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Written by Timothy Sexton
Cupid accuses the narrator (a stand-in for Chaucer himself) of being heretic in violation of the laws of the love and for writing less than flattering portrayal of women. These attacks take place in a dream vision, it is worth nothing.
The ancient mythological love god who appears to the narrator in a dream to make those accusations of heresy and misogyny.
Alceste also appears in that dream alongside Cupid and she offers some sage advice to Chaucer on the subject of avoiding everlasting damnation from Cupid for his heretical ways: craft a legend of good women who remain forever true to their beloveds. This is a thing not commonly found in the works of Chaucer; at least, according to Cupid.
Cleopatra and Antony
What could be a greater display of true love than a willingness to bring a poisonous snake to your breast to take a bite because you find you cannot go on living once your beloved has himself died? Such is the story of Cleopatra and Antony.
Thisbe and Pyramus
Another legendary couple that would later be incorporated into dramatic form by William Shakespeare that Chaucer covers in his legends of the good women. And, interestingly, another tale of a woman who proves her love true by doing herself in after her man bites the big one first.
Dido and Aeneas
Dido is the Queen of Carthage. Aeneas seduces and abandons her. She also kills herself, but out of grief for having loved not wisely but well.
Hypsipyle, Medea, Creusa and Jason
Jason messes around with the Queen of Lemnos before dropping her for Medea before betraying her for the daughter of the King of Corinth. All good women done in by one bad man.
Lucretia, Colatyne and Tarquinius
Lucretia is devoted to her husband Colatyne and so when she is raped by Tarquinius she proves her love is true by killing herself for the purpose of saving her husband from living with the shame of being married to a rape victim. While there seems to be a definite flaw in the logic here as far as the purpose of writing about good women, that flaws goes unnoticed.
Ariadne and Theseus
Ariadne is the daughter of the King of Crete who is seduced and abandoned by the Athenian prince Theseus before they make it back to his homeland.
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