List iconTroilus and CressidaList icon

Troilus and Cressida
Act 3, scene 2

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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,…

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.

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Scene 2
Enter Pandarus and Troilus’s Man, meeting.

PANDARUS How now? Where’s thy master? At my
 cousin Cressida’s?
MAN No, sir, he stays for you to conduct him thither.

Enter Troilus.

PANDARUS O, here he comes.—How now, how now?
TROILUS, to his Man 5Sirrah, walk off.Man exits.
PANDARUS Have you seen my cousin?
TROILUS 
 No, Pandarus. I stalk about her door
 Like a strange soul upon the Stygian banks
 Staying for waftage. O, be thou my Charon,
10 And give me swift transportance to those fields
 Where I may wallow in the lily beds
 Proposed for the deserver! O, gentle Pandar,
 From Cupid’s shoulder pluck his painted wings
 And fly with me to Cressid!
PANDARUS 15Walk here i’ th’ orchard. I’ll bring her
 straight.
Pandarus exits.
TROILUS 
 I am giddy; expectation whirls me round.
 Th’ imaginary relish is so sweet
 That it enchants my sense. What will it be
20 When that the wat’ry palate taste indeed
 Love’s thrice-repurèd nectar? Death, I fear me,
 Swooning destruction, or some joy too fine,
 Too subtle-potent, tuned too sharp in sweetness
 For the capacity of my ruder powers.
25 I fear it much; and I do fear besides
 That I shall lose distinction in my joys,
 As doth a battle when they charge on heaps
 The enemy flying.

123
Troilus and Cressida
ACT 3. SC. 2

Enter Pandarus.

PANDARUS She’s making her ready; she’ll come straight.
30 You must be witty now. She does so blush and
 fetches her wind so short as if she were frayed with
 a spirit. I’ll fetch her. It is the prettiest villain. She
 fetches her breath as short as a new-ta’en sparrow.
Pandarus exits.
TROILUS 
 Even such a passion doth embrace my bosom.
35 My heart beats thicker than a feverous pulse,
 And all my powers do their bestowing lose,
 Like vassalage at unawares encount’ring
 The eye of majesty.

Enter Pandarus, and Cressida veiled.

PANDARUS, to Cressida Come, come, what need you
40 blush? Shame’s a baby.—Here she is now. Swear
 the oaths now to her that you have sworn to me.
 Cressida offers to leave. What, are you gone again?
 You must be watched ere you be made tame, must
 you? Come your ways; come your ways. An you
45 draw backward, we’ll put you i’ th’ thills.—Why
 do you not speak to her?—Come, draw this curtain
 and let’s see your picture. He draws back her veil.
 Alas the day, how loath you are to offend daylight!
 An ’twere dark, you’d close sooner.—So, so, rub on,
50 and kiss the mistress. (They kiss.) How now? A
 kiss in fee-farm? Build there, carpenter; the air is
 sweet. Nay, you shall fight your hearts out ere I
 part you. The falcon as the tercel, for all the ducks
 i’ th’ river. Go to, go to.
TROILUS 55You have bereft me of all words, lady.
PANDARUS Words pay no debts; give her deeds. But
 she’ll bereave you o’ th’ deeds too, if she call your
 activity in question. (They kiss.) What, billing

125
Troilus and Cressida
ACT 3. SC. 2

 again? Here’s “In witness whereof the parties
60 interchangeably—.” Come in, come in. I’ll go get a fire.
Pandarus exits.
CRESSIDA Will you walk in, my lord?
TROILUS O Cressid, how often have I wished me thus!
CRESSIDA “Wished,” my lord? The gods grant—O, my
 lord!
TROILUS 65What should they grant? What makes this
 pretty abruption? What too-curious dreg espies
 my sweet lady in the fountain of our love?
CRESSIDA More dregs than water, if my fears have eyes.
TROILUS Fears make devils of cherubins; they never
70 see truly.
CRESSIDA Blind fear, that seeing reason leads, finds
 safer footing than blind reason, stumbling without
 fear. To fear the worst oft cures the worse.
TROILUS O, let my lady apprehend no fear. In all
75 Cupid’s pageant there is presented no monster.
CRESSIDA Nor nothing monstrous neither?
TROILUS Nothing but our undertakings, when we vow
 to weep seas, live in fire, eat rocks, tame tigers,
 thinking it harder for our mistress to devise imposition
80 enough than for us to undergo any difficulty
 imposed. This is the monstruosity in love, lady, that
 the will is infinite and the execution confined, that
 the desire is boundless and the act a slave to limit.
CRESSIDA They say all lovers swear more performance
85 than they are able and yet reserve an ability that
 they never perform, vowing more than the perfection
 of ten and discharging less than the tenth part
 of one. They that have the voice of lions and the
 act of hares, are they not monsters?
TROILUS 90Are there such? Such are not we. Praise us as
 we are tasted, allow us as we prove; our head shall
 go bare till merit crown it. No perfection in reversion
 shall have a praise in present. We will not

127
Troilus and Cressida
ACT 3. SC. 2

 name desert before his birth, and, being born, his
95 addition shall be humble. Few words to fair faith.
 Troilus shall be such to Cressid as what envy can
 say worst shall be a mock for his truth, and what
 truth can speak truest not truer than Troilus.
CRESSIDA Will you walk in, my lord?

Enter Pandarus.

