Troilus and Cressida - Stuff that Happens in the Play
STUFF THAT HAPPENS
BEFORE THE PLAY
- Paris of Troy elopes with Helen, the wife of King Menelaus of Sparta.
- Menelaus’s brother, the Greek general Agamemnon, declares war on Troy in response.
- The first seven years of the Trojan War ensue.
DURING THE PLAY
- In Troy, Troilus confesses to Pandarus that he is so deeply in love with Cressida, Pandarus’s niece, that he cannot fight properly.
- Bertram leaves Rossillion for the French court.
- Pandarus and Cressida watch a procession of Trojan warriors. Pandarus praises Troilus extravagantly; Cressida teases her pandering uncle.
- Once alone, Cressida admits that “more in Troilus thousand-fold I see than in the glass of Pandar’s praise may be.”
- Greek general Agamemnon attempts to rally his commanders, but Ulysses blames Greece’s weakness on Achilles’s insubordination.
- Trojan Aeneas arrives and offers a challenge of single-combat against Hector to any willing Greek. Agamemnon agrees to nominate Ajax, to jolt Achilles out of his hubris.
- Ajax beats his servant Thersites, but Achilles intervenes and tells Ajax of Hector’s challenge.
- The Trojans discuss whether to return Helen to the Greeks in order to end the war.
- Achilles hides in his tent to avoid and slight Agamemnon, who has come to see him. Patroclus delivers several contentious messages between the two warriors. Ulysses and Nestor re-confirm their plan to keep Achilles and Ajax at odds.
- Achilles refuses to take Hector’s challenge. Agamemnon, Ulysses, and Nestor convince Ajax that he is as strong a warrior as Achilles and should take on Hector.
- Troilus and Cressida meet face to face for the first time.
- Proclamations of love, a night of passion, prisoner exchanges, single combat, and the Fall of Troy ensue.