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.