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Troilus and Cressida Act 2, Scene 1 Summary
Elsewhere in the Greek camp, Ajax yells at his slave Thersites, who ignores him and talks smack about what it would be like if Agamemnon had a bunch of nasty, oozing boils and skin ulcers. (Gross! But go to " Symbols" if you want to know what's up with all the talk about disease and decay.) Ajax is enraged when his slave blows him off. He asks him if he's deaf and calls him a bunch of names like "dog," "bitch-wolf's son," "Toadstool," "cobloaf," and so on. (Hey, quick brain snack: a "cob loaf" is an ugly, misshapen piece of bread; a "toadstool" is a poisonous mushroom." Also—hmm. Looks like the Greek camp really is in chaos and disorder.) Just in case Thersites doesn't know he's in trouble, Ajax beats him... repeatedly. What does Thersites do? He eggs on Ajax and encourages the guy to beat him some more. Finally, Thersites calls Ajax an idiot and admits that when it comes to trash-talk, Thersites totally owns him. Tired of lazing about in their tent, Achilles and Patroclus show up and want to know what's going on. We find out that Ajax wants Thersites to find out about a proclamation that's just been issued, but Thersites refuses. Thersites keeps talking smack to his master and gets into a spat with Achilles. Then he storms off. Luckily, Achilles knows what's up. He tells Ajax that the proclamation is about the lottery to see who's going to throw down with Hector. Achilles brags that if there wasn't going to be a lottery, he'd be the guy chosen to fight, since he's so awesome. Ajax is all, "whatever, man." But hey! It looks like the plot might work.
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