Troilus and Cressida Study Guide (Choose to Continue)


Troilus and Cressida: Act 5 - scene 7, 8, 9, 10

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Act 5, scene 7

Achilles gathers his men, the Myrmidons, and tells them his plan for Hector. When he comes upon the Trojan, the Myrmidons are to surround him and close in on him.


Menelaus and Paris are seen fighting, and Thersites mocks them both. A Trojan named Margarelon enters and challenges Thersites to fight. He says he is a bastard son of Priam. Thersites says that he, too, is a bastard, and seeks common cause with the other man on that basis. Then he exits, to avoid a fight.



Achilles clearly plans to kill Hector by any means necessary.


Thersites, in this scene as well as act 5, scene 4, ensures that the seamy side of this war is foremost in the audience’s mind. In his satirical commentary on the battle, and his ability to survive by using his wits, he resembles another great Shakespearean character, Sir John Falstaff in Henry IV parts 1 and 2. Falstaff in the battle that serves as the climax to Henry IV, Part I, has a similar attitude toThersites, and survives through similar methods.


Act 5, scene 8

Hector has killed the anonymous Greek warrior for his armor. Now he removes his armor and takes a rest. Achilles and the Myrmidons appear. Hector says that he is unarmed and that they should not exploit their advantage. But Achilles and his men kill him anyway. Achilles tells his men to announce everywhere that Achilles has killed Hector. Achilles orders that Hector’s body be tied to the tail of his horse and dragged across the battlefield.



The negative note sounded about Hector in scene 6 is continued here, as Hector is clearly satisfied with the rich armor he has taken from the dead Greek. He takes the opportunity to take a breather, which ends up costing him his life. The scene is deliberately anti-climactic. Instead of a great battle between two warriors in single combat, Achilles and his men ambush the unarmed Hector and stab him to death. It is little more than treachery, butAchilles then boasts about it. Achilles sinks to a new low in this scene; there is nothing heroic about him. This sums up the attitude the dramatist has taken to the war throughout the play.


Act 5, scene 9

The Greek warriors learn of Hector’s death. Agamemnon believes this will soon lead to the fall of Troy.


Act 5, scene 10

Troilus brings news to the Trojans that Hector is dead. Troilus thinks that Troy cannot survive much longer. He calls Achilles a coward and vows to have revenge on him. Everyone exits except Troilus, and Pandarus enters. Troilus insults him and exits. Pandarus speaks the last words of the play. He regrets that his services in bringing lovers together, and that of others who perform the same function, is so despised, in spite of being so necessary.



Fittingly in this play that has linked war and lust, the last word is given to Pandarus, who acted as the go-between for the two lovers. The images of venereal disease in his speech, as well as the allusions to prostitutes and brothels, are also appropriate. They end the play on a sordid note, leaving the impression on the audience, if ever they were in any doubt, that there is nothing heroic about the Trojan war. Everything revolves around lust and lechery. 


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