Troilus and Criseyde

Chaucer's Use of "Tender" in Troilus and Criseyde

Chaucer is known for his talent at pushing his readers to step outside their preconceived notions regarding genre, characters, and themes. In addition to this, Chaucer uses words with double meanings to create ambiguity and depth throughout his works. Troilus and Criseyde is no different in this respect. Throughout Troilus and Criseyde, Chaucer uses the word "tendre" several times, using its various meanings to make the reader question the intentions of the characters.

According to the Middle English Dictionary, the adjective form of "tendre" has seven different meanings in medieval texts. Chaucer employs all but two of those meanings in Troilus and Criseyde. The meanings that Chaucer employs are as follows: "Immature, young; unsophisticated, innocent, naÃve; also unblemished, spotless"; "Physically sensitive, esp. to pain; susceptible to injury, vulnerable;...easily injured, fragile"; "Of a plant, part of a plant: fresh, new-grown; not hardy, delicate"; "Physically weak; debilitated, enfeebled, morally week, unable to resist temptation; also impressionable"; "Sorrowful, heartfelt; piteous, painful, touching; (b) easily moved; of the heart: compassionate,...

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