PANDARUS 100What, blushing still? Have you not done
 talking yet?
CRESSIDA Well, uncle, what folly I commit I dedicate
 to you.
PANDARUS I thank you for that. If my lord get a boy of
105 you, you’ll give him me. Be true to my lord. If he
 flinch, chide me for it.
TROILUS, to Cressida You know now your hostages:
 your uncle’s word and my firm faith.
PANDARUS Nay, I’ll give my word for her too. Our kindred,
110 though they be long ere they be wooed, they
 are constant being won. They are burrs, I can tell
 you; they’ll stick where they are thrown.
CRESSIDA 
 Boldness comes to me now and brings me heart.
 Prince Troilus, I have loved you night and day
115 For many weary months.
TROILUS 
 Why was my Cressid then so hard to win?
CRESSIDA 
 Hard to seem won; but I was won, my lord,
 With the first glance that ever—pardon me;
 If I confess much, you will play the tyrant.
120 I love you now, but till now not so much
 But I might master it. In faith, I lie;
 My thoughts were like unbridled children grown
 Too headstrong for their mother. See, we fools!
 Why have I blabbed? Who shall be true to us

129
Troilus and Cressida
ACT 3. SC. 2

125 When we are so unsecret to ourselves?
 But though I loved you well, I wooed you not;
 And yet, good faith, I wished myself a man;
 Or that we women had men’s privilege
 Of speaking first. Sweet, bid me hold my tongue,
130 For in this rapture I shall surely speak
 The thing I shall repent. See, see, your silence,
 Cunning in dumbness, from my weakness draws
 My very soul of counsel! Stop my mouth.
TROILUS 
 And shall, albeit sweet music issues thence.
They kiss.
PANDARUS 135Pretty, i’ faith!
CRESSIDA, to Troilus 
 My lord, I do beseech you pardon me.
 ’Twas not my purpose thus to beg a kiss.
 I am ashamed. O heavens, what have I done!
 For this time will I take my leave, my lord.
TROILUS 140Your leave, sweet Cressid?
PANDARUS Leave? An you take leave till tomorrow
 morning—
CRESSIDA Pray you, content you.
TROILUS What offends you, lady?
CRESSIDA 145Sir, mine own company.
TROILUS You cannot shun yourself.
CRESSIDA Let me go and try.
 I have a kind of self resides with you,
 But an unkind self that itself will leave
150 To be another’s fool. I would be gone.
 Where is my wit? I know not what I speak.
TROILUS 
 Well know they what they speak that speak so wisely.
CRESSIDA 
 Perchance, my lord, I show more craft than love
 And fell so roundly to a large confession
155 To angle for your thoughts. But you are wise,

131
Troilus and Cressida
ACT 3. SC. 2

 Or else you love not; for to be wise and love
 Exceeds man’s might. That dwells with gods above.
TROILUS 
 O, that I thought it could be in a woman—
 As, if it can, I will presume in you—
160 To feed for aye her lamp and flames of love,
 To keep her constancy in plight and youth,
 Outliving beauty’s outward, with a mind
 That doth renew swifter than blood decays!
 Or that persuasion could but thus convince me
165 That my integrity and truth to you
 Might be affronted with the match and weight
 Of such a winnowed purity in love;
 How were I then uplifted! But, alas,
 I am as true as truth’s simplicity
170 And simpler than the infancy of truth.
CRESSIDA 
 In that I’ll war with you.
TROILUS  O virtuous fight,
 When right with right wars who shall be most right!
 True swains in love shall in the world to come
175 Approve their truth by Troilus. When their rhymes,
 Full of protest, of oath and big compare,
 Wants similes, truth tired with iteration—
 “As true as steel, as plantage to the moon,
 As sun to day, as turtle to her mate,
180 As iron to adamant, as Earth to th’ center”—
 Yet, after all comparisons of truth,
 As truth’s authentic author to be cited,
 “As true as Troilus” shall crown up the verse
 And sanctify the numbers.
CRESSIDA 185 Prophet may you be!
 If I be false or swerve a hair from truth,
 When time is old and hath forgot itself,
 When water drops have worn the stones of Troy
 And blind oblivion swallowed cities up,

133
Troilus and Cressida
ACT 3. SC. 3

190 And mighty states characterless are grated
 To dusty nothing, yet let memory,
 From false to false, among false maids in love,
 Upbraid my falsehood! When they’ve said “as false
 As air, as water, wind or sandy earth,
195 As fox to lamb, or wolf to heifer’s calf,
 Pard to the hind, or stepdame to her son,”
 Yea, let them say, to stick the heart of falsehood,
 “As false as Cressid.”
PANDARUS Go to, a bargain made. Seal it, seal it. I’ll be
200 the witness. Here I hold your hand, here my
 cousin’s. If ever you prove false one to another, since
 I have taken such pains to bring you together, let
 all pitiful goers-between be called to the world’s
 end after my name: call them all panders. Let all
205 constant men be Troiluses, all false women Cressids,
 and all brokers-between panders. Say “Amen.”
TROILUS Amen.
CRESSIDA Amen.
PANDARUS Amen. Whereupon I will show you a chamber
210 with a bed, which bed, because it shall not
 speak of your pretty encounters, press it to death.
 Away.Troilus and Cressida exit.
 And Cupid grant all tongue-tied maidens here
 Bed, chamber, pander to provide this gear.
He exits.