Study Guide

Troilus and Cressida Act 3, Scene 1

By William Shakespeare

Act 3, Scene 1

Read the full text of Troilus and Cressida Act 3 Scene 1 with a side-by-side translation HERE.

  • At Priam's palace, Pandarus chats with a servant while he waits to see Paris.
  • The servant says that Paris is relaxing and listening to some music with "the mortal Venus, the heart-blood of beauty, love's invisible soul." (In other words, move over Angelina Jolie because Helen is the sexiest woman alive. At least in this play.)
  • Pandarus is all "whatever, have you seen my niece Cressida? She's way hotter than Helen."
  • Now Paris and Helen enter the room with a bunch of servants.
  • Pandarus falls all over himself flattering her, despite the fact that he just said she wasn't all that.
  • Helen's not buying any of Pandarus's business. She cracks a few sarcastic comments about what a wanna-be smooth talker he is.
  • Finally, Pandarus delivers a message from Troilus, who says he's sorry but he can't make it to dinner that night. Helen and Paris are all "Gee, we wonder where Troilus is going to be tonight. Is he going to be hooking up with Cressida?"
  • Pandarus denies this and tries to change the subject.
  • Helen flirts/bullies Pandarus into entertaining her by singing a mildly dirty love song about Cupid's "shaft" and "dying" love. (In Elizabethan literature, "dying" = orgasm, so we'd probably give this song a PG-13.)
  • Paris and Helen torment Pandarus by talking about "hot blood" (lust) and "hot deeds" (sex). This totally fake-embarrasses Pandarus, who leaves. Helen is all, "See ya later Pandarus. Say 'hi' to your pretty niece for me!"
  • The A-List couple decide to go greet the warriors returning from the battlefield. Paris turns to Helen and says something flirty like, "Honey, I need you to do me a big favor. Can you use your "enchanting fingers" to undress Hector? The poor guy has a really hard time taking off his armor." Okay, Paris. Whatever turns you on.
  • Helen chuckles seductively and says she'd be "proud to be his servant."