Chaucer the realistic storyteller – as opposed to the sentimental narrator who sings of the joys of courtly love – exposes the fallacy, lie, and deceit of courtly love in Books IV and V when the love of Troilus and Criseyde is tested by the events of the war and the prisoner exchange involving Antenor and Criseyde. The last events of the story that play out prove that courtly love – despite all the flowery rhetoric of its proponents – is not the pure, idealistic, glamorous, heavenly love that the courtly lovers and poets proclaim it to be.
The first final event that proves that courtly love is not the pure love that the courtly lovers and poets declare it to be is when Criseyde is pressured to love Troilus. Pandarus tries to get Criseyde to recognize Troilus’ emotions – on how he feels about her. She does not accept Troilus’s love right away.
Pandarus and Troilus tell Criseyde that if she does not consider Troilus to be a love interest then both of them will commit suicide. Even so, they make marital-like vows before parting ways with each other. Then Troilus tries to elope with Criseyde, but she refuses to do so.
Thus this is proof that courtly love – despite all its flowery rhetoric of its proponents is not the pure love that they claim it to be.Next, courtly love is not at all idealistic as seen when Troilus is seen abandoned by Criseyde. Troilus waited day after day for Criseyde, but she never came back to him.
“For when he saw that she stayed away so long, he did not know what to make of it, since she had broken her promise to him” (Chaucer 141-142). Troilus tells Pandarus “my fair lady, Criseyde, has betrayed me, in whom I trusted most of anyone” (Chaucer 142). Criseyde admits to this saying, “For now my name for loyalty in love is completely gone forever more! For I have betrayed the noblest man that ever was, and the most deserving!” (Chaucer 139). Even though Criseyde had loved him in the beginning, Criseyde now accepts Diomede as her new lover. Their love was meaningless in a way that their relationship did not really matter. Criseyde could have left Troilus any time she wanted to.
Once again there is proof that courtly love is not the most idealistic as it seems to be. Finally, the concluding events of this story indeed show that courtly love is not glamorous. The courtly love between Troilus and Criseyde is not beautiful at all. In brief, Chaucer has proven that courtly love is not the pure, idealistic, glamorous, heavenly love that the courtly lovers and poets proclaim it to be.