List iconTroilus and Cressida:
Act 1, scene 2
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Troilus and Cressida
Act 1, scene 2



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,…


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


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.

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Scene 2
Enter Cressida and her man Alexander.

 Who were those went by?
ALEXANDER  Queen Hecuba and Helen.
 And whither go they?
ALEXANDER  Up to the eastern tower,
5 Whose height commands as subject all the vale,
 To see the battle. Hector, whose patience
 Is as a virtue fixed, today was moved.
 He chid Andromache and struck his armorer;
 And, like as there were husbandry in war,
10 Before the sun rose he was harnessed light,
 And to the field goes he, where every flower
 Did as a prophet weep what it foresaw
 In Hector’s wrath.
CRESSIDA  What was his cause of anger?
15 The noise goes, this: there is among the Greeks
 A lord of Trojan blood, nephew to Hector.
 They call him Ajax.
CRESSIDA  Good; and what of him?

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 1. SC. 2

 They say he is a very man per se
20 And stands alone.
CRESSIDA So do all men unless they are drunk, sick,
 or have no legs.
ALEXANDER This man, lady, hath robbed many beasts
 of their particular additions. He is as valiant as the
25 lion, churlish as the bear, slow as the elephant, a
 man into whom nature hath so crowded humors
 that his valor is crushed into folly, his folly sauced
 with discretion. There is no man hath a virtue that
 he hath not a glimpse of, nor any man an attaint
30 but he carries some stain of it. He is melancholy
 without cause and merry against the hair. He hath
 the joints of everything, but everything so out of
 joint that he is a gouty Briareus, many hands and
 no use, or purblind Argus, all eyes and no sight.
CRESSIDA 35But how should this man that makes me
 smile make Hector angry?
ALEXANDER They say he yesterday coped Hector in the
 battle and struck him down, the disdain and
 shame whereof hath ever since kept Hector fasting
40 and waking.

Enter Pandarus.

CRESSIDA Who comes here?
ALEXANDER Madam, your Uncle Pandarus.
CRESSIDA Hector’s a gallant man.
ALEXANDER As may be in the world, lady.
PANDARUS 45What’s that? What’s that?
CRESSIDA Good morrow, Uncle Pandarus.
PANDARUS Good morrow, Cousin Cressid. What do you
 talk of?— Good morrow, Alexander.—How do you,
 cousin? When were you at Ilium?
CRESSIDA 50This morning, uncle.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 1. SC. 2

PANDARUS What were you talking of when I came?
 Was Hector armed and gone ere you came to
 Ilium? Helen was not up, was she?
CRESSIDA Hector was gone, but Helen was not up.
PANDARUS 55E’en so. Hector was stirring early.
CRESSIDA That were we talking of, and of his anger.
PANDARUS Was he angry?
CRESSIDA So he says here.
PANDARUS True, he was so. I know the cause too. He’ll
60 lay about him today, I can tell them that; and
 there’s Troilus will not come far behind him. Let
 them take heed of Troilus, I can tell them that too.
CRESSIDA What, is he angry too?
PANDARUS Who, Troilus? Troilus is the better man of
65 the two.
CRESSIDA O Jupiter, there’s no comparison.
PANDARUS What, not between Troilus and Hector? Do
 you know a man if you see him?
CRESSIDA Ay, if I ever saw him before and knew him.
PANDARUS 70Well, I say Troilus is Troilus.
CRESSIDA Then you say as I say, for I am sure he is not
PANDARUS No, nor Hector is not Troilus in some degrees.
CRESSIDA ’Tis just to each of them; he is himself.
PANDARUS 75Himself? Alas, poor Troilus, I would he were.
CRESSIDA So he is.
PANDARUS Condition I had gone barefoot to India.
CRESSIDA He is not Hector.
PANDARUS Himself? No, he’s not himself. Would he
80 were himself! Well, the gods are above. Time must
 friend or end. Well, Troilus, well, I would my heart
 were in her body. No, Hector is not a better man
 than Troilus.
CRESSIDA Excuse me.
PANDARUS 85He is elder.
CRESSIDA Pardon me, pardon me.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 1. SC. 2

PANDARUS Th’ other’s not come to ’t. You shall tell me
 another tale when th’ other’s come to ’t. Hector
 shall not have his wit this year.
CRESSIDA 90He shall not need it, if he have his own.
PANDARUS Nor his qualities.
CRESSIDA No matter.
PANDARUS Nor his beauty.
CRESSIDA ’Twould not become him. His own ’s better.
PANDARUS 95You have no judgment, niece. Helen herself
 swore th’ other day that Troilus, for a brown favor—
 for so ’tis, I must confess—not brown neither—
CRESSIDA No, but brown.
PANDARUS Faith, to say truth, brown and not brown.
CRESSIDA 100To say the truth, true and not true.
PANDARUS She praised his complexion above Paris’.
CRESSIDA Why, Paris hath color enough.
PANDARUS So he has.
CRESSIDA Then Troilus should have too much. If she
105 praised him above, his complexion is higher than
 his. He having color enough, and the other higher,
 is too flaming a praise for a good complexion. I
 had as lief Helen’s golden tongue had commended
 Troilus for a copper nose.
PANDARUS 110I swear to you, I think Helen loves him better
 than Paris.
CRESSIDA Then she’s a merry Greek indeed.
PANDARUS Nay, I am sure she does. She came to him
 th’ other day into the compassed window—and
115 you know he has not past three or four hairs on his
CRESSIDA Indeed, a tapster’s arithmetic may soon bring
 his particulars therein to a total.
PANDARUS Why, he is very young, and yet will he within
120 three pound lift as much as his brother Hector.
CRESSIDA Is he so young a man and so old a lifter?

