vant brings it to Procne, who finds her sister and rescues her from the castle.
The eighth legend tells of Phyllis and Demophon, the son of Theseus, who are betrothed. Despite his promise, Demophon leaves and never comes back. When he does not return, Phyllis, full of sorrow, kills herself. Before she does, however, she writes Demophon a letter expressing her desire to have him return, and outlining the woe she suffers because of his loss.
The final legend is that of Hypermnestra's love for her husband and her father. Hypermnestra is to marry Lyno, but her father believes that only ill will come of such a union. He instructs Hypermnestra to murder Lyno while he sleeps. Hypermnestra decides not to murder her husband, and instead helps him escape. He does, but she is caught, imprisoned, and sentenced to death.
The main critical discussion of the Legend is whether it actually endorses the types of female behavior that it describes. The best-known source for such a collection is Ovid's Heroides, a series of letter-poems composed as if written by women lamenting their betrayal by men. However, the legend is not all about women and their troubles, as the men, overall, fare rather well. Each legend contains as many lines about the errant men as it does about their female subjects. Composed in this way, the narrative leaves open the possibility for textual and narrative misogyny, making The Legend of Good Women really the "Legend of men who got away with boorish behavior." Another interesting avenue of scholarship examines the role of lovesickness in the Legend, as the women in the poem suffer from this affliction. Finally, another body of criticism looks at the violent implications in the relentless deaths of the female protagonists.
Lerer, Seth. The Yale Companion to Chaucer. New Haven,
Conn., and London: Yale University Press, 2006. Pearsall, Derek. The Life of Geoffrey Chaucer. Oxford: Blackwell, 1994.
Quinn, William A. Chaucer's Dream Visions and Shorter Poems. New York and London: Garland Publishing, 1999.
Kimberly A. Racon
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