List iconTroilus and CressidaList icon

Troilus and Cressida
Act 4, 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,…

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 1
Enter at one door Aeneas with a Torchbearer, at
another Paris, Deiphobus, Antenor, Diomedes and
Grecians with torches.


PARIS See, ho! Who is that there?
DEIPHOBUS It is the Lord Aeneas.
AENEAS Is the Prince there in person?—
 Had I so good occasion to lie long
5 As you, Prince Paris, nothing but heavenly business
 Should rob my bedmate of my company.
DIOMEDES 
 That’s my mind too.—Good morrow, Lord Aeneas.
PARIS 
 A valiant Greek, Aeneas; take his hand.
 Witness the process of your speech, wherein
10 You told how Diomed a whole week by days
 Did haunt you in the field.
AENEAS Health to you, valiant sir,
 During all question of the gentle truce;
 But when I meet you armed, as black defiance
15 As heart can think or courage execute.
DIOMEDES 
 The one and other Diomed embraces.
 Our bloods are now in calm, and, so long, health;
 But when contention and occasion meet,
157

159
Troilus and Cressida
ACT 4. SC. 1

 By Jove, I’ll play the hunter for thy life
20 With all my force, pursuit, and policy.
AENEAS 
 And thou shalt hunt a lion that will fly
 With his face backward. In human gentleness,
 Welcome to Troy. Now, by Anchises’ life,
 Welcome indeed. By Venus’ hand I swear
25 No man alive can love in such a sort
 The thing he means to kill more excellently.
DIOMEDES 
 We sympathize. Jove, let Aeneas live,
 If to my sword his fate be not the glory,
 A thousand complete courses of the sun!
30 But in mine emulous honor let him die
 With every joint a wound and that tomorrow.
AENEAS We know each other well.
DIOMEDES 
 We do, and long to know each other worse.
PARIS 
 This is the most despiteful gentle greeting,
35 The noblest hateful love, that e’er I heard of.
 To Aeneas. What business, lord, so early?
AENEAS 
 I was sent for to the King, but why I know not.
PARIS 
 His purpose meets you. ’Twas to bring this Greek
 To Calchas’ house, and there to render him,
40 For the enfreed Antenor, the fair Cressid.
 Let’s have your company, or, if you please,
 Haste there before us. (Aside to Aeneas.) I constantly
 believe—
 Or, rather, call my thought a certain knowledge—
45 My brother Troilus lodges there tonight.
 Rouse him, and give him note of our approach,
 With the whole quality whereof. I fear
 We shall be much unwelcome.

161
Troilus and Cressida
ACT 4. SC. 1

AENEAS, aside to Paris That I assure you.
50 Troilus had rather Troy were borne to Greece
 Than Cressid borne from Troy.
PARIS, aside to Aeneas  There is no help.
 The bitter disposition of the time
 Will have it so.—On, lord, we’ll follow you.
AENEAS 55Good morrow, all.
Aeneas exits with the Torchbearer.
PARIS 
 And tell me, noble Diomed, faith, tell me true,
 Even in the soul of sound good-fellowship,
 Who, in your thoughts, deserves fair Helen best,
 Myself or Menelaus?
DIOMEDES 60 Both alike.
 He merits well to have her that doth seek her,
 Not making any scruple of her soilure,
 With such a hell of pain and world of charge;
 And you as well to keep her that defend her,
65 Not palating the taste of her dishonor,
 With such a costly loss of wealth and friends.
 He, like a puling cuckold, would drink up
 The lees and dregs of a flat tamèd piece;
 You, like a lecher, out of whorish loins
70 Are pleased to breed out your inheritors.
 Both merits poised, each weighs nor less nor more;
 But he as he, the heavier for a whore.
PARIS 
 You are too bitter to your countrywoman.
DIOMEDES 
 She’s bitter to her country. Hear me, Paris:
75 For every false drop in her bawdy veins
 A Grecian’s life hath sunk; for every scruple
 Of her contaminated carrion weight
 A Trojan hath been slain. Since she could speak,
 She hath not given so many good words breath
80 As for her Greeks and Trojans suffered death.

163
Troilus and Cressida
ACT 4. SC. 2

PARIS 
 Fair Diomed, you do as chapmen do,
 Dispraise the thing that they desire to buy.
 But we in silence hold this virtue well:
 We’ll not commend that not intend to sell.
85 Here lies our way.
They exit.