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troiluscressidaessay - Professor Rhonda Sanford ENGLISH...

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Professor Rhonda Sanford ENGLISH 3573-3 Assignment 1 Love and War in Troilus and Cressida Love and war are topics addressed with cynicism and polyvalence in Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida. Through character’s witty remarks, prose, or drawn out speeches, a deduction of Shakespeare’s further commentary can be drawn. A constant theme throughout the play is reflected through the character’s discussion of power in the realms of love and war. Both seem to be heavily dominated by men and men set the standards that women rely on for their own values in society. Ulysses’s war speech discusses the hierarchies explored in the play, while Cressida’s character’s wit provides the reader with a breath of fresh air concerning the strict power relations dominating the play. The commentary from Thersites about war is equally as interesting providing yet another layer to the complexity of the role of love and war within the play. The love plot of Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida is an interesting contrast to Geoffrey Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde , an interpretation of Boccaccio’s Il Filistrato . In Chaucer’s version, Troilus and Criseyde are involved in a very naïve love affair facilitated heavily by Criseyde’s uncle, Pandarus. Shakespeare uses a similar model, however provides Cressida with more dimension as Chaucer’s Criseyde is only seen briefly in the first two books and does not provide the reader with insight to her thoughts. She is submissive to her uncle and does not appear to make many decisions of her own.
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