Into the World of Geoffrey Chaucer

An Exploration of Chaucer’s “A Complaint to his Lady” and it’s Adherence to the Tradition of Courtly Love, and the Sophistication of his Later Writing.

Please feel free to read and leave your thoughts!

This was my A level “Extended Project”, and I chose to focus on the obscure early poem of Chaucer’s, “A Complaint to his Lady”. I looked into its structure, themes, and the tradition of courtly love, and eventually compared this to some of his later writing, specifically the works included in his ‘Canterbury Tales’. The project unfortunately lacks the referencing sophistication that I have been introduced to since beginning university however contains a complete bibliography of the sources used within the project. I am immensely proud of the project nonetheless, and consider it to be one of the cornerstones of my English Literature portfolio.

The final product is an essay in three parts, detailing Chaucer’s poem, ‘A Complaint to his Lady’. The question asked was “To what extent does ‘A Complaint to his Lady’ adhere to the courtly love tradition?” It contains analysis of both the features of courtly love and in equal part, its divergence from the tradition. It also includes an extended appendix of research and additional information collected in the process of production.

In conclusion, Chaucer does not follow the tradition of courtly love strictly, and defies many aspects of chivalric protocol; he does not subvert or present satirically, the concept of courtly love as developed by Petrarch and Boccaccio. The structure of the poem is highly experimental and changes style significantly four times throughout the poem.



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