Troilus and Cressida | Study Guide

William Shakespeare

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Troilus and Cressida | Act 5, Scene 7 | Summary



Achilles gathers his Myrmidons, a group of soldiers he commands, and orders them to hold themselves in reserve during the fighting until Hector appears and then to attack and kill him.


Achilles's behavior is not worthy of a hero; he descends into full-on villain mode here. Shakespeare dismantles the idea Achilles and the rest of the Greeks were ever heroic in the Trojan War. Achilles gives the order to bushwhack Hector and possibly allows Greek soldiers to be killed as his own warriors sit out the battle. With the battle being as fraught as it is, the Greeks could use the assistance of the Myrmidons, but Achilles insists on behaving selfishly. These are not the actions of an epic hero; instead, they are cowardly and self-serving.

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