Troilus and Cressida | William Shakespeare | Neb English Support Class 12

Troilus and Cressida | William Shakespeare | Neb English Support Class 12
Neb English Support Class 12

Troilus and Cressida | William Shakespeare | Neb English Support Class 12

Troilus and Cressida 

Table of Contents



Troilus and Cressida by William Shakespeare 

Troilus loves Cressida much, but she betrays him; Achilles is in love with Patroclus, but he is killed; later the Trojan War goes on; no one is joyous at last.



Troilus and Cressida by William Shakespeare 

Trojan Prince Troilus falls in love with beautiful Cressida as war rages around them.  After swearing to be faithful, Cressida is taken to the Greek camp, where she later agrees to see another man. Troilus witnesses infidelity (unfaithfulness) of Cressida and vows to put more effort into the war. The play ends after more deaths on both sides, and with no resolution in sight.



Troilus and Cressida by William Shakespeare 

Act I

During the time of the Trojan War, King Agamemnon along with his brother Menelaus presides over the Greek encampment. They work with Ulysses and Nestor, their counsellors. Their great soldier Achilles is refusing to fight. Instead, Achilles keeps on spending his time complaining about his Greek commanders to his friend Patroclus (perhaps more than a friend).

In Troy, King Priam argues with Hector and Paris, his two sons, Paris had stolen Menelaus' wife Helen seven years earlier, starting the Trojan War. Arguments concern whether they should send Helen back and end the conflict.  But they decide to continue the fight. The Princes' sister Cassandra predicts the destruction of all. Their younger brother, Troilus, is becoming increasingly distracted by the conflict. He meets and falls in love with a woman named Cressida, whose father, Calchas, has defected to the Greek camp.

Trojan warrior Hector challenges Greece to send its most powerful warrior to fight one-on-one.


Cressida's uncle, Pandarus, helps Troilus and Cressida consummate their union by sleeping together. The same night, the father of   Cressida arranges to exchange his daughter for a Trojan prisoner. Despite her protests against this act, Cressida is sent to her father.  Cressida swears her eternal loyalty towards Troilus.

On the Greek side, the commanders respond to Hector's challenge by sending Ajax instead of Achilles. They hope that this will hurt the pride of Achilles and arouse in him the will to fight. But Hector withdraws from the fight in the meantime as Ajax is related to his family.  Meanwhile, Thersites, a Greek slave, laments against all mankind and the folly of war and conflict.

Act IV

In the Greek camp, a Prince called Diomedes befriends Cressida. At the same time, Troilus secretly leaves Troy to search for her. On the other hand, Cressida does not know, and she responds to Diomedes' friendship. Troilus and Ulysses overhear their encounter.  Heartbroken, Troilus learns that Cressida has broken her vow of loyalty. He returns to the city to fight the Greeks.

Act V

In the final battle, Hector kills Patroclus, prompting Achilles to finally join the fight.  While originally overcome by Hector, Achilles becomes successful to trap him. Hector, unarmed, is killed by a detachment of Achilles' soldiers. Troilus vows to avenge his brother's death as well as (inwardly) for Cressida and the loss of his youthful innocence. Cressida's uncle, Pandarus, ends the play cynically. He finds no hope for a world where politics overrules the desires and needs of the individual.



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