Review: Troilus and Cressida

Posted 15 July, 2015 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

Troilus and Cressida
By: William Shakespeare
Format/Source: eBook

It is the seventh year of the Trojan War. The Greek army is camped outside Troy and Achilles, their military hero, refuses to fight. Inside the city Troilus, the Trojan king’s son, falls in love with Cressida, whose father has defected to the Greek camp. In an exchange of prisoners the couple are split – they believe for ever.

And here I am, down to the final two Shakespeare plays I have yet to read 😛 I suppose I decided to pick this one up first because it’s one of the lesser-known plays so I wanted to see what it was all about.

The story of Troilus and Cressida–two Trojans who fall in love but are torn apart by the war–certainly dwarfs the larger events that is the Trojan War with characters like Achilles, Ajax, Priam, and Hector running around. Thinking about it now, Troilus and Cressida must’ve had some three-four scenes together tops as their romance is cut short as the war overtakes them all. As a result, the romance isn’t terribly fleshed out; it has hints of Romeo & Juliet (review) with the hidden nature of their relationship, but otherwise yeah, I wasn’t exactly taken by it, even as their relationship is threatened by the prisoner exchange. It also ends very abruptly and bleakly, with no clear conclusion, which adds to the lack of closure to the story.

Reading this play, I feel like this was Shakespeare’s attempt of writing the Trojan war. I haven’t read Homer’s The Iliad (another one of those classics long on my wish-to-read list) but this play pretty much follows the familiar events we know from movies, television, books, pop culture: why the war started, Patroclus vs. Hector, Achilles vs. Hector, Ajax vs…well, everyone. Even with Troilus’ perspective and his budding relationship with Cressida, I wasn’t terribly interested in the war storyline just because it felt like I’d seen it before, I don’t know. Lots of testosterone running around, certainly. And the play ends at a very bleak note, leaving me all “Oh. Well, okay, on to Antony and Cleopatra then.”

So yeah, yay that I got through Troilus and Cressida but yeah, it left me wanting.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

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2 Responses to “Review: Troilus and Cressida”

  1. Troilus and Cressida was on my high school edition of Romeo and Juliet. Reading the two of them back to back did a disservice to T&C, I think, because I can’t remember a single thing about it.

    • Oooh, that’s unfortunate that they partnered it with R&J! T&C does sadly pale compared to R&J. Thinking on it now, I can’t even think of a single scene from this play that stands out even just a wee bit =/

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