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Posts by Herbert Benario

Troilus and Cressida and Tacitus

by Herbert W. Benario

This play is one of Shakespeare’s oddest. The theme focuses upon the Trojan War, with constant interplay among the great figures of the Greeks and Trojans, in the seventh year of the war. The cause of the war, the Trojan prince Paris stealing the beauteous wife of

Shakespeare will pronounce harsh judgments upon the heroine of the play. Her behavior and character will be sharply contrasted with one of Tacitus’ prime female figures in the struggle between Romans and Germans. Both suffer the indignity of being handed over to the enemy by their fathers. But their response and behavior are vastly different.

The focus of the play is likewise upon a young man and woman, Troilus, a son of King Priam of Troy, and Cressida, hitherto unknown in the ancient legend of Troy. She plays a relatively small role in the drama; indeed, almost everything about her is quizzical. She is traded by her father, Calchas, a seer who went over to the Greeks Read more …