Troilus and Cressida Study Guide

Troilus and Cressida

Troilus and Cressida by William Shakespeare

Troilus and Cressida is a Shakespearean tragedy about the affair between the Trojans Troilus and Cressida during the Trojan War. Shortly after the Troilus and Cressida consummate their love, Cressida is traded to the Greeks for the return of a Trojan prisoner. After a fight between Ajax and Hector results in a draw and temporary truce, Troilus finds Cressida has agreed to become the Greek Diomedes' lover. Enraged, he and Hector wage battle, killing Achilles' companion, Patroklos. Achilles then avenges his death, killing Hector.

Troilus and Cressida is a play by William Shakespeare, probably written around 1602. It is called a history play in the Quarto edition (1609), and a tragedy in the First Folio (1623). Critics now often treat it as a "problem play."

Act I

  • He that will have a cake out of the wheat must tarry the grinding.
    • Pandarus, scene i

  • I have had my labour for my travail.
    • Pandarus, scene i

  • Things won are done, joy's soul lies in the doing.
    • Cressida, scene ii, line 313

  • The heavens themselves, the planets, and this centre,Observe degree, priority, and place,

    Insisture, course, proportion, season, form,

    Office, and custom, in all line of order.

    • Ulysses, scene iii

  • Take but degree away, untune that string,And hark, what discord follows! each thing meets

    In mere oppugnancy.

    • Ulysses, scene iii

  • There is seenThe baby figure of the giant mass

    Of things to come at large.

    • Nestor, scene iii

Act II

  • Modest doubt is call’dThe beacon of the wise, the tent that searches

    To the bottom of the worst.

    • Hector, scene ii

  • The common curse of mankind, folly and ignorance.
    • Thersites, scene iii


  • They say all lovers swear more performance than they are able, and yet reserve an ability that they never perform; vowing more than the perfection of ten, and discharging less than the tenth part of one.
    • Cressida, scene ii

  • Time hath, my lord, a wallet at his back,Wherein he puts alms for Oblivion,

    A great-siz'd monster of ingratitudes.

    • Ulysses, scene iii

  • Perséverance, dear my lord,Keeps honour bright: to have done, is to hang

    Quite out of fashion, like a rusty mail

    In monumental mockery.

    • Ulysses, scene iii

  • Time is like a fashionable host,That slightly shakes his parting guest by the hand;

    And with his arms outstretch'd, as he would fly,

    Grasps-in the comer: the welcome ever smiles,

    And farewell goes out sighing.

    • Ulysses, scene iii

  • One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.
    • Ulysses, scene iii

  • All, with one consent, praise new-born gawds,Though they are made and moulded of things past;

    And give to dust, that is a little gilt,

    More laud than gilt o’erdusted.

    • Ulysses, scene iii

  • And, like a dew-drop from the lion's mane,Be shook to airy air.
    • Patroclus, scene iii

  • A plague of opinion! a man may wear it on both sides, like a leather jerkin.
    • Thersites , scene ix

Act IV

  • There's language in her eye, her cheek, her lip,Nay, her foot speaks; her wanton spirits look out

    At every joint and motive of her body.

    • Ulysses, scene v

  • His heart and hand both open and both free;For what he has he gives, what thinks, he shows;

    Yet gives he not till judgment guide his bounty.

    • Ulysses, scene v

  • The end crowns all;And that old common arbitrator, Time,

    Will one day end it.

    • Hector, scene v

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