from the past, all associated with Troy legend.




Harmony of birdsong outside windows. Activity of the hunt. Dreamer's use of direct, unadorned language.

Appealing words in gold over gate. Verdant garden outside temple of Venus. Birds of lower degree selecting their mates.

Actions and lessons of golden eagle. Agreement with intuitions of prior writers who explained the universe. Activity and sounds of House of Rumor.

Symbolic Resolution: Endorsement of naturalrepresentation

Resolution: Endorsement of naturalrepresentation

Resolution: Endorsement of naturalrepresentation

Long, stilted monologues by man in black frustrate the dreamer.

Hyperbolic, stilted proposals of three tercel eagles fail to win a mate, while angering other birds.

[“A man of gret auctorite” recites T&C, fiction about realistic lovers who grow from earthly attraction to harmonious perfection, then lose this ideal.

Mathematical tour de force: conversation between dreamer and man in black encodes harmony versus disharmony. At length, dreamer skillfully draws man in black to declare in plain language that his lady is dead

Mathematical tour de force: four encoded proportions of mathematics agree with the harmony of nature. Lady Nature approves lower birds' selection of mates. A picked group of bird singers celebrates with a joyous roundel. All the birds fly away until next year

[Mathematical tour de force: tension between rational and irrational triangle alludes to contradictory nature of Man.[Mathematical tour de force: tension between rational and irrational triangle alludes to contradictory nature of Man.

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