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  • Writer's pictureMackenzie Elisa

Troilus and Cressida

Updated: Aug 15, 2021

Setting: 1194-1184 BCE

Troy, Turkey

Comedy


My really abridged plot summary: It's like the Iliad but more dramatic. Greece is at war with Troy over Helen (it's the Trojan War). Tensions are high in the Trojan court between Troilus and his brothers. The Greeks are a shamble group and are just a bunch of college athlete bros. Honestly, this whole play is a testosterone constest. Cressida has a crush on Troilus and Pandarus encourages it. Pandarus and Thersites are actually hilarious and carry this show. Helen and Paris kind of just sleep together the enitre time. Troilus and Cressida fall in love and spend the night together. In the morning, Cressida is told she has to go join her father at the Greek camp. She cheats on Troilus (because she needed to protect herself, and I will die on this hill). Troilus sneaks into camp and witnesses this and is devastated. Achilles' boy-toy is killed and he seeks vengeance by killing Hector (one of Troilus' brothers). Hector should have listened to his wife and sister who told him not to go and fight (sound familiar? Alexander Hamilton? Julius Caesar?). Troilus goes absolutely mad because of Cressida's infidelity and Pandarus delivers a slightly irrelevant monologue. That's it. That's the end of the play. #anticlimactic


I will say, Pandarus is 100% my favorite character in this play. He gives off massive Amy Poehler in Mean Girls "I'm a cool mom" energy.


My favorite quote: But you are wise

Or else you love not; for to be wise and love

Exceeds man's might; that dwells with gods above.

-Cressida, III.ii


Ratings:

  • Overall Impression: 6- I was vibing with most of this play, but the ending is so anticlimactic. I get why it's classified as a problem play. The tone is all over the place and it goes from 0-100 real quick.

  • Use of Language: 7- There is some beautiful poetry about love in this play and some witty banter that I am here for! This isn't peak Shakespeare poetry, though.

  • Protagonist Arc: 8- Troilus has an awesome arc and by the end he is so angry and heart-broken that he practically goes mad.

  • Female Characters: 6- Cressida is a great character, and honestly so are all the other women. They all have such short stage-time though. I think there's a lot to unpack with Cressida's infidelity and she deserved soliloquies to tell us about it.

  • Fits Genre: 6- The tone is all over the place. The sadness at the end that I felt overpowered the comedy. This is a problem play, after all.

  • Overall Enjoyment: 7- I laughed a lot reading this and I thought the political intrigue was solid.

  • Hype Worthy: 5- Troilus and Cressida spend so little time together onstage and it feels like their romance is actually the B-plot. I would say its hype is about average and this play lives up to that.

  • Emotional Impact: 7- I laughed a lot, and there were moments when my heart was breaking for Troilus and Cressida.

Total: 52/80

Average: 6

*3 out of 5 stars*


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