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MonkeyNotes-Troilus and Cressida by William Shakespeare
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The discussion is brief and the lovers then take up the stance, which establishes them as types. Troilus affirms his faith that Cressida will indeed prove that he believes she is a woman, not subject to time and change. Her constancy is on another order than the physical decline of her bodily beauty, and who will answer him with a love as pure and simple as his own.

The scene then ends with a formal statement by the lovers and by Pandarus of their function as seen by history and tradition - faithful Troilus, faithless Cressida and Pandarus the go-between.

Troilus: ...‘as true as Troilus’

Cressida: ...‘As false as Cressid’

Pandarus: ‘Go to, a bargain made: seal it, seal it, I’ll be the witness......let all constant men be Troiluses, and all false women Cressids, and all brokers-between Pandars.’

Here Time stops and the three people pronouncing doom upon themselves become for the moment, the visible images of what they shall be. Pandarus then hurries to complete his function.

In a sense, the scene belongs to Pandarus. She opens and closes the scene. He comments on the acting in legal terms, and fusses over the two lovers like an old nurse.


It is difficult to judge this scene which hovers uneasily between levity and sadness. To compare it with the love scene in Romeo and Juliet is to become aware of the strikingly joyless coming together of Troilus and Cressida. The young lovers who follow the elder Helen and Paris, are clearly on the same path to banality. Rather than being happily expectant, the lovers both seem afraid of imminent disappointment, and seem to have no real trust in the possibility of rewarding achievement or lasting happiness. Their vague apprehensions link the scene with the political debates in both camps.

We are not given any deep insights into the lovers’ true thoughts and they seem devoid of any genuine impulses. There is no youthful enthusiasm in this love scene nor is there any conviction that this is really a fulfillment of their deepest desires. To add to all this, the audience knows very well that Troilus and Cressida’s fears are more than justified by the coming events: Cressida will have even more reason to be offended by her own company, and Troilus will soon be mocked by his achievements.

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