Chaucer's Poetry

Chaucer's Visions: When the God of Love Reveals the Love of God College

In Love Visions, Chaucer uses the medieval tradition of dream exposition to comment on the societal draw toward the love idealized in a subset of medieval literature. Throughout the first three poems, Chaucer deftly parodies societal norms: his exaggerated descriptions and overly dramatic characters provide subtle hints to the ultimate goal of the poems. The last poem, The Legend of Good Women, takes Chaucer’s admonition of the superficial love presented in many books of his time even further. In this final poem, Chaucer not only rejects that the love praised in legends is truly love, but asserts that the only true love comes from God. Through his meticulously crafted love vision, Chaucer asks readers to turn from their worldly perceptions of love and look to God for authentic, satisfying, and perfect love.

The Legend of Good Women begins much like Chaucer’s other poems in Love Visions: a lovesick Chaucer falls asleep and has a dream. When he awakens in the dream world, the God of Love and Alcestis, his queen, approach him. The God of Love is furious with Chaucer because he “[lied] about [the God of Love’s] devotees/Misrepresenting them in [his] translation” (lines 249-250). The God of Love feels cheated out of his followers...

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