Troilus and Cressida
Philosophical Viewpoints Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
Her bed is India; there she lies, a pearl: Between our Ilium and where she resides, Let it be call'd the wild and wandering flood, Ourself the merchant, and this sailing Pandar Our doubtful hope, our convoy and our bark. (1.1.100-104)
Troilus is head over heels for Cressida. But, what's weird is that he sees himself as a "merchant" who is embarking on some kind of business venture (with Pandarus as a go-between). What does that make Cressida? A commodity. According to Troilus, she's a "pearl" that he'd be willing to sail across the ocean to get his hands on. Throughout the play, Troilus will use this same kind of marketplace language to describe why women like Cressida and Helen are so "valuable" to men like him and Paris. And Cressida is wise to this. When she calls her uncle Pandarus a "bawd" she points out how she is basically being trafficked to Troilus by a man who is acting like her "pimp."
Things won are done, joy's soul lies in the doing. That she belov'd now knows nought that knows nought this: Men prize the thing ungain'd more than it is. (1.2.287-289)
This is where Cressida explains why she's been playing hard to get with Troilus: she's afraid that he won't value or "prize" her anymore after he's had sex with her. The idea that women lose their "value" after they've had sex with a man is an idea that's repeated throughout the play. (And, uh, in a lot of other places, too.)
Therefore 'tis meet Achilles meet not Hector. Let us, like merchants, show our foulest wares, And think, perchance, they'll sell; if not, The lustre of the better yet to show, Shall show the better. Do not consent That ever Hector and Achilles meet; For both our honor and our shame in this Are dogg'd with two strange followers. (1.3.357-364)
Ulysses uses the language of selling and bartering to explain why the Greeks should send Ajax to battle Hector instead of the great Achilles. Basically, he compares himself and the other military leaders to "merchants" or businessmen who are trying to "sell" their products by showing a customer their "foul wares" (a.k.a. Ajax) first so that when they bring out the really good stuff (Achilles), it will look that much better to the consumer. Used car salesman, much?