Troilus and Cressida
Assessing the sources of Troilus and Cressida, it is usual to separate them according to their specific historical or literary influence. Caxton's 1474 Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye and Lydgate's Troy Book, as well as Chapman's seven book translation of the Iliad are cited as sources of the historical matter of the play, all with their antecedents in earlier treatments of Trojan history: Dares, Dictys and Guido's 1271 Historia Troiana. Literary influences include, of course, Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde, and Henryson's Testament of Crisseid (which were published under one author until the early 18th century), and to an extent, Chapman's Homer. Dividing the sources this way for the sake of ease of discussion may be a common practice, but it misses one crucial point. When we look at Shakespeare's sources, we look not only for the particular content that Shakespeare derived from them, but, more interestingly, for the diversions he created from this material. Study of Shakespeare's sources is most interesting in those cases where it may illuminate for us, as students, a difference of design or emphasis which marks the genius of Shakespeare's innovation. We are not, after all, interested in Shakespeare the Borrower, but Shakespeare the Originator. To divide the source materials used in Troilus and Cressida according to their historical or literary background, we may miss the true design of Shakespeare's deviation from their conventions, which, I will argue, points to a fundamental theme of this drama. Shakespeare, in using these particular sources in fashioning this particular drama, invokes the literary and cultural giants of his time so that he may hold a mirror up to their true nature, and e...
... middle of paper ...
...er, also bitterly satirizes the chivalric code of Chaucer's romance, as Shakespeare, sickened by the self-mythologizing of the court, attempts to topple another of his age's grand cultural narratives. It has been noted that the points in his play which most bitterly satirize Chaucer's poem are those which correspond with Chaucer's deviations from HIS sources, Boccacio etc. Shakespeare is not only condemning the myths which pass through history, but also the alteration of these, whether for propagandic or artistic reasons. Shakespeare is at pains to demonstrate that tradition, which grants the illusion of official history to myth and legend, is a 'whore and a cuckold', just as its idealized heroes and heroines are. What we see in Troilus and Cressida are the ugliest implications of conflict and strife - opportunities for heroism and chivalry are continually perverted.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Troilus and Cressida Assessing the sources of Troilus and Cressida, it is usual to separate them according to their specific historical or literary influence. Caxton's 1474 Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye and Lydgate's Troy Book, as well as Chapman's seven book translation of the Iliad are cited as sources of the historical matter of the play, all with their antecedents in earlier treatments of Trojan history: Dares, Dictys and Guido's 1271 Historia Troiana. Literary influences include, of course, Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde, and Henryson's Testament of Crisseid (which were published under one author until the early 18th century), and to an extent, Chapman's Homer.... [tags: Troilus Criseyde Essays]
1055 words (3 pages)
- William Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida is a play filled with marked variations of tone. The language ranges across the gamut from satirical to anticlimactic to dignified to tragic. This explains, to some extent, the level of difficulty that commentators have had in classifying the work. A close reading of the word choice and sense of tone in the play contributes a great deal to a better understanding of its meaning. Analysis of particular word choice should be, in fact, a very important consideration when attempting to understand Shakespeare's works.... [tags: Shakespearean Literature ]
1887 words (5.4 pages)
- Even the best writers have their own flaws. Shakespire for example would make up his own words including ; bedazzled and fashionable. Those words come from his plays King of the Shrew and Troilus and Cressida. I like to think of myself as a skilled writer but I’d like to improve in writing proper conclusions and repetition of certain words. My first weakness is how to write a proper conclusion. Conclusions are difficult for me to write because; I don’t know what information is important enough to restate.... [tags: Miranda v. Arizona]
721 words (2.1 pages)
