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History of Troilus and Cressida   By: (1564-1616)

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History of Troilus and Cressida is a captivating play that seamlessly weaves together elements of love, war, and politics. Written by the literary mastermind William Shakespeare, this lesser-known work offers a fresh perspective on the Trojan War and challenges conventional notions of heroism and chivalry.

Set during the final year of the Trojan War, the story revolves around the ill-fated romance between Troilus, a Trojan prince, and Cressida, a beautiful and intelligent woman. Shakespeare brilliantly explores the complexities of their relationship, highlighting the fickleness of love and the blurred lines between loyalty and betrayal. The characters are deeply flawed and human, allowing readers to connect with their struggles and conflicting emotions.

One of the most striking aspects of this play is Shakespeare's critique of war and its devastating consequences. Through the portrayal of the Greek and Trojan heroes, he exposes the dark underbelly of warfare, where honor and glory are often replaced by deceit and self-interest. This cynical view of war is a departure from other works of the time, and it serves as a thought-provoking commentary on the destructive nature of conflict.

What sets History of Troilus and Cressida apart from Shakespeare's other plays is its multi-layered approach to storytelling. Alongside the central love story, numerous subplots and parallel narratives add depth and richness to the overall narrative. From the political maneuvering of the Greek and Trojan leaders to the comedic antics of the Thersites, each thread intertwines to create a tapestry of human emotions and experiences.

Shakespeare's mastery of language is evident throughout the play. The dialogue is poetic and powerful, showcasing his ability to convey complex emotions in a concise and vivid manner. His use of metaphors and imagery adds depth to the text and creates a captivating atmosphere that keeps readers engaged from start to finish.

However, the dense language and intricate plot may pose a challenge for some readers. The numerous characters and their allegiances can be overwhelming at times, requiring careful attention to fully grasp the nuances of the story. Additionally, the cynical tone and ambiguous ending may not satisfy those seeking a more traditional and uplifting narrative.

Despite its relative obscurity, History of Troilus and Cressida is a significant addition to Shakespeare's illustrious body of work. It offers a thought-provoking exploration of love, war, and human nature that lingers long after the final act. With its complex characters, poetic language, and timeless themes, this play is a true testament to Shakespeare's enduring genius.

First Page:



by William Shakespeare


PRIAM, King of Troy


MARGARELON, a bastard son of Priam

Trojan commanders: AENEAS ANTENOR

CALCHAS, a Trojan priest, taking part with the Greeks PANDARUS, uncle to Cressida AGAMEMNON, the Greek general MENELAUS, his brother Greek commanders: ACHILLES AJAX ULYSSES NESTOR DIOMEDES PATROCLUS

THERSITES, a deformed and scurrilous Greek ALEXANDER, servant to Cressida SERVANT to Troilus SERVANT to Paris SERVANT to Diomedes

HELEN, wife to Menelaus ANDROMACHE, wife to Hector CASSANDRA, daughter to Priam, a prophetess CRESSIDA, daughter to Calchas

Trojan and Greek Soldiers, and Attendants

SCENE: Troy and the Greek camp before it


In Troy, there lies the scene. From isles of Greece The princes orgillous, their high blood chaf'd, Have to the port of Athens sent their ships Fraught with the ministers and instruments Of cruel war. Sixty and nine that wore Their crownets regal from th' Athenian bay Put forth toward Phrygia; and their vow is made To ransack Troy, within whose strong immures The ravish'd Helen, Menelaus' queen, With wanton Paris sleeps and that's the quarrel... Continue reading book >>

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