Troilus and Cressida | Study Guide

William Shakespeare

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Troilus and Cressida | Act 5, Scene 8 | Summary

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Summary

Thersites watches Menelaus and Paris fight before being challenged to battle by a bastard, a son of King Priam of Troy. Thersites flees instead of staying to fight.

Analysis

Thersites functions once more as the chorus during the fight between Menelaus and Paris, commenting on their strange connection as Helen's husband and Helen's lover, respectively. Their fight mimics that of Diomedes and Troilus, though Menelaus has a much more legitimate claim to anger—he is married to Helen, and it is Paris who is the interloper.

Thersites meets another son of King Priam—this one a bastard who pursues Thersites despite the latter's unwillingness to fight. This action again contrasts with Hector's treatment of Thersites, and drives home his heroic behavior when compared to nearly everyone else.

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