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Troilus and Cressida

3.36  ·  Rating Details ·  5,643 Ratings  ·  314 Reviews
Shakespeare's vision of the Trojan War reveals the love between Troilus, a prince of Troy, and Cressida, the daughter of a Trojan traitor.
Paperback, 352 pages
Published August 1st 2002 by Signet (first published 1602)
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Bill  Kerwin
Jun 09, 2007 Bill Kerwin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 16th-17th-c-brit

When I was young and naive, I loved Troilus and Cressida for its brave cynicism, but now that I am older--and my outlook is bleaker--I appreciate it for its realism and compassion. Shakespeare shows us a world in which lovers yearn to be true and warriors strive to be brave, but both inevitably fail, betrayed by human nature and the adventitious provocations of time.

Here, as in Romeo and Juliet, passion and violence are inextricably linked. Indeed, this later play often seems to be a dark parod
Jun 04, 2009 Buck rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: histrionics
It’s a timeless story, really: sensitive young guy gets carried away by the noble delirium of first love and goes all mushy over the dirty ho who punched his v-card. Complications ensue.

If you think my synopsis sounds crude, all I can say is, don’t read Troilus and Cressida, because it gets a whole lot cruder than that. For sheer nastiness, it’s right up there with that other Shakespearean shocker, Titus Andronicus (though without the multiple amputations and cannibalism). Taking over the creaki
Nick Smith
Oct 05, 2007 Nick Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So a lot of people seem to think this is really boring and difficult. I'll give them the second one, but boring? This tale of a tangential "romance" (if you can call it that) to the Trojan War is rife with all kinds of awesome feats du language (oh yeah, I wrote that) and lots of tiny but cool moments, as various celebrated heroes find themselves unable to escape the narratives we know them for, despite their (and Shakespeare's) best efforts. From the rather peaceful, almost wistful beginning to ...more
Jul 14, 2008 Sparrow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Ava Gardner
Recommended to Sparrow by: Professor Lisa Freinkel
Shelves: plays, reviewed
My roommate in college was film noir's #1 fan, and we went through a long period of time trying to get caught up on every noir ever made. It was in that mood that said roommate and I took one of my favorite college classes, which we affectionately called Shakespeare Boot Camp. The two-week long class consisted of a week of studying plays and a week of living in Ashland, Oregon while going to see those plays on stage at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Brilliant! I was really psyched up to see th ...more
David Sarkies
Jul 23, 2011 David Sarkies rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People who like farce
Recommended to David by: University
Shelves: comedy
Shakespeare's farcical take on the Iliad
22 May 2012

This is one of Shakespeare's stranger plays, and though the characters of the title do play a role in the play albeit it is a quite minor one. The play is set during the Trojan War and basically follows the plot of the Iliad, though Shakespeare adds some quite comic twists to the main characters.

Troilus and Cressida are two Trojans who are in love, but Cressida is given over to the Greeks in exchange for a prisoner. Troilus then sneaks into th
Nov 04, 2016 Emma rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays, 1600s, shakespeare
this play is drenched in regret, betrayal, villainy and the frailty of mankind as opposed to the forces of fate. it's cruel, yet stiflingly lewd and irreverent at times. the boundaries of comedy and tragedy blend and intertwine constantly; chivalry and ridicule stand side by side.

there is always a sense of greatness - traces of truth and dreams of valour - but Troilus and Cressida fails to reach the heights of true epic. it is light in its treatment of grand themes and characters, among wh
Vane J.
Troilus and Cressida are in love, but their happiness does not last long because Cressida goes with the Greeks in exchange of a prisoner. There, Troilus spies on her and sees her flirting with Diomedes. Of course, jealousy gets in the way.

The previously described plot is what gives the name to the play, but that one is not the centre of it. Things revolve around the Trojan wars and all the characters involved in it. For example, there's Achilles, Hector, Menelaus and Paris. Troilus is also prese
May 09, 2016 Jenny rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Δεν μου άρεσε ιδιαίτερα-ειδικά σε σύγκριση με άλλα έργα του Shakespeare,το βρήκα φτωχό σε πνεύμα και δομή..Κι αρκετά βαρετό,για να είμαι ειλικρινής!
Εκτίμησα την ρεαλιστική αντίδραση και προσαρμογή των ηρώων σε ορισμένες καταστάσεις.
Troilus and Cressida is a half-baked play. By that I mean that it reads like the conflation of two distinct plots tied together by the common character of Troilus. This is not to say it isn’t a rather good play but it’s not a successful one. I've read it twice now and watched the BBC adaptation, and it grows on you. There are several powerful monologues and scenes where the dialog crackles but in the final analysis it remains "clunky" and its parts difficult to reconcile. As to the reasons why, ...more

So pretty much everything Mr. Buck Mulligan writes in his review is spot-on. I wanted to say much of the same things as he does but he does it quite elegantly and probingly and thus you out there in Goodreads-land who are reading this would be well advised to check his review out...not to mention his other ones, for that matter. He on point, kid.

