List iconTroilus and CressidaList icon

Troilus and Cressida
Act 1, scene 1

Synopsis:

Contents

Characters in the Play

Entire Play

Set during the Trojan War, Troilus and Cressida recounts the love affair of its title characters. Inside the besieged city of Troy,…

Preface

This preface appears in some copies of the play’s first printing in quarto in 1609.

Prologue

Act 1, scene 1

Troilus refuses to fight because he is too disturbed by his unrequited love for Cressida. Pandarus, her uncle, complains of…

Act 1, scene 2

Cressida gossips with her servant Alexander, and then with Pandarus, who strives to interest her in Troilus. After Pandarus and…

Act 1, scene 3

As the general, Agamemnon, and his councillors Nestor and Ulysses discuss the refusal of their principal warriors, Achilles and Ajax,…

Act 2, scene 1

Ajax beats Thersites for refusing to tell him the terms of the challenge, terms that are provided by Achilles when…

Act 2, scene 2

The Trojan leaders discuss whether to keep Helen and thereby continue the war. They decide to do so in spite…

Act 2, scene 3

Thersites rails against Achilles and Ajax, and then, joined by Achilles and Patroclus, ridicules them to their faces. As Agamemnon…

Act 3, scene 1

Pandarus asks Paris to make excuses for Troilus’s absence from his father Priam’s supper table that night. At Helen’s insistence,…

Act 3, scene 2

Pandarus brings together Troilus and a seemingly reluctant Cressida, who finally acknowledges her love for Troilus.

Act 3, scene 3

Calchas asks the Greek leaders to demand his daughter Cressida from the Trojans in exchange for Antenor, whom the Greeks…

Act 4, scene 1

Aeneas, summoned to Priam’s palace, meets Paris and a deputation from the Greek camp bringing Antenor to be exchanged for…

Act 4, scene 2

As morning breaks after Troilus and Cressida’s night of lovemaking, Troilus, Pandarus, and Cressida each learn in turn that Cressida…

Act 4, scene 3

Paris sends Troilus to bring Cressida to Diomedes.

Act 4, scene 4

As Troilus and Cressida part, he urges her to be faithful to him, and he promises to visit her in…

Act 4, scene 5

The Greek leaders, Menelaus and Ulysses excepted, kiss Cressida as Diomedes brings her to the Greek camp. After Hector and…

Act 5, scene 1

Achilles receives a letter from Queen Hecuba of Troy requiring him to keep an oath he has sworn to seek…

Act 5, scene 2

Diomedes pressures Cressida to keep her promise to have sex with him; they are overheard by an enraged Troilus, an…

Act 5, scene 3

Andromache and Cassandra enlist Priam in their efforts to persuade Hector to refrain from battle. He, in turn, futilely attempts…

Act 5, scene 4

A railing Thersites watches Troilus and Diomedes go off fighting and, surprised by Hector, escapes death only through the Trojan’s…

Act 5, scene 5

Diomedes sends the horse he has won from Troilus to Cressida. Agamemnon and Nestor recount the slaughter of Greeks by…

Act 5, scene 6

Troilus fights both Diomedes and Ajax. Hector bests Achilles but allows him to live, and pursues another Greek in order…

Act 5, scene 7

Achilles, now accompanied by Myrmidons, searches for Hector.

Act 5, scene 8

Thersites comments on the combat between Menelaus and Paris. Then, surprised by Priam’s bastard son, Thersites escapes by refusing to…

Act 5, scene 9

Hector, having killed the Greek in the splendid armor, unarms himself and is surprised by Achilles, who orders his Myrmidons…

Act 5, scene 10

The rest of the Greek forces hear the shouts of the Myrmidons announcing Hector’s death.

Act 5, scene 11

Troilus announces Hector’s death to the Trojans. Marching back to Troy, Troilus meets Pandarus and reviles him.

Include links to:

Images
Glosses
Audio
Video
Essays
Quill icon
Scene 1
Enter Pandarus and Troilus.

TROILUS 
 Call here my varlet; I’ll unarm again.
 Why should I war without the walls of Troy
 That find such cruel battle here within?
 Each Trojan that is master of his heart,
5 Let him to field; Troilus, alas, hath none.
PANDARUS Will this gear ne’er be mended?
TROILUS 
 The Greeks are strong and skilful to their strength,
 Fierce to their skill, and to their fierceness valiant;
 But I am weaker than a woman’s tear,
10 Tamer than sleep, fonder than ignorance,
 Less valiant than the virgin in the night,
 And skilless as unpracticed infancy.
PANDARUS Well, I have told you enough of this. For my
 part, I’ll not meddle nor make no farther. He that will
15 have a cake out of the wheat must tarry the grinding.
TROILUS Have I not tarried?
PANDARUS Ay, the grinding; but you must tarry the
 bolting.
TROILUS Have I not tarried?
PANDARUS 20Ay, the bolting; but you must tarry the
 leavening.
15

