Troilus and Cressida
Politics (vs. Personal Life) Quotes Page 1
How we cite our quotes:
The ravish'd Helen, Menelaus' queen, With wanton Paris sleeps; and that's the quarrel. (Prologue, 9-10)
From the very beginning we're told that Paris' personal relationship with Helen is the root cause of the Trojan War. Notice how "Helen" is the subject of the sentence, though? It sure sounds like they're blaming her—when it really sounds like they should be blaming him.
Why should I war without the walls of Troy, That find such cruel battle here within? Each Trojan that is master of his heart, Let him to field; Troilus, alas! hath none. (1.1.2-5)
The first time we hear from Troilus, he tells us that he feels torn between his personal life (his love for Cressida) and his public duty (his service in the military). Way to set the tone, Shakespeare.
Fools on both sides, Helen must needs be fair, When with your blood you daily paint her thus. I cannot fight upon this argument; It is too starv'd a subject for my sword. (1.1.90-93)
Hmm. Troilus raises a pretty good question here, don't you think? Why are so many men willing to risk their lives to fight in a war just so that Paris can continue his affair with Helen?