A couple of things I'd like to point out just for the hell of it...


People who don't dig on the classics (except in THEORY or cultural capital
Sep 10, 2016 Liz rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Liz by: University
Required reading for university.

Maybe I'll review it later, maybe I won't, I am not sure yet.
ℇℓℓis ♥
Un dramma storico che appartiene al gruppo di opere teatrali composte dal celeberrimo William Shakespeare. Sebbene non brilli per originalità e innovazione e non l'abbia trovata all'altezza di altre sue grandi composizioni (ad esempio Otello), è riuscita ugualmente ad avvincermi. La vicenda che ci viene narrata mischia bene entrambi i generi per cui è noto il nostro drammaturgo; tragedia e commedia si alternano e si snodano in un intreccio costituito da cinque atti.
La storia d'amore tra Troilo e
Mar 12, 2014 Knjigoholičarka rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drame, bard, 2014
Ovo je prvi i verovatno poslednji review za neki Šekspirov komad koji ću ikad napisati, jer ne smatram sebe nekim stručnjakom za Bardove drame, ali osećam se obaveznom da pojasnim zašto mi se dopao više nego što sam očekivala - naročito u poređenju sa generalnom ocenom drugih čitalaca.

Ova drama odiše cinizmom i zajedljivošću. Ne znam u kakvom je raspoloženju bio pisac dok je stvarao ovo delo, ali uspeo je da izvrne ruglu sve - čast, poštenje, vernost, ljubav. Dotadašnje romantične predstave sre
Dec 06, 2015 J.M. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who have already read The Iliad. And The Aeneid. And The Song of Achilles.
Shelves: drama, british
December of Drama 2015, day six


Did the Norton people make a mistake here? I've been reading out of my 3000+ page Norton Shakespeare, and they file this Trojan War clusterfuck under 'comedy.' Excuse me? The fact that a bloodbath forms the backdrop instead of the climax does not a comedy make. It reads much more like a deeply cynical tragedy than anything-- and the placement of the title characters' marriage early in the action rather than at the end may be the best
Mar 26, 2012 Nikki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ordinarily I wouldn't reread a book or play, even one I read for class, so soon after reading it for the first time, but with Shakespeare (and indeed Chaucer) I think it's necessary. Plus, this edition came with notes, which are very extensive and -- even though I need no help with the language in general -- help to shed light on puns, double entendres, and potential confused transmission of the plays, etc. It has an extensive introduction which covers a lot of different aspects of the play, too ...more
Alp Turgut
Truva Savaşı'ndaki önemli bir takım olayı oluş biçimini değiştirerek okuyucuya sunması sebebiyle Homeros'un "Iliad / İlyada" başyapıtını okuyanların okuması gerektiğine inandığım "Troilus and Cressida / Troilus ve Cressida", luzumsuz uzatmalarına rağmen Shakespere kalitesini gösteren sürükleyici bir piyes. Bir yandan Achilleus ile Hektor arasındaki gerilimi, diğer yandan ise Troilus'un Cressida'ya olan karşılıksız aşkını konu alan oyunda karakterlerin özelliklerinde köklü değişiklikler mevcut. B ...more
Apr 29, 2012 Matt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shakespeare and Chaucer both wrote about Troilus and Cressida but for very different themes. Chaucer’s poem took the disillusioned and heartbroken boy warrior and focused on the absurdity of human endeavors. For Chaucer, love is fleeting except the love one gives and receives from God.

Shakespeare, on the other hand, wants us to wallow in worthlessness. Unlike Chaucer, who was more forgiving of Cressida in portraying her betrayal as more a resignation in response to her situation, Shakespeare gle
Jan 31, 2015 Katie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story of the Iliad is so well known that the novelty here comes from total upheavals of characters as we knew them in Homer. It’s a dark parody of some events in the Iliad with the Greek gods out of the picture. This leaves it to be about our human ability to live up to ideals – including the ideals of tragedy or comedy. The heroes of the Trojan War are subject to a cynical recasting. Cressida, the unfaithful woman, is less frivolous than Helen and is quite aware of her role in the game. As ...more
This was a pretty difficult play to get into. Perhaps it was just me, but the dialogue just didn't have that vibrancy that I expect in Shakespeare. It couldn't quite figure out which type of play it wanted to be. There were comedic scenes--although poorly done--mixed in with scenes depicting political and military strategy machinations during the Trojan War.

