Dream Vision and Other Poems Chaucer's Earliest Term Paper

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Dream Vision and Other Poems

Chaucer's earliest poem, the "Book of the Duchess," was believed to have been written for Chaucer's patron John of Gaunt after the death of his wife, Blanche, the Duchess of Lancaster. Inside of the poem, it is the Dreamer who is the voice of reason and the voice of consolation when he encounters the Black Knight in his dream. The Black Knight is all intense emotion at the loss of his wife and the Dreamer and the Knight begin a conversation together that discusses the importance of love. The Dreamer and the Black Knight have a rough time of it at first in that they both cannot understand each other; eventually, they are more and more able to understand what the other is talking about. Chaucer's Dreamer in the "Book of the Duchess" tries to offer the Black Knight some sort of consolation for his loss and the poem, as a whole, appears to suggest that humans must accept the fact that people die in this world; that is the only consolation one can find. The reader gets the impression that though the Dreamer tries to offer his consolation to the Knight, there is no consolation when it comes to death and grieving; it is simply something that we must accept as being a part of the temporal world. The poem is about finding consolation in a world where love and death are imminent.

The Black Knight and the Dreamer engage in a dialogue where we get a feeling of Chaucer's need to tell us of the importance of courtly love (Fichte 38) before the poem goes on to tell us of the Knight's tragedy in losing his wife. We are first made aware of the Black Knight's love for his lady when he explains how he feels in the following speech:

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'Syr,' quod he, 'sith first I kouthe / Have any maner wyt fro youthe, / or kyndely understondyng / to comprehende, in any thyng / What love was, in myn owne wyt, / Dredeles, I have ever yit / Be tributarye and yiven rente / to Love, hooly with good entente, / and through plesuance become his thral / With good wille, body, hert, and al (Chaucer 11 759-768).

TOPIC: Term Paper on Dream Vision and Other Poems Chaucer's Earliest Assignment

In the speech above, the Knight explains that ever since he was young and could have any comprehension of what love is, he has tried to pay tribute to that love with the best intentions possible. It has been with pleasure that he has given his body, heart and soul to love, treating love as his Lord. It is this speech, this outpouring of emotion for his wife, that Chaucer uses to explain how very important love is to the person in love. He has treated love as his Lord, which means that he has worshipped his lady in the temporal world. Now what is he supposed to do that she is gone? This is what mankind struggles with.

The Dreamer understands that the Knight is grieving for his wife and thus he tries to offer him some sort of consolation. The consolation that Chaucer offers is both clever and subtle; it is not direct and the reader has to have… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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"Dream Vision and Other Poems Chaucer's Earliest."  Essaytown.com.  February 15, 2011.  Accessed December 5, 2021.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/dream-vision-poems-chaucer-earliest/129.