C. Compare and Contrast the Representation of Love in Shakespeare’S Troilus and Cressida and Chaucer’S the Book of the Duchess.

Throughout history, love and the issues in love, has been a theme in many writers’ poems and stories. The tales of two people united together by love. In the texts, Troilus and Cressida by William Shakespeare and The Book of the Duchess by Geoffrey Chaucer, love is represented in many ways. Some of the similarities between the two texts is that they both have the themes of love being represented through physical aspects and through loss. The treatment of women through language, however, contrasts between the two texts, as love is represented differently. Idealistic beauty is represented as love throughout both texts.
One of the similarities between the two texts is that love is based and represented through beauty and physical attraction. It is evident throughout the play that Troilus bases his love for Cressida beauty and by doing so, is blinded from her faults “Her eyes, her hair, her cheek, her gait, her voice…O, that her hand.”(I.I – 55) ¹ .   Cressida initially fell in love with Troilus over his status as a prince and his physical appearance, “I was won, my lord, with the first glance.” (III.2 – 115).¹ However, the first time Cressida had seen Troilus, was when Pandarus was exaggerating Troilus’ bravery and created a sense that Troilus was an object of admiration and awe. This creates the feeling that both Troilus and Cressida are merely captivated by one another.
The beauty of Lady White in The Book of the Duchess, as described as the Black Knight, is of a perfect woman. This gives the sense that she is a beautiful object, rather than human “Is fairer, clere, and hath more light Than any planete, is in heven” (822) ². The Black Knight fell in love with Lady White the first time he saw her at a courtly dance, and describes all the aspects of her beauty from her grace “loke so debonairly”(851²) to her hair “For every heer upon hir hede most lyk gold hit was.” (855)² However, you do not get the sense that the Black Knight is only mesmerized by her beauty,...