In addition, the titular characters, that is both Troilus and Cressida, are really not a large part of the play itself. They are a side plo
John Sweeney
This is a case in which a 2.5-star rating would have been useful. It feels to me like Shakespeare must have viewed this play as an interesting writing exercise, but not something worthy of his full attention. Perhaps someone in the Lord Chamberlain's Men thought a play based on the Trojan War would be fun. Maybe he just wanted to test himself against Chaucer. Regardless, he created a work that has its pleasure, but doesn't compare favorably to the other plays he wrote around the same time.

May 24, 2011 liberty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this was by far my favorite piece of literature from my first-year seminar - the professor was a rhetoric teacher and mostly made the texts come off chalky, but this shone through, and watching the bbc production for my own benefit made it even more exciting. i hate my high school english teachers for making me read "romeo & juliet" and "the taming of the shrew" even more now.
Jan 28, 2017 Craig rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shakespeare will hold my heart and soul, but this one might be better served by Homer. Still, like a delicious meal, Shakespeare prepares a dish most well, just not his best night.
I was surprised by this play's low rating. In my opinion, it is one of Shakespeare's most fascinating, original and perceptive plays. It has always been underestimated.

To consider the truth of my introduction, you have to read Chaucer's 'Troilus and Criseyde', another masterpiece, which is possibly one of Shakespeare's sources for his play as well(as I personally believe it to be). What a difference! Chaucer extols love and the ideals of chivalry. His characterisation is charming and heartfelt,
The first two acts of Shakespeare's "Trojan" play, Troilus and Cressida, succeed in introducing most of the important players, but do not move the plot forward. We are treated to scene after scene of talking, first with Troilus himself imploring his beloved Cressida's uncle Pandarus to talk with Cressida about his love for Cressida. He certainly does not appear to be a steadfast hero when he intones, "I cannot come to Cressid but by Pandar, And he's a tetchy to be wooed to woo as she is stubborn ...more
C.S. Boag
Mar 11, 2015 C.S. Boag rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, shakespeare
This is the year to read some of Shakespeare. What set me off was a book that insisted Shakespeare was some one else - namely Edward de Vere, the Earl of Oxford, doomed to anonymity by the exigencies of his time, and mainly the Elizabethan era. He was a member of the court and was unloading on his kind. Unthinkable. Hence the invention of Shakespeare, the most unlikely of great writers seeing that he was a very good merchant but unlettered. While Shakespeare- Shakespeare knows it all.
I am readin
Michelle Llewellyn
This is no Romeo and Juliet. A hard play to read and even more difficult to sit through. Little wonder it wasn't even staged until years after the famous playwright's death. Shakespeare's writing is weak and it's unclear what kind of story he's trying to tell. Like many of today's best-selling authors who overwhelm their audience with too many plot complications, this play is altogether inconclusive as to what it is, even scholars are unsure which genre it should be listed under for it has eleme ...more
Jul 14, 2012 Kristin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who are not turned off by Shakespeare's problem plays
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Steve Hemmeke
Shakespeare draws two stories together in Troilus and Cressida. He retells the siege of Troy, Achilles’ refusal to fight, and his brutal treatment of Hector, from Homer’s Iliad. And he weaves in Chaucer’s tale of Troilus and Cressida.

Cressida’s uncle Pandarus plays matchmaker for Troilus and the reluctant Cressida, but she has just been given by her father to a Greek as part of the warfare politics going on. This part reminded me of 2 Samuel 3, when King Ish-bosheth of Israel surrenders to King
Maan Kawas
Aug 09, 2014 Maan Kawas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful but dark play by Shakespeare that is derived from Homer’s ‘Iliad’ in particular! Although the play is about the love affair between Troilus and Cressida and its disappointing end, it is also about Hector and Achilles. The play starts in the middle of the events, which indicates that the audience was acquainted then with Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. However, it differs from Homer’s version to some extent; for instance, it depicts Achilles less heroic, and the death of Hector is somehow ...more
This is the last text, chronologically, in the class I read it for, but it was the easiest to get hold of. I actually read a version with no notes or glosses, so it'll probably be interesting to go through an annotated version. Obviously I was aware of the story on the Trojan War -- unavoidable when you take Classics for GCSE and A Level -- but I didn't know much about this one.

People are right to categorise this as a 'problem play'. It generally doesn't work to try and put things into hard and
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Shakespeare Fans: Troilus and Cressida 1 7 Jul 28, 2014 06:45PM  
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  • The Art of Shakespeare's Sonnets
  • Playing Shakespeare: An Actor's Guide
  • The Beaux' Stratagem
  • The Alchemist
  • Naked Masks: Five Plays
  • Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human
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William Shakespeare (baptised 26 April 1564) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon" (or simply "The Bard"). His surviving works consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been tr ...more
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“For to be wise and love exceeds man's might.” 28 likes
“I am a bastard, too. I love bastards! I am bastard begot, bastard instructed, bastard in mind, bastard in valor, in everything illegitimate.” 18 likes
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