16 Pages

Troilus and Cressida: Voices in the Darkness of Troy

WithRobert Rawdon Wilson, Edward Milowicki

Troilus slants sharply into the fictional world of ancient Troy at a late moment in its intricate story: that world is extremely shadowy and dark, bloody, and inescapably doomed. The myth, the Matter of Troy, is, always and already, the “classical topos, the set piece, the commonplace, the cliché, the name that has become a concept”. The world of Troy, glimpsed in the ekphrasis in Lucrece as well as in Troilus or in the Player King’s narrative in Hamlet, invites entrance through many textual slivers. Troilus is a complex intellectual undertaking which causes the play to suggest a probing, questioning dialectic. There is a fragmentation of voices in Troilus, a sense of many voices yet calling for answers or asking unanswerable questions, composing the play’s verbal polyphony. The persistence of the confrontation of heroic and romance narrative values with a relentlessly mock-heroic mode is striking.