The Pandering of Pandarus

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Samantha Crane / McKendree University
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Though Geoffrey Chaucer's second-longest work, Troilus and Criseyde, appears to be about two lovers, another character, Pandarus, receives more of the spotlight than any other individual. Chaucer adds hundreds of lines to his source, Giovanni Boccaccio's Il Filostrato, throughout Books I through IV. In fact, Chaucer more than doubles Pandarus' lines to a total count of just over 1,800 (Modarellia 404). These lines develop Pandarus' character and give readers a better understanding of what kind of man he is – talkative, meddling, conniving and possibly even appalling. Throughout the majority of the work, Pandarus controls the action, effectively writing his own personal love story. These acts include bullying Troilus, betraying Criseyde and constantly weaving elaborate lies. By examining Pandarus' movements and speeches, readers can see that his motive is far from noble and borders on despicable.