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 1. SC. 2

PANDARUS But to prove to you that Helen loves him: she
 came and puts me her white hand to his cloven
CRESSIDA 125Juno have mercy! How came it cloven?
PANDARUS Why, you know ’tis dimpled. I think his
 smiling becomes him better than any man in all
CRESSIDA O, he smiles valiantly.
PANDARUS 130Does he not?
CRESSIDA O yes, an ’twere a cloud in autumn.
PANDARUS Why, go to, then. But to prove to you that
 Helen loves Troilus—
CRESSIDA Troilus will stand to the proof if you’ll
135 prove it so.
PANDARUS Troilus? Why, he esteems her no more than
 I esteem an addle egg.
CRESSIDA If you love an addle egg as well as you love
 an idle head, you would eat chickens i’ th’ shell.
PANDARUS 140I cannot choose but laugh to think how she
 tickled his chin. Indeed, she has a marvellous
 white hand, I must needs confess—
CRESSIDA Without the rack.
PANDARUS And she takes upon her to spy a white hair
145 on his chin.
CRESSIDA Alas, poor chin! Many a wart is richer.
PANDARUS But there was such laughing! Queen Hecuba
 laughed that her eyes ran o’er—
CRESSIDA With millstones.
PANDARUS 150And Cassandra laughed—
CRESSIDA But there was a more temperate fire under
 the pot of her eyes. Did her eyes run o’er too?
PANDARUS And Hector laughed.
CRESSIDA At what was all this laughing?
PANDARUS 155Marry, at the white hair that Helen spied on
 Troilus’ chin.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 1. SC. 2

CRESSIDA An ’t had been a green hair, I should have
 laughed too.
PANDARUS They laughed not so much at the hair as at
160 his pretty answer.
CRESSIDA What was his answer?
PANDARUS Quoth she “Here’s but two-and-fifty hairs
 on your chin, and one of them is white.”
CRESSIDA This is her question.
PANDARUS 165That’s true, make no question of that. “Two-and-fifty
 hairs,” quoth he, “and one white. That
 white hair is my father, and all the rest are his
 sons.” “Jupiter!” quoth she, “which of these hairs
 is Paris, my husband?” “The forked one,” quoth he.
170 “Pluck ’t out, and give it him.” But there was such
 laughing, and Helen so blushed, and Paris so
 chafed, and all the rest so laughed that it passed.
CRESSIDA So let it now, for it has been a great while
 going by.
PANDARUS 175Well, cousin, I told you a thing yesterday.
 Think on ’t.
PANDARUS I’ll be sworn ’tis true. He will weep you an
 ’twere a man born in April.
CRESSIDA 180And I’ll spring up in his tears an ’twere a nettle
 against May.Sound a retreat.
PANDARUS Hark, they are coming from the field. Shall
 we stand up here and see them as they pass toward
 Ilium? Good niece, do, sweet niece Cressida.
CRESSIDA 185At your pleasure.
PANDARUS Here, here, here’s an excellent place. Here
 we may see most bravely. I’ll tell you them all by
 their names as they pass by, but mark Troilus
 above the rest.
They cross the stage; Alexander exits.
CRESSIDA 190Speak not so loud.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 1. SC. 2

Enter Aeneas and crosses the stage.

PANDARUS That’s Aeneas. Is not that a brave man? He’s
 one of the flowers of Troy, I can tell you. But mark
 Troilus; you shall see anon.

Enter Antenor and crosses the stage.

CRESSIDA Who’s that?
PANDARUS 195That’s Antenor. He has a shrewd wit, I can
 tell you, and he’s a man good enough. He’s one o’
 th’ soundest judgments in Troy whosoever; and a
 proper man of person. When comes Troilus? I’ll
 show you Troilus anon. If he see me, you shall see
200 him nod at me.
CRESSIDA Will he give you the nod?
PANDARUS You shall see.
CRESSIDA If he do, the rich shall have more.

Enter Hector and crosses the stage.

