Cressida begins with the Trojan War going on its seventh year.
Troilus is King Priam's youngest son and has fallen for Cressida,
the daughter of Calchas, traitor of the Trojans. Cressida's
uncle, the precocious Pandarus, encourages a romance between the
two which leads them straight to the bedchamber.
When we see
the Greeks at their camp, they are discussing the problem of the
arrogant Achilles' apathy toward the war, as being damaging to
the army's overall unity, morale and success. When the Trojan
warrior Hector issues a challenge to duel any Greek in one-on-one
combat, Ulysses chooses Ajax over Achilles to represent the
Greeks. Ulysses hope is to pierce Achilles pride and arouse his
motivation to fight.
father Calchas, has deserted Troy for the Greeks. He insists to
the Greeks that he is due a favor for joining them with his
knowledge of the Trojan forces. He proposes that the score will
be settled if the Greeks will exchange a Trojan prisoner for his
daughter, Cressida. Agamemnon, commander of the Greek army,
agrees to this, and Cressida is soon parted from Troilus, to
return to her father. Swearing her infidelity to Troilus,
Cressida appears inconsolable, because of their forced
separation. In the very next scene however, she displays an
unreasonably speedy recovery, when she meets and
flirtswith all the Greek generals, in particular Diomedes.
It is obvious has no problem with being untrue to Troilus,
despite his steadfast devotion.
and Ajax meet to have their duel, they fight half-heartedly until
Ajax declares the two shouldn't be fighting, because they are in
fact, literal cousins. The Trojans and Greeks find themselves on
good, even congenial, terms for the remainder of the day.
favor, Diomedes has been courting Cressida, since her arrival in
the Greek camp. While escorted in the Greek camp by Ulysses, a
heartbroken Troilus witmesses Cressida betray her vow to him by
giving Diomedes the sleeve that Troilus had given to her when she
left Troy. He vows to kill Diomedes in battle, though later fails
to actually do so.
major and final battle, Hector slays Patroclus, which arouses the
wrath of Achilles at last. (Achilles and Patroclus were so close
that they were accused of being lovers.) Achilles finds Hector
resting at the end of the day and in a cowardly fashion, has his
men slay the Hector as he is unarmed and resting. Troy has
suffered a grave defeat by the end of the day, and Troilus
expresses his rage by cursing and blamimg both Achilles and
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