So, you probably noticed all the shout-outs to actors, play-going audiences, and even the Globe Theater. What's up with that? Well, like a lot of Shakespeare's dramas, Troilus and Cressida is really self-conscious about its status as a stage play, and it's always drawing our attention to the fact that we're watching (or reading) a dramatic performance. The trick lets Shakespeare explore all kinds of nifty stuff like: (1) the relationship between real life and the theater and (2) the relationship between the theater and politics. To complicate matters, this particular play is also all worried about its relationship to the literary classics. (Someone give it some literary Valium, please, and stat.) Shakespeare always reminds us that his play's storyline depends on a long literary tradition. Yet, at the same time, the play debunks Homer's epic account of the Trojan War by recreating characters that don't live up to their literary reputations as "heroes."
Acting and impersonation are associated with disorder and rebellion in Troilus and Cressida.
By making all the heroes and heroines actors, Shakespeare is suggesting that we're all just playing a part.