Title: Troilus and Cressida
Author: William Shakespeare
First published January 1, 1601
343 pages, Mass Market Paperback
ISBN: 9780671669164 (ISBN10: 0671669168)
The Arden Shakespeare’s edition of Shakespeare’s Sonnets is a testament to the highest standards of contemporary scholarship. With a clear and authoritative text that has been reedited for the third time, this volume provides readers with detailed textual notes and commentary on the same page of the text.
The full contextual, illustrated introduction offers an in-depth survey of critical and performance approaches to the sonnets. Additionally, readers will find a selected bibliography that will aid in further research.
Experience Shakespeare’s Sonnets like never before with the Arden Shakespeare edition.
About the Author
William Shakespeare, an English poet and playwright, is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England’s national poet and the “Bard of Avon.” He was born and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon and scholars believe that he died on his fifty-second birthday, coinciding with St George’s Day.
At the age of 18, Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway, who bore him three children: Susanna, and twins Hamnet and Judith. Between 1585 and 1592, he began a successful career in London as an actor, writer, and part owner of the playing company the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, later known as the King’s Men.
He seems to have retired to Stratford around 1613, where he died three years later. Very little information about Shakespeare’s private life survives, and there has been considerable speculation about his sexuality, religious beliefs, and whether the works attributed to him were written by others.
Shakespeare produced most of his known work between 1590 and 1613. His early plays were mainly comedies and histories, and he raised these genres to the peak of sophistication and artistry by the end of the sixteenth century.
Next, he wrote mainly tragedies until about 1608, including “Hamlet,” “Othello,” and “King Lear,” which are considered some of the finest examples in the English language. In his last phase, he wrote tragicomedies, also known as romances, and collaborated with other playwrights.
Many of his plays were published in editions of varying quality and accuracy during his lifetime, and in 1623, two of his former theatrical colleagues published the “First Folio,” a collected edition of his dramatic works that included all but two of the plays now recognized as Shakespeare’s.
Shakespeare was a respected poet and playwright in his own day, but his reputation did not rise to its present heights until the nineteenth century. The Romantics, in particular, acclaimed Shakespeare’s genius, and the Victorians hero-worshipped him with a reverence that George Bernard Shaw called “bardolatry.” In the twentieth century, his work was repeatedly adopted and rediscovered by new movements in scholarship and performance.
His plays remain highly popular today and are consistently performed and reinterpreted in diverse cultural and political contexts throughout the world.
According to historians, Shakespeare wrote 37 plays and 154 sonnets throughout his lifetime, averaging 1.5 plays a year since he first started writing in 1589. However, there have been plays and sonnets attributed to Shakespeare that were not actually written by him.
Troilus and Cressida by William Shakespeare is a tragedy set during the Trojan War, and is one of the lesser-known works by the prolific playwright. First published in 1601, it explores themes of love, war, betrayal, and the pursuit of power.
Known for his wit, complex characters, and intricate plots, Shakespeare delves into the psyche of the characters as they navigate the tumultuous world around them. The plot centers around Troilus, a Trojan prince, and his love for Cressida, a Trojan woman who is exchanged for a Greek warrior as part of a prisoner exchange.
The play also features other major characters such as the Greek warriors Ajax and Achilles, as well as Pandarus, who acts as a go-between for Troilus and Cressida. The play is set against the backdrop of the Trojan War, as the Greeks and Trojans battle for supremacy.
One of the complexities of the play is the portrayal of the main characters, who are far from the heroic figures that are typically associated with characters from the Trojan War. Instead, they are depicted as flawed, selfish, and often duplicitous.
The main conflict in the play is not between the Greeks and Trojans, but between the characters themselves, as they scheme and plot against each other in their efforts to gain power and control. While Troilus and Cressida is not one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays, it is notable for its examination of the human psyche, and its deconstruction of the ideals of chivalry and heroism.
It is also worth noting that the play was written during a period of great political and social upheaval in England, and its themes of war and betrayal may have resonated with audiences at the time. Despite its strengths, the play has some weaknesses, particularly in its structure and pacing.
The plot can be convoluted at times, and some of the characters are less developed than others. Additionally, the play’s use of language and references to classical mythology may make it difficult for some modern readers to follow.
Overall, Troilus and Cressida is an intriguing play that offers a unique perspective on the Trojan War and its aftermath. While it may not be for everyone, it is a must-read for Shakespeare fans who are looking to explore some of his lesser-known works.
Its examination of the darker aspects of human nature and its exploration of themes that are still relevant today make it a valuable addition to the Shakespearean canon. Rating: 4/5