Troilus and Cressida

Troilus and Cressida Essay Questions

  1. 1

    Compare Troilus' method of wooing Cressida with Diomedes'. Which method seems better-matched to Cressida's own language? What does Shakespeare accomplish with this contrast?

  2. 2

    Discuss the domesticity/war dichotomy in Troilus and Cressida. How do characters in the play discuss this contrast? Does the play compromise the dichotomy in any way?

  3. 3

    How is Troilus and Cressida a comedy? How is it a history? How is it a tragedy? Discuss the play's generic ambiguity in connection to its form and content. What does the play say about genre?

  4. 4

    Discuss the character of Thersites. What does he contribute to the play? Is he an honest character? If so, how is his honesty comparable or incomparable to Troilus'?

  5. 5

    Troilus and Cressida has an infamous final act - it is often considered confusing and inappropriate to the preceding action. What does the effect of ending with Pandarus bring to the play? Do you see a metaphorical resonance in the end of the play as it stands?

  6. 6

    How are women valued in Troilus and Cressida? Look at Cressida's first soliloquy in the context of female value. How does language play into value?

  7. 7

    Compare Act One scene three and Act Two scene two. How do the Greeks debate in contrast to the Trojans? What do they respectively discuss?

  8. 8

    There are three obvious "private" spaces in the play - Achilles' tent, Pandarus' house, and Paris' room. All three of these spaces are associated with sexuality. Compare and discuss these spaces. What, if anything, distinguishes them? In this context, discuss the relationship between war and sex in the play.

  9. 9

    How does Troilus and Cressida treat performance? Discuss the performances in Achilles' tent, Pandarus' songs (as well as his words on the subject), and other examples of performance. How is performance a source of anxiety in the play?

  10. 10

    Address the ways in which Troilus and Cressida challenges the chivalric tradition. Who embodies chivalry in the play and what are these characters' fates? How is this an anti-Romantic play in terms of its poetry?