Study Guide

Troilus and Cressida Act 4, Scene 5

By William Shakespeare

Act 4, Scene 5

Read the full text of Troilus and Cressida Act 4 Scene 5 with a side-by-side translation HERE.

  • Cut to the Greek camp, which looks like an ancient version of a Las Vegas boxing ring... except it's full of armor and other combat equipment instead of boxing gloves and stuff.
  • Also, the lighting isn't quite as good.
  • Ajax is getting ready to go toe-to-toe with Hector, when Diomedes shows up with Cressida.
  • The Greeks give Cressida a hearty welcome by kissing and flirting with her—first Agamemnon, then Nestor, followed by Achilles, and then Patroclus (twice).
  • Menelaus does one better, talking dirty to Cressida and reminding everyone that he used to make out all the time with his ex-wife, Helen.
  • Keep it classy, Menelaus.
  • When Cressida reaches Ulysses, she tries to flirt with him but Ulysses is mean. He says he'll "beg" Cressida for a kiss the day that Helen becomes "a maid again" and gets back together with Menelaus. (Translation: When hell freezes over.)
  • When she leaves, Ulysses says he thinks Cressida was acting "sluttish" when she arrived at camp and compares her to a prostitute.
  • Again, we have to ask: how much choice did she have, really?
  • A trumpet sounds, signaling the arrival of the Trojans.
  • Aeneas points out that Hector and Ajax are related, so Hector will probably go easy on his nephew.
  • Achilles points out that it's going to be a "maiden battle," meaning, a battle that's going to come to an end before anybody gets killed or maimed too badly.
  • Hey, that's good news, right?
  • While Ajax and Hector are getting ready to rumble, Troilus shows up.
  • Ulysses tells Agamemnon about Troilus's reputation as kid who's an up-and-coming warrior but still kind of a rookie when it comes to warfare.
  • Trumpets sound and Ajax and Hector go at it... for about 2 seconds before the fight is stopped. (We're talking, like, 5 lines of dialogue, tops.)
  • Yep. That's a major letdown all right, Shmooperinos. Shakespeare is all about the anti-climax in this play.
  • Ajax says he's ready for round 2 but Hector politely says they better stop before the fight gets all "gory." (Read: before Hector whoops up on Ajax.)
  • Hector suggests they hug it out like family but Ajax admits he came to kill the old-school warrior so he could gain some honor and a little bit of street cred.
  • Oh well. Ajax invites Hector back to the Greek camp, where he's given a hero's welcome. (Quick comparison to Cressida, who's just been treated like a piece of meat.)
  • Hector and Ajax give each other props and agree to a temporary truce since they admire each other so much.
  • The Greek who doesn't show Hector any respect is Achilles, but he doesn't show anyone much respect, so—no big surprise there.
  • Hector asks why he's trying to mad-dog him with his "eyes."
  • Before we know it, Achilles points to a bunch of Hector's body parts and is all "Hmm. When I kill you, I wonder if I should stab you here or here or, hey, maybe here."
  • Hector tells Achilles to watch his back on the battlefield because he's not just going to stab him in one place. He's going to "kill" him everywhere, over and over, and over again. Oh snap!
  • Ajax tries to make peace, but Hector's not finished. He reminds everyone that Achilles has been shacked up in his tent while everyone else gets their battle on.
  • Achilles is all "Game on, Hector! I'm going to kill you... tomorrow."
  • In the meantime, Agamemnon invites everyone to his tent for a huge feast.
  • Troilus and Ulysses are left alone on stage.
  • Troilus wants to know where he can find Cressida's dad, Calchas.
  • He's with Diomedes and, by the way, Diomedes totally wants to hook up with Cressida.
  • Troilus wants to go to Calchas' tent after dinner, which is fine by Ulysses, but first can Troilus tell him if Cressida had a bad rep in Troy and whether or not she had a lover?
  • Um, about that. Troilus says, yeah, she did. But he stops short of telling Ulysses it was him.