The Book(s) of Love No. 3: Troilus & Cressida by William Shakespeare


“All lovers swear more performance than they are able, and yet reserve an ability that they never perform; vowing more than the perfection of ten, and discharging less than the tenth part of one.”


Ok, so it’s a play – get mad at me why don’t ya!  Nah, you wouldn’t do that.  This is, in my opinion, one of Shakespeare’s more interesting plays, but it is rarely taught and not performed as often as many of the other plays.  Like Romeo & Juliet, it’s a comedy… until it turns into a tragedy.  It’s incredibly funny, until it’s incredibly sad.  Cressida is in love with Troilus, until she’s not.  A lot of people have problems with this play because, unlike R&J, it’s not as tight, and it’s often difficult to determine the characters’ motives.  In my mind, that’s what makes it all the more interesting and all the more life-like.  Sometimes people make odd decisions that seem counter to their feelings and needs.  Under duress, people have been known to act illogically, and if the Trojan War doesn’t count as “duress” in your book, then I’m not sure what does.


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