Classics · Shakespeare

Troilus and Cressida: Act III

Troilus and Cressida have finally met! It turns out she has been in love with him from the start, but was too modest to say so. Or … was she? I mean, I know how this ends, and there’s an awful lot of foreshadowing in that scene. She even tells him, “Perchance, my lord, I show more craft than love”, and later, counters his expression “true as Troilus” with “false as Cressid” – none of which he seems to pick up on at all. Is she passionately in love, and simply teasing him, or playing cynical games?

Also, Achilles is apparently in love with a Trojan princess. I’m not kidding. Where did Shakespeare come up with that? Did he think it was more romantic than Achilles’ traditional dispute with Agamemnon over the spoils of war? Would his original audience have known the difference? I have no idea. But it has nothing to do with any other version of the story I’ve read.

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