The Appropriation of the Genre of Testament and the Fall of Cresseid in Robert Henryson’s Testament of Cresseid

이지혜/Geehye Rhee

2018, vol.28, no.2, pp. 175-193

Henryson’s Testament of Cresseid does not fit into the generic features of the romance. Instead, it incorporates various genres, such as the moral fable and the testament. In particular, Henryson adopts the genre of the testament, which was in fashion at the time. Controversy surrounds whether The Testament of Cresseid should be considered a testament since Henryson mostly describes the life of Cresseid after her betrayal of Troilus while showing her testament in only fourteen lines of the poem. However, Henryson still names his poem The Testament of Cresseid, which shows that the poem is not about the Cresseid who is punished, but about the Cresseid who is excused and saved through her testament. Considering that it was not common for a medieval woman to leave a will, Henryson gives Cresseid an opportunity to raise her own voice. This again highlights the theme of The Testament of Cresseid as a testament.