List iconTroilus and Cressida:
Act 5, scene 4
List icon

Troilus and Cressida
Act 5, scene 4



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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Quill icon
Scene 4
Alarum. Excursions. Enter Thersites.

THERSITES Now they are clapper-clawing one another.
 I’ll go look on. That dissembling abominable varlet,
 Diomed, has got that same scurvy doting foolish
 young knave’s sleeve of Troy there in his helm.
5 I would fain see them meet, that that same young
 Trojan ass that loves the whore there might send
 that Greekish whoremasterly villain with the sleeve
 back to the dissembling luxurious drab, of a sleeveless
 errand. O’ th’ t’other side, the policy of those
10 crafty swearing rascals—that stale old mouse-eaten
 dry cheese, Nestor, and that same dog-fox,
 Ulysses—is proved not worth a blackberry. They
 set me up, in policy, that mongrel cur, Ajax, against
 that dog of as bad a kind, Achilles. And now is the
15 cur Ajax prouder than the cur Achilles, and will
 not arm today, whereupon the Grecians begin to
 proclaim barbarism, and policy grows into an ill

Enter Diomedes, and Troilus pursuing him.

 Soft! Here comes sleeve and t’ other.
Thersites moves aside.
TROILUS, to Diomedes 
20 Fly not, for shouldst thou take the river Styx
 I would swim after.
DIOMEDES  Thou dost miscall retire.

Troilus and Cressida
ACT 5. SC. 5

 I do not fly, but advantageous care
 Withdrew me from the odds of multitude.
25 Have at thee!They fight.
THERSITES Hold thy whore, Grecian! Now for thy
 whore, Trojan! Now the sleeve, now the sleeve!
Diomedes and Troilus exit fighting.

Enter Hector.

 What art thou, Greek? Art thou for Hector’s match?
 Art thou of blood and honor?
THERSITES 30No, no, I am a rascal, a scurvy railing
 knave, a very filthy rogue.
HECTOR I do believe thee. Live.He exits.
THERSITES God-a-mercy, that thou wilt believe me!
 But a plague break thy neck for frighting me!
35 What’s become of the wenching rogues? I think
 they have swallowed one another. I would laugh at
 that miracle—yet, in a sort, lechery eats itself. I’ll
 seek them.
He exits.