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The Prologue explains that the play will skip over the origins of the Trojan War and begin in the middle of the war. (31 lines)


In Troy, there lies the scene. From isles of Greece

The princes orgulous, their high blood chaf’d,

Have to the port of Athens sent their ships

Fraught with the ministers and instruments

Of cruel war. Sixty and nine, that wore

Their crownets regal, from th’ Athenian bay

Put forth toward Phrygia, and their vow is made

To ransack Troy, within whose strong immures

The ravish’d Helen, Menelaus’ queen,

With wanton Paris sleeps—and that’s the quarrel.

To Tenedos they come,

And the deep-drawing barks do there disgorge

Their warlike fraughtage. Now on Dardan plains

The fresh and yet unbruised Greeks do pitch

Their brave pavilions. Priam’s six-gated city,

Dardan and Timbria, Helias, Chetas, Troien,

And Antenorides, with massy staples

And corresponsive and fulfilling bolts

Sperr up the sons of Troy.

Now expectation, tickling skittish spirits,

On one and other side, Troyan and Greek,

Sets all on hazard—and hither am I come,

A prologue arm’d, but not in confidence

Of author’s pen or actor’s voice, but suited

In like conditions as our argument,

To tell you, fair beholders, that our play

Leaps o’er the vaunt and firstlings of those broils,

Beginning in the middle; starting thence away

To what may be digested in a play.

Like or find fault, do as your pleasures are,

Now good or bad, ’tis but the chance of war.


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