- Shakespeare’s works are some of the finest examples of Tragedy and Comedy from the English cannon of literature. The reason that his works are so poignant and reflective is his use of both emotions in order to progress the other. In his interpretation of Troilus and Cressida the traditional story of tragic love and loss are peppered with irony and satire in order to address topical issues of Gender roles, Government action/inaction, and hero worship through juxtaposition and humor. The character of Troilus before Shakespeare’s play can be seen as a perfect archetype for the tragic romantic.... [tags: Tragedy, Comedy, Gender Roles]
1094 words (3.1 pages)
- The Love Theme in Troilus and Cressida The love theme in Troilus and Cressida is undramatic, lacks plot interest and suspense since Shakespeare was concerned with portraying characters and the sketching of their emotions. Only a sad ending is likely since the audience already knows the outline of the story, the separation of the lovers. There are characters' utterances and actions which emphasise how an ironic undertone features throughout the play especially in the first two scenes in the presentation of idealised Cressida being undercut by Pandar and by Cressida herself.... [tags: Troilus Criseyde Essays]
1626 words (4.6 pages)
- Female Sexuality in All's Well That Ends Well, Measure for Measure, and Troilus and Cressida Although strict chronology is a problematic proposition, most scholars believe that the problem plays - All's Well That Ends Well, Measure for Measure, and Troilus and Cressida - were composed in the period between Hamlet and Othello (Mabillard), a period in which Shakespeare was focusing his energies on his great tragedies. This fact, some believe, may help to account for the darker mood of these ostensible comedies. In fact, Boas, the critic who coined the term "problem play," originally included Hamlet in this grouping, since he found a similarity of theme and irresolution between that p... [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]
1424 words (4.1 pages)
- Two of the greatest masters of British literature, Shakespeare and Chaucer, tended to look to the classics when searching for inspiration. A lesser-known example of this lies in an ancient tale from Greece about two star-crossed lovers. There are many variations on the names of these lovers, but for the purpose of solidarity, they shall henceforth be referred to as “Troilus and Criseyde” for Chaucer and “Troilus and Cressida” for Shakespeare. Chaucer’s “Troilus and Criseyde” offers up a classic tale of love that is doomed, whereas Shakespeare’s “Troilus and Cressida” is not only tragic but also biting in its judgment and representation of characters.... [tags: British literature, Troilus and Cressida, tale]
2011 words (5.7 pages)
- It is not surprising that Shakespeare wrote a play based on the events of the Trojan War. The myth had incredible staying power in and of itself during the early modern period, not only in a literary way, but also culturally, as the monarchy of England and the heritage of the city of London were intrinsically linked to the Troy legend. Geoffrey of Monmouth, in his Historia Regum Brittanniae (c. 1136), begins his history of Britain with Aeneas, one of the most enduring figures of the Greek myth in Latin literature.... [tags: Iliad, Trojan War, Achilles, Troilus and Cressida]
1369 words (3.9 pages)
- Betrayal and Love William Shakespeare is a famous writer who wrote many plays. Most people would concur he is the greatest writer of all time. His plays fall under the categories of histories, comedies, and tragedies. Troilus and Cressida is a tragedy, but many would say it is not because Troilus does not die. Instead a noble fighter named Hector dies. Betrayal, love, and love causing betrayal is expressed in Troilus and Cressida when Cressida betrays Troilus by not railing against the Greeks, Troilus falling in love with Cressida, and in a way, Paris betraying the Trojans because he would not give up Helen which made the Trojans continue fighting.... [tags: Shakespearean Literature]
435 words (1.2 pages)
- The Character of Criseyde in Troilus and Criseyde Criseyde is a woman that is easily manipulated by male characters throughout Troilus and Criseyde. Despite being taken advantage of often, she takes advantage of each fall, making it into joy. The first important passage is when Pandarus first approaches Criseyde on behalf of Troilus. At the beginning on Pandarus' pleading, Criseyde is reluctant to accept Troilus. She has her doubts about the entire affair as any sane girl would. She exclaims that Pandarus is placing a double standard on her by saying she should get to know Troilus knowing his intentions are to love her.... [tags: Troilus Criseyde Essays]
675 words (1.9 pages)