Chaucer’s Pandarus and Foucault’s Theory of Power 2319 Words 10 Pages
If Geoffrey Chaucer for some unforeseen reason was unable to published The Canterbury Tales, then perhaps, his version of Troilus and Criseyde would be widely acknowledged as one of his most epic tragic poems. However, Chaucer’s poem, though adapted widely into various modern translations, for the sake of this paper the translation by Barry Windeatt will be used, the tale’s influential go-between is still a character trope used today. In fact, the romantic entanglements that the main characters find themselves in are the results of the power structure established by the go-between Pandarus. From the first instance where Pandarus witnesses his friend Troilus’s…show more content… In fact, Pandarus is the character that upholds the courtly love power structure within the tale, because Pandarus is interested in the social interactions of the different characters. Additionally, Pandarus uses his position as Troilus friend in order to gain power from the social situation that arises, where Troilus befallen with love sickness needs an advisor to aide in his conquest of a lady.
Therefore, Pandarus becomes the go-between because he derives power from the ability to position individuals in complex and strategic social structures in order to maintain the courtly love notions. In fact, as Schoeck deduces, “Courtly love is sensual…Courtly love is illicit and, for the most part, adulterous. Indeed, in the courtly system marriage has no place” (4). Thus, Pandarus reiterating the meaning of his name in Chaucer’s text by establishing is position of power through being the go-between for Troilus and Criseyde, acknowledges that the dishonor of his niece is not his concern because, “Courtly love was exalted under the system as a virtue, which ennobled those who practiced the art” (Schoeck 6). Therefore, Pandarus did not view his act to bring the two lovers as a means to subvert the honor of his niece Criseyde, but rather saw that “the social relations of the individual is one of the most important components of political change” (Hartsock