“Troilus and Cressida”
DOI link for “Troilus and Cressida”
“Troilus and Cressida” book
Shakespeare never saw the Iliad. Had he known Homer’s Epic, he would have found one line alluding to the dead Prince Troilus, but never a word about Cressida. A little more than a century after printing began in England, Shakespeare read the Gothic, mediaeval romances thus filtered through Italian and French poesy, classic-romantic, Iliad-and-water, with Helen and Paris put aside in favour of the junior loves of Troilus and Cressida. On Troy’s foundations, seven cities deep, rose Homer’s Iliad, where Shakespeare’s spirit walked, dreaming of that Love Epic to be made with Troilus for hero. The pivot of Shakespeare’s play is Cressida, who, swearing eternal fidelity to Troilus, immediately gives herself to Diomed. But Shakespeare uses the theme for pitiless satire on the Cause of Love, and ridicule of Knights Errant fighting for an Ideal.