Legend Of Good Women Alceste And The God Of Love

Bryan, Elizabeth J. Collaborative Meaning in Medieval Scribal Culture: The Otho Layamon. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1999. Given-Wilson, Chris. Chronicles: The Writing of History in Medieval England. London and New York: Hambledon and London, 2004. Layamon. The Brut. Edited by W. R. J. Barron, and S. C. Weinberg. New York: Longman Group, 1995.

David A. Roberts legend of good women, the Geoffrey Chaucer (ca. 1386-87) Geoffrey Chaucer's The Legend of Good Women is a collection of stories about 10 "good women" (Cleopatra, Thisbe, Dido, Hypsipyle, Medea, Lucrece, Ariadne, Philomela, Phyllis, and Hypermnestra) written by the narrator following a dream vision request by Alceste, the consort of the God of Love. The Poem is composed in couplets of iambic pentameter (heroic couplets). The prologue to the Legend exists in two forms: the Bodlean Fairfax 16 manuscript (called manuscript F) and Cambridge's Gg 4.27 manuscript (called manuscript G). Scholars regard these two versions as distinct: F is praised for its warmth and G for its better structure. The legends themselves are self-contained in that they are perfectly comprehensible without having any prior knowledge of the stories or contexts. While such a structure worked well for writers such as John Gower, BoccacCIo, and Christine de Pizan, scholars reveal that Chaucer found it uninspiring and limiting.

In the poem, the narrator is summoned by the God of Love to answer, under pain of death, why he spread disparaging tales about love and true lovers in his earlier English translation of Le Roman de la Rose (The Romance of the Rose) and his Troilus and Criseyde. Defending him, Alceste argues that the narrator did not fully comprehend what he was writing in these works since he has other works that praise love and lovers. Rather than executing him, Alceste asks that the narrator's penance involve "makynge of a gloryous legende / of goode women, maydenes and wyves, / That were trewe in lovynge al here lyves" (G. 473-475) and so the God of Love charges him with this task. He awakes from the dream and writes the unfinished collection of legends. The irony is that while the women of the legends are "trewe," the men are not.

Chaucer opens with the story of Cleopatra and Antony. Antony, a senator, is also "a ful worthy gentil wer-reyour [warrior]" (F. 597) who falls in love with Cleopatra. She returns his sentiments, and the two marry. After their wedding, Octavius plots the destruction of Antony through a great battle. Cleopatra must flee the area, and Antony is left to fight, which leads to his despair and suicide. Hearing of her husband's death, Cleopatra instructs her servants to build a shrine and, next to it, dig a pit to be filled with serpents. Cleopatra walks naked into the pit, killing herself.

The second legend is that of Thisbe and Pyramus, whose love for each other is blocked by a wall separating their city. The two devise a plan to meet outside of the city limits. Wearing a wimple, Thisbe leaves first and encounters a ferocious lioness. Seeking refuge, Thisbe loses her headpiece, returning later to find it bloodied and torn by the lioness. Pyramus arrives late, sees the wimple, and believes his beloved to be murdered. He despairs and stabs himself. Thisbe finds him mortally wounded. Grieved by his death, Thisbe kills herself with Pyramus's own sword.

Dido's story, the third in the collection, is the longest at 443 lines. Dido dreams of Aeneas, a man who is "lyk a knyght" (F. 1066) and staying in her court. The two are part of a hunting expedition that gets caught in a storm. Seeking refuge, they discover their mutual affection and agree to marry. once their marriage is consummated, Aeneas secretly plans to steal away in the night. Dido announces she is with child. He leaves but does not take his sword. Before killing herself with Aeneas' word, Dido writes him a letter.

The fourth story comprises the legend of Hypsipyle and Medea, both spurned by Jason. Hypsipyle married Jason and had two children by him. Following these births, Jason sailed away and never came back. Hypsi-pyle writes him, saying that she will live truly and chastely as his wife. She later dies of "sorwes smerte" (F. 1579). Jason sails straight to Colcos, where he meets and marries Medea "as trewe knyght" (F. 1336). Medea is also left by Jason, who has moved on to marry yet another woman. Like Hypsipyle, Medea writes him a letter that upbraids him for his behavior.

The fifth legend is that of Lucrece, who is praised by her husband Colatyn for her faithfulness. Upon hearing of her goodness, Tarquinius, the king's son, becomes enchanted with Lucrece's reputation. He visits Lucrece's home, where he is welcomed as Colatyn's friend. At night, Tarquinius rapes Lucrece, and threatens to cut her throat if she makes noise. Throughout his assault, she remains silent. overcome with shame, Lucrece takes a knife and kills herself, making her a martyr.

The sixth legend is of Ariadne, who helps Theseus, a troubled knight. With her sister Phaedra, Ariadne plots a way for Theseus to fight and defeat the Minotaur, and then escape. In return, he asks to serve Ariadne. She refuses, saying she will be his wife, as they are each of noble degree. After Theseus defeats the monster, all three escape, and Theseus marries Ariadne. During the voyage, the group spends the night on an island. While Ariadne sleeps, Theseus leaves, taking the fairer Phaedra. Upon wakening, Ariadne realizes she has been betrayed and begins a long lament of woe, which Chaucer abbreviates.

Philomela's legend is the seventh of the collection. Philomela, the sister of Procne, is raped by her brother-in-law, Tereus. Afterward, he shuts her up in a castle and cuts out her tongue. Tereus returns to Procne, saying that Philomela is dead. Meanwhile, Philomela weaves a tapestry that spells out Tereus's crime. A ser

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