Troilus and Cressida
Troilus and Cressida Principles Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Act.Scene.Line)
I have a young conception in my brain, Be you my time to bring it to shape. (1.3.312-313)
Mere moments after Ulysses delivers a big, fancy speech about the importance of social hierarchy and respect for authority (1.3.75-137), he hatches a scheme to trick Achilles back onto the battlefield by making him jealous of Ajax, who is being sent to fight Hector in man-to-man combat despite the fact that Achilles is the better man. We know that Ulysses has got a literary rep for being all crafty (especially in the Iliad), but Shakespeare makes the dude downright hypocritical in this play.
But I would have the soil of her fair rape Wip'd off, in honorable keeping her. What treason were it to the ransack'd queen, Disgrace to your great worths, and shame to me, Now to deliver her possession up On terms of base compulsion! (2.2.148-153)
When Paris argues that the Trojans should never give Helen back to the Greeks, he doesn't exactly sound like an honorable guy, does he? Here, he acknowledges the fact that the kidnapping ("rape") of "fair" Helen has brought about some kind of dishonor ("soil"). But, he thinks that if he can keep her, it will somehow erase the dishonor he caused when he captured her in the first place. That's some pretty fuzzy logic.
[...] But, worthy Hector, She is the theme of honor and renown, A spur to valiant and magnanimous deeds, Whose present courage may beat down our foes, And fame in time to come canonize us. (2.2.198-202)
Troilus thinks that defending the Trojans' right to keep Helen will bring "honor" and "fame." Here, he looks to the future and insists that the war will memorialize ("canonize") the Trojans as heroes. This is pretty ironic. Shakespeare is memorializing the Trojans, all right, but there's nothing "valiant and magnanimous" about the way he's portraying them.