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PlayShakespeare.com: The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource
PlayShakespeare.com: The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource
PlayShakespeare.com: The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource

Troilus and Cressida Characters

Troilus is the youngest of Priam’s fifty sons, the brother of Hector, Paris, Diphobus, Helenus and Cassandra. 

He is a hotheaded young man, quick to make up his opinions and sticking to them in despite of all argument. He considers himself to be desperately in love with Cressida, and engages her uncle and guardian Pandarus’s help in gaining her favors. His protestations of eternal love and devotion ring a bit hollow considering that when he discovers that his lady love is to be handed over to the Greeks, he never protests the decision, merely mopes about it. An idealist, he rejects common-sense arguments about returning Helen to the Greeks in favor of defending honor. Incapable of hiding his feelings, he is recognized as being no hypocrite as well as being more dangerous than Hector because he is less subject to chivalry on the battlefield. He turns into a bloodthirsty Trojan equivalent of Achilles when Cressida betrays him, giving up honor for the hardheaded view that the point of war is to slaughter as many of the enemy as possible. Troilus is extremely dismissive of his sister Cassandra, who he considers mad and of no consequence, and is unable to conceive of working outside societal rules, never even considering that Cressida might not go to the Greeks. He offers her no comfort when she receives the order to leave and never contests it. Not having helped her, he then clumsily questions her faithfulness, but gives her little reason to remain faithful to him once she leaves Troy. He is aghast at her giving in to Diomedes when he spies on the two of them with Ulysses, and grows to a murderous rage. Troilus ends the play casting Pandarus aside and swearing to take revenge on Achilles for his treatment of Hector.

 

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