The Parliament of Foules

Chaucer wrote the poem ‘The Parliament of Foules’ in the 15th century. It is a dream-vision poem about a group of birds who gather together to partner for the year. Each bird makes a case for the bird that they would like to partner with. The poem is written in Middle English.

In the section of the poem that I chose to interpret, a ‘royal’ eagle proclaims his love for another eagle. I was interested in how a poem could be re-imagined as a performance and I began investigating the character of the eagle in light of the research I had been doing for my dissertation, which was concerned with the origins of romantic tradition in the courtly love literature of the Middle Ages. I experimented with visualising a declaration of love, and linking this with the performative realm of the theatre seemed appropriate.