Troilus and Cressida Characters
TroilusA young Trojan Prince, son of King Priam and Queen Hecuba. He and his brothers - Hector, Paris, and Helenus - are Troy's reigning champions. Troilus is in love with the beautiful Cressida. In both English legend and Shakespeare's play, he is the embodiment of truth and constancy, even though his simple attachment to the truth seems at times naive in the context of the brutality of the Trojan War.
PandarusCressida's bawdy uncle, Pandarus serves as a go-between for Troilus and Cressida and provides the young lovers with a place to spend the night together. His chief donation to literature is his name - he gives us the noun "panderer" and the verb "to pander".
AeneasThe most famous Trojan prince, the protagonist of Virgil's Aeneid. Aeneas is the legendary founder of Rome.
CressidaThe Trojan daughter of Calchas and Pandarus' niece, Cressida is beautiful, intelligent, and fiercely aware of the intricacies of the power structure during times of war. Troilus woos her through Pandarus on the same night that her father, who has defected to the Greeks, bargains for her transport to the Greek camp. In Chaucer, Cressida is merely the embodiment of the false woman; in Shakespeare's work, her character is far more complex.
AlexanderA servant to Cressida.
AntenorA Trojan commander. He is captured by the Greeks, and Calchas negotiates his return in exchange for Cressida.
HectorPriam's son and Andromache's husband, Hector is the most honorable and fearsome of Troy's warriors. Achilles slaughters him while he is unarmed and drags his body through the fields.
ParisThe beauteous Trojan prince who stole Helen from Menelaus, thus initiating the Trojan War. Paris and Helen live in luxury while Greeks and Romans alike die for their misdeeds.
HelenusOne of Priam's sons.
DeiphobusA son of Priam.
AchillesThe most fearsome Greek warrior, and also the most prideful. He has grown tired of battle and spends his days in defiance of his superiors, putting on plays with his lover Patroclus. Odysseus plots to incite him to engage in battle.
Troilus' boyServant to Troilus.
AgamemnonThe Greeks' general and Menelaus' brother. Agamemnon is pompous and windy; the real power in the Greek army seems rather to come from Odysseus.
NestorGreece's aged commander and Ulysses' confidant.
UlyssesThe cleverest, most scheming Greek. His speeches are beautiful and eloquent, though his principles are merely a smokescreen for his relentless pursuit of power.
MenelausThe King of Sparta, Agamemnon's brother, and Helen's cuckolded husband. He is disliked by both the Greeks and the Trojans, who must die simply because he has been cuckolded.
AjaxA Greek commander with a Trojan mother, Ajax is a cousin of the princes of Troy. A dim-witted man, he is ridiculed by both the Greeks and the Trojans, though the Greeks are willing to use him in Ulysses' plot to return Achilles to battle.
ThersitesA cowardly and low-ranking Greek soldier. The bilious soul of the play, Thersites endlessly expresses his disgust with the charade of the Trojan War.
PatroclusA Greek soldier and Achilles' lover, Patroclus spends his days with Achilles, mocking the Greek commanders. His death spurs Achilles to slaughter Hector.
CassandraDaughter of Priam, twin sister of Helenus, and soothsayer, Cassandra is cursed because she can see the future, but no one believes her prophecies.
DiomedesThe Greek warrior sent to escort Cressida to the Greek camp. Diomedes courts Cressida in front of Troilus.
Servant to ParisOne of Paris' servants.
HelenAcknowledged to be the most beautiful woman in the world, Helen is living in Troy as Paris's beloved while her husband King Menelaus (and most of the Greek world) fights to win her back. She and Paris live a charmed life together, far removed from the carnage their affair is causing.
CalchasCressida's father and a Trojan priest who defects to the Greeks. Calchas organizes the trade of Antenor for Cressida.
AndromacheHector's wife. Andromache foresees her husband's death and tries to convince him not to go into battle. He refuses, and is killed.
MargarelonPriam's illegitimate son.
MyrmidonsAchilles' warriors. At Achilles' bidding, they slaughter Hector when he is unarmed.
Troilus and Cressida Essays and Related Content
- Troilus and Cressida: Major Themes
- Troilus and Cressida: Essays
- Troilus and Cressida: E-Text
- Troilus and Cressida: Questions
- Troilus and Cressida: Purchase the Novel and Related Material
- William Shakespeare: Biography
- Troilus and Cressida Summary
- About Troilus and Cressida
- Character List
- Glossary of Terms
- Major Themes
- Summary and Analysis of Act One
- Summary and Analysis of Act Two
- Summary and Analysis of Act Three
- Summary and Analysis of Act Four
- Summary and Analysis of Act Five
- Troilus and Cressida In (and Out Of) Performance
- Related Links on Troilus and Cressida
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