2and Criseyde is sent into the Greek camp. Diomede is first smiled upon by Fortuneand Troilus is discarded. It could be suggested that the Trojans suffer because theyforget their place as members of a city under siege.The transition and development that the literary hero undertakes through theages, from culture to culture, era to era, is of deep interest to this author. Howattributes of the hero are successfully translated across the boundary of religion andnationality help give a strong historical understanding of the layers that constitute thecontemporary hero. The driving force behind the translation also tells us much aboutthe attitudes of the critics and writers of the respective times. That Chaucer adopts thestory of Troilus into his own form
a form of assimilation of the Pagan into theChristian, yet it was also a form of
which had a precedent in antiquity(Roberston 289). For instance, reading a Christian moral into a pagan text was notdissimilar to pre-Medieval literary critics who would approach texts as TreasureIslands whose wealth would prove to contain “contemporary relevance”.Unlike the pagan view of Fortune, the Christian view of ‘fate’ functioned“within the larger frame of providence and that Almighty God’s omniscience … didnot predetermine our free actions” (Windeatt 262). In
The Clerk’s Tale
, God is alwaysin control – yet the line between the pagan fatality and Christian concept of destiny is blurred when bad things happen to good people at the hands of powerful figures – bethey Walter or God. In the cases of the Jobs and Griseldes, the only comfort that theycan take is that their suffering is for a
– but this may be an immense step intheological thought, that someone
in control, that they
escaped predetermination. The advantage that the Christian take on ‘chance’ would have hadat a moral level – as well as making it more appealing – over the Classical equivalent,is that in the afterlife there would be compensation for sufferings on earth. For theclassical period, however, all that could be hoped for is that one’s feats would ensurein story and song.From the Aristotelian view of courage “best illustrated by Homer’s heroes in asetting of martial combat”, the medieval Christian idea of courage became “bestexemplified … by political prisoners and martyred philosophers” (Astell 78),illustrated by the focal shift from the warrior Ulysses to the masochistic victim of hisown passions, the lover Troilus. Power and wisdom remain the twin virtues of aclassical hero yet in the Middle Ages the power is expressed as faith to endurefortune, while wisdom is the desire to align oneself to God’s will (Astell 70-74).