17
Troilus and Cressida
ACT 1. SC. 1

TROILUS Still have I tarried.
PANDARUS Ay, to the leavening; but here’s yet in the word
 hereafter the kneading, the making of the cake, the
25 heating the oven, and the baking. Nay, you must stay
 the cooling too, or you may chance burn your lips.
TROILUS 
 Patience herself, what goddess e’er she be,
 Doth lesser blench at suff’rance than I do.
 At Priam’s royal table do I sit
30 And when fair Cressid comes into my thoughts—
 So, traitor! “When she comes”? When is she
 thence?
PANDARUS Well, she looked yesternight fairer than ever
 I saw her look, or any woman else.
TROILUS 
35 I was about to tell thee: when my heart,
 As wedgèd with a sigh, would rive in twain,
 Lest Hector or my father should perceive me,
 I have, as when the sun doth light a-scorn,
 Buried this sigh in wrinkle of a smile;
40 But sorrow that is couched in seeming gladness
 Is like that mirth fate turns to sudden sadness.
PANDARUS An her hair were not somewhat darker than
 Helen’s—well, go to—there were no more comparison
 between the women. But, for my part, she is
45 my kinswoman; I would not, as they term it, praise
 her, but I would somebody had heard her talk yesterday,
 as I did. I will not dispraise your sister Cassandra’s
 wit, but—
TROILUS 
 O, Pandarus! I tell thee, Pandarus:
50 When I do tell thee there my hopes lie drowned,
 Reply not in how many fathoms deep
 They lie indrenched. I tell thee I am mad
 In Cressid’s love. Thou answer’st she is fair;
 Pourest in the open ulcer of my heart

19
Troilus and Cressida
ACT 1. SC. 1

55 Her eyes, her hair, her cheek, her gait, her voice;
 Handiest in thy discourse—O—that her hand,
 In whose comparison all whites are ink
 Writing their own reproach, to whose soft seizure
 The cygnet’s down is harsh, and spirit of sense
60 Hard as the palm of plowman. This thou tell’st me,
 As true thou tell’st me, when I say I love her.
 But, saying thus, instead of oil and balm
 Thou lay’st in every gash that love hath given me
 The knife that made it.
PANDARUS 65I speak no more than truth.
TROILUS Thou dost not speak so much.
PANDARUS Faith, I’ll not meddle in it. Let her be as she
 is. If she be fair, ’tis the better for her; an she be
 not, she has the mends in her own hands.
TROILUS 70Good Pandarus—how now, Pandarus?
PANDARUS I have had my labor for my travail, ill thought
 on of her, and ill thought on of you; gone between
 and between, but small thanks for my labor.
TROILUS What, art thou angry, Pandarus? What, with
75 me?
PANDARUS Because she’s kin to me, therefore she’s not
 so fair as Helen; an she were not kin to me, she
 would be as fair o’ Friday as Helen is on Sunday.
 But what care I? I care not an she were a blackamoor;
80 ’tis all one to me.
TROILUS Say I she is not fair?
PANDARUS I do not care whether you do or no. She’s a
 fool to stay behind her father. Let her to the Greeks,
 and so I’ll tell her the next time I see her. For my
85 part, I’ll meddle nor make no more i’ th’ matter.
TROILUS Pandarus—
PANDARUS Not I.
TROILUS Sweet Pandarus—
PANDARUS Pray you speak no more to me. I will leave
90 all as I found it, and there an end.He exits.

21
Troilus and Cressida
ACT 1. SC. 1

Sound alarum.
TROILUS 
 Peace, you ungracious clamors! Peace, rude sounds!
 Fools on both sides! Helen must needs be fair
 When with your blood you daily paint her thus.
 I cannot fight upon this argument;
95 It is too starved a subject for my sword.
 But Pandarus—O gods, how do you plague me!
 I cannot come to Cressid but by Pandar,
 And he’s as tetchy to be wooed to woo
 As she is stubborn-chaste against all suit.
100 Tell me, Apollo, for thy Daphnes love,
 What Cressid is, what Pandar, and what we.
 Her bed is India; there she lies, a pearl.
 Between our Ilium and where she resides,
 Let it be called the wild and wand’ring flood,
105 Ourself the merchant, and this sailing Pandar
 Our doubtful hope, our convoy, and our bark.

Alarum. Enter Aeneas.

AENEAS 
 How now, Prince Troilus? Wherefore not afield?
TROILUS 
 Because not there. This woman’s answer sorts,
 For womanish it is to be from thence.
110 What news, Aeneas, from the field today?
AENEAS 
 That Paris is returnèd home, and hurt.
TROILUS 
 By whom, Aeneas?
AENEAS  Troilus, by Menelaus.
TROILUS 
 Let Paris bleed. ’Tis but a scar to scorn;
115 Paris is gored with Menelaus’ horn.
Alarum.

23
Troilus and Cressida
ACT 1. SC. 2

AENEAS 
 Hark what good sport is out of town today!
TROILUS 
 Better at home, if “would I might” were “may.”
 But to the sport abroad. Are you bound thither?
AENEAS 
 In all swift haste.
TROILUS 120 Come, go we then together.
They exit.