Troilus and Cressida
Troilus and Cressida Philosophical Viewpoints Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Act.Scene.Line)
[...] Why, she is a pearl, Whose price hath launch'd above a thousand ships, and turned crown'd kings to merchants. (2.2.81-83)
Okay. Now Helen is an expensive "pearl"? We told you she's portrayed as a product. What's interesting is that Troilus also compares his girl Cressida to a "pearl" earlier in the play. What's up with that? Oh, yeah, these guys are all awful.
You have a Trojan prisoner, call'd Antenor, Yesterday took: Troy holds him very dear. Oft have you—often have you thanks therefore— Desired my Cressid in right great exchange, Whom Troy hath still denied: but this Antenor, I know, is such a wrest in their affairs That their negotiations all must slack, Wanting his manage; and they will almost Give us a prince of blood, a son of Priam, In change of him: (3.3.19-28)
When Calchas arranges for his daughter Cressida to be "exchange[d]" for a Trojan prisoner named Antenor, he reconfirms the notion that Cressida is an object that can be simply traded between men. We also want to point out that, in this passage, it's not just a woman who is being treated like merchandise. Antenor is a guy, and it's pretty clear that the Trojans value him because they'd probably give up a prince in exchange for him. Although, we should point out that Cressida is valued for her sexual appeal. That's not the case for Antenor, who is worth something because of his political connections.
What, am I poor of late? [...] Save these men's looks, who do methinks find out Some thing not worth in me such right beholding As they have often give. (3.3.74-91)
Achilles is afraid that he's no longer valued by his fellow Greeks because nobody is giving him props like they used to. In other words, he thinks his value as a person depends on whether or not other people think he's worth something. This is pretty much what Troilus argues earlier in the play when he asks, "What's aught but as 'tis valued?" (2.2.52).