PANDARUS That’s Hector, that, that, look you, that.
205 There’s a fellow!—Go thy way, Hector!—There’s a
 brave man, niece. O brave Hector! Look how he
 looks. There’s a countenance! Is ’t not a brave man?
CRESSIDA O, a brave man!
PANDARUS Is he not? It does a man’s heart good. Look
210 you what hacks are on his helmet. Look you yonder,
 do you see? Look you there. There’s no jesting;
 there’s laying on, take ’t off who will, as they say.
 There be hacks.
CRESSIDA Be those with swords?
PANDARUS 215Swords, anything, he cares not. An the devil
 come to him, it’s all one. By God’s lid, it does one’s
 heart good.

Enter Paris and crosses the stage.

 Yonder comes Paris, yonder comes Paris! Look you
 yonder, niece. Is ’t not a gallant man too? Is ’t not?

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 1. SC. 2

220 Why, this is brave now. Who said he came hurt
 home today? He’s not hurt. Why, this will do
 Helen’s heart good now, ha? Would I could see
 Troilus now! You shall see Troilus anon.

Enter Helenus and crosses the stage.

CRESSIDA Who’s that?
PANDARUS 225That’s Helenus. I marvel where Troilus is.
 That’s Helenus. I think he went not forth today.
 That’s Helenus.
CRESSIDA Can Helenus fight, uncle?
PANDARUS Helenus? No. Yes, he’ll fight indifferent
230 well. I marvel where Troilus is. Hark, do you not
 hear the people cry “Troilus”? Helenus is a priest.

Enter Troilus and crosses the stage.

CRESSIDA What sneaking fellow comes yonder?
PANDARUS Where? Yonder? That’s Deiphobus. ’Tis
 Troilus! There’s a man, niece. Hem! Brave Troilus,
235 the prince of chivalry!
CRESSIDA Peace, for shame, peace.
PANDARUS Mark him. Note him. O brave Troilus! Look
 well upon him, niece. Look you how his sword is
 bloodied and his helm more hacked than Hector’s,
240 and how he looks, and how he goes. O admirable
 youth! He never saw three and twenty.—Go thy
 way, Troilus; go thy way!—Had I a sister were a
 Grace, or a daughter a goddess, he should take his
 choice. O admirable man! Paris? Paris is dirt to
245 him; and I warrant Helen, to change, would give
 an eye to boot.

Enter Common Soldiers and cross the stage.

CRESSIDA Here comes more.
PANDARUS Asses, fools, dolts, chaff and bran, chaff and
 bran, porridge after meat. I could live and die in

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 1. SC. 2

250 the eyes of Troilus. Ne’er look, ne’er look; the
 eagles are gone. Crows and daws, crows and daws!
 I had rather be such a man as Troilus than
 Agamemnon and all Greece.
CRESSIDA There is amongst the Greeks Achilles, a better
255 man than Troilus.
PANDARUS Achilles? A drayman, a porter, a very camel!
CRESSIDA Well, well.
PANDARUS “Well, well”? Why, have you any discretion?
 Have you any eyes? Do you know what a man is? Is
260 not birth, beauty, good shape, discourse, manhood,
 learning, gentleness, virtue, youth, liberality and
 such-like the spice and salt that season a man?
CRESSIDA Ay, a minced man; and then to be baked with
 no date in the pie, for then the man’s date is out.
PANDARUS 265You are such a woman a man knows not at
 what ward you lie.
CRESSIDA Upon my back to defend my belly, upon my
 wit to defend my wiles, upon my secrecy to defend
 mine honesty, my mask to defend my beauty, and
270 you to defend all these; and at all these wards I lie,
 at a thousand watches.
PANDARUS Say one of your watches.
CRESSIDA Nay, I’ll watch you for that, and that’s one of
 the chiefest of them too. If I cannot ward what I
275 would not have hit, I can watch you for telling how
 I took the blow—unless it swell past hiding, and
 then it’s past watching.
PANDARUS You are such another!

Enter Troilus’s Boy.

BOY Sir, my lord would instantly speak with you.
PANDARUS 280Where?
BOY At your own house. There he unarms him.
PANDARUS Good boy, tell him I come.Boy exits.
 I doubt he be hurt.—Fare you well, good niece.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 1. SC. 3

CRESSIDA Adieu, uncle.
PANDARUS 285I will be with you, niece, by and by.
CRESSIDA To bring, uncle?
PANDARUS Ay, a token from Troilus.
CRESSIDA By the same token, you are a bawd.
Pandarus exits.
 Words, vows, gifts, tears, and love’s full sacrifice
290 He offers in another’s enterprise;
 But more in Troilus thousandfold I see
 Than in the glass of Pandar’s praise may be.
 Yet hold I off. Women are angels, wooing;
 Things won are done; joy’s soul lies in the doing.
295 That she beloved knows naught that knows not this:
 Men prize the thing ungained more than it is.
 That she was never yet that ever knew
 Love got so sweet as when desire did sue.
 Therefore this maxim out of love I teach:
300 Achievement is command; ungained, beseech.
 Then though my heart’s content firm love doth bear,
 Nothing of that shall from mine eyes appear.
She exits.