bookshelves: autumn-2013, classic, historical-fiction, published-1385, poetry, epic-proportions, war, radio-4x, lit-richer, troy, love, medieval5c-16c, ancient-history
Recommended for: Laura, Susanna
Read from October 18 to 21, 2013
Listen here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/...
BBC BLURB: Dramatisation of Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde.
One of the great works of English literature, this powerful, compelling story explores love from its first tentative beginnings through to passionate sensuality and eventual tragic disillusionment. Lavinia Greenlaw's new version for radio brings Chaucer's language up-to-date for a modern audience while remaining true to his original poetic intention.
After seeing the beautiful widow Criseyde at the temple in Troy, Troilus falls instantly in love with her. Inexperienced in love, he is unable to act on his feelings and locks himself in his room to compose love songs. Pandarus, worried for his friend, eventually persuades Troilus to tell him why he is so miserable and is delighted to hear that the cause is Troilus' love for his niece Criseyde.
Worried about her reputation, Criseyde is at first reluctant to enter into a relationship with Troilus. After much cajoling and manipulation, she reluctantly comes around to the idea. Pandarus is frustrated that the relationship is moving too slowly and engineers a complex plan to get Criseyde and Troilus in bed together.
Troilus ...... Tom Ferguson
Criseyde ...... Maxine Peake
Pandarus ...... Malcolm Raeburn
Servant/Friend ...... Kathryn Hunt
Calchas/Servant ...... Kevin Doyle
Priam/Servant ...... Terence Mann
Hector/Diomede ...... Declan Wilson
With music composed by Gary Yershon and performed by Ehsan Emam, Tim
Williams and Mike Dale.
1. Criseyde is a young widow, so her uncle Pandarus introduces her to Trojan hero Troilus.
2. Troilus and Criseyde are in love, but she's about to be handed over to the Greeks.
Directed by Susan Roberts....Continua
This undoubtedly is a very attractive subject. The poem is beautiful and comprehensive in its approach to human relationships. Troilus, though depicted as a strong, virile young warrior, often appears weak and sloppy. But this is how the love affair has affected him. He can think of nothing else; his mind is occupied with Criseyde. He cannot concentrate. Like many a young lover he even threatens to kill himself because he is completely overwhelmed, and controlled by love for Criseyde. We might like to see a more bold, and unaffected, hero but Chaucer has got it right - this is more true to life. This is the effect love has upon its victim - it incapacitates. Nothing and no one else matters.
Toilus' friend, Pandarus, is a real character! He has so much life, so much feeling, so much imagination in his approach to a solution to Troilus' problem. He is full of humour one moment. The next he is suffering with Troilus. Then a moment later he's witty and laughing.
Criseyde is a disappointment, to say the least (But then we know she's going to fail Troilus - the back cover gives it all away. Why do publishers do that? - it spoils it for the reader who doesn't know the story!). The change, however, is so sudden it surprises. There is no sign of it coming in their love making. She doesn't intend to be unfaithful, but unexpected circumstances challenge her commitment to Troilus, and the temptation is too strong for her.
One surprise - and a matter of great delight for me - was to find in such a massive poem a long theological discussion on Free Will and Foreknowledge. To encounter such a subject dealt with in this type of poem was a real surprise, and Chaucer controls the discussion magnificently. Many a theologian has written a long, boring, and incomprehensible, tome on such a theme, but Chaucer manages to use the medium of a poem to make it easy to understand!...Continua