Ringing Chaucer's Bells: Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida and Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde
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In my reading of criticism about Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida, I have constantly found it assumed that Shakespeare knew of Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde when he wrote his play, but that his debt to the earlier poet was not great. Certainly Chaucer was not Shakespeare's only source, nor even the predominant one. The Troilus and Cressida Shakespeare would have known were quite different from the ones Chaucer knew. That the story had gone through many transformations between the fourteenth and seventeenth centuries has been shown by Hyder Rollins in "The Troilus-Cressida Story from Chaucer to Shakespeare". Following Chaucer's treatment of it, the story was retold time and time again by less sympathetic writers, until the characters' names became synonyms: Troilus for a true lover, Cressid for a false one, and Pandar for a bawd.