William Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida in the complete original text.
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Troilus and Cressida

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Troilus and Cressida Play

Troilus and Cressida begins seven years into the long Trojan war. Troilus, the youngest son of King Priam (King of Troy) tells Pandarus that he is in love with Cressida, the daughter of Trojan priest Calchas. He does not want his father, King Priam nor his brother Hector to know this. He also believes fighting over Helen is pointless. Privately, Pandarus lets Cressida know about Troilus' affections, both laughing at his looks. Pandarus even encourages Troilus to pursue Cressida, knowing she is not interested... However, despite her mocking words, Cressida does start to fall in love with Troilus.

Meanwhile outside of Troy, all is not well with the Greeks; they are losing their way, apathy and low morale setting in amongst the Greeks who after seven years, still have not beaten the Trojans. Achilles, in particular, is full of apathy, caring little for the war, reducing morale. Realising this, when Hector (Trojan) challenges any Greek to a duel, Ulysses ensures that Ajax is chosen, hoping that by ignoring Achilles for ,Achilles will rediscover his will to fight.

The Trojans are given the opportunity to end the war if they return Helen to the Greeks. The Trojans consider this, wary of so many lives lost just for one woman but decide it would be dishonorable to give up Helen when the Trojans all cheered Paris for wooing her. Furthermore, Helen loves Paris. Cassandra, King Priam's daughter makes her famous prophecy that Troy will be destroyed if they do not return Helen but is ignored, Troilus and Paris urging Hector to keep fighting...

Paris, unsure Hector will not give away Helen, tells her to flirt with both Troilus and Hector. Cressida and Troilus finally admit they love each other.

Ulysses (Greek) tells Achilles that the people now honor Ajax not him, warning Achilles not to desire Polyxenes (King Priam's other daughter) lest his reputation fall into further disrepute.

Meanwhile, Calchas (Trojan) defects to the Greeks, Calchas offering to reveal military information on the Trojans. There is a catch... He will only reveal what he knows if the Greeks exchange one of their Trojan prisoners for his daughter. The Greeks agree.

Troilus meets Diomedes, telling him to respect Calchas' daughter (not sleep with her). Diomedes replies he will make her his mistress! Troilus vows to kill Diomedes... Now with the Greeks, Calchas' daughter quickly starts flirting with the Greek generals but behind the smiles is actually insulting them.

Hector fights Ajax, winning but refusing to kill Ajax since he is the son of his father's sister and thus family... Ajax, shown mercy, asks Hector whether he would dine with Achilles, Hector agreeing.

The Greeks and Trojans dine together, a tense affair... Ulysses reveals Diomedes dining with Calchas daughter and starting to fall in love with her... Hearing this, Troilus follows Diomedes, spying his lover giving Diomedes the sleeve he gave her and learning that though she still loves him, she is beginning to like Diomedes. Devastated but enraged, Troilus resolves to kill Diomedes on the battlefield and forget his lover...

Sure enough the Greeks and Trojans fight, Hector killing Patroclus. Seeing this, Achilles finally rediscovers his will to fight, finding Hector and then against all laws of conduct having him surrounded and then impaled whilst unarmed and resting. In losing Hector, the Trojans have paid dearly on the battlefield, Cassandra fearing that without Hector, Troy shall soon fall...


Dramatis Personæ

Act I
Scene I, Scene II, Scene III

Act II
Scene I, Scene II, Scene III

Scene I, Scene II, Scene III

Act IV
Scene I, Scene II, Scene III, Scene IV, Scene V

Act V
Scene I, Scene II, Scene III, Scene IV, Scene V, Scene VI, Scene VII, Scene VIII, Scene IX, Scene X
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