Troilus and Cressida: by Shakespeare - Summary

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      Troilus and Cressida is a play by William Shakespeare, published in Quarto in 1609 as well as in the First Folio of 1623. Shakespeare’s telling of the story owe something to oral tradition as well as to translations of Homer and, perhaps, to Lydgate and to Chaucer.

      The story of the doomed love of Troilus and Cressida is interwoven with events in the Trojar war, in particular the death of Hector, the play's only consistently high-principled character. During a truce in the war, the weary Troilus confesses his love for Cressida to her uncle, Pandarus. True to his name, Pandarus contrives their meeting and oversees their love-making.

      The Greek generals arc quite as jaded with the war as most of their Trojan counterparts. In particular, the effeminate and indulgent behavior of Achilles has damaged morale. It is at Achilles that Hector's challenge to single combat is directed, and the devious Greek generals attempt to maneuver him into confrontation with Hector.

      Cressida's father Calchas, a seer, has deserted to the Greek camp. Wishing to be reunited with his daughter, he persuades the Greeks to offer a captured Trojan general in exchange for Cressida, and Diomedes arrives in Troy to collect her. Having promised eternal love to Troilus, Cressida finds herself admired and flattered by the Greeks. She becomes Diomedes' mistress.

      Hector fights Ajax, but withdraws at the point of victory because he will not harm anyone related to his father's family. Achilles offers Hector hospitality on the eve of renewed hostility between Greeks and Trojans. The next day Troilus, embittered by Cressida's faithlessness, fights fiercely. Hector, having killed Achilles' friend Patroclus, is deceitfully murdered b Achilles. As the Trojans prepare to continue the - war, Pandarus leaves Troy, rejected by Troilus, whose abuse of Pandarus is an attack also on the concupiscent Cressida.

      Troilus and Cressida is neither a comedy nor a tragedy. Often grouped with the problem plays. All's Well that Ends Well and Measure for - Measure, it is more accurately a tragicomedy than either of these associated pieces. It is not the least dispiriting feature of the play that the invective and cynicism of the scabrous Greek soldier other sites should be truer to our experience of it than the nobility of Hector.

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