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MonkeyNotes-Troilus and Cressida by William Shakespeare
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Act V, Scene 10 Summary

Aeneas, Paris, Antenor and Deiphobus enter. Aeneas says that they must never go home and ‘here starve we out the night’ on the battlefield. Troilus enters and announces that Hector has been killed. Everybody is aghast. Troilus reiterates that Hector is dead and adds that his body had been dragged through the battlefield. He calls Achilles a murderer and expresses his disgust at his brutality. He calls on heaven to do what is to be done and tells the ‘gods, upon your thrones’ not to protract their inevitable destruction. Aeneas says that his words are discouraging the whole party. Troilus says that Aeneas doesn’t understand him.. He says the he does not speak of fleeing, of fear or of death, but dares all the impending dangers that gods and men prepare for. Hector is gone. Who will tell that to Priam or Hecuba, he wonders. He says that let anyone, who doesn’t mind being dubbed a screech owl, go into Troy and say ‘Hector is dead.’ That will turn Priam to stone, turn the maids and wives into weeping figures of stone like Niobe and scare Troy.

‘But march away,’ says Troilus who announces again that Hector is dead, and that ‘there is nothing more to say.’ Addressing the Greek tents, he tells them to stay pitched a while longer on the Phrygian plains - let the sun rise as early as he dared, and he, Troilus would go through and through them. And then in a remark directed at Achilles, the ‘great-siz’d coward,’ he vows that ‘No space of earth shall sunder our two hates /I’ll haunt thee like a wicked conscience still, /That mouldeth goblins swift as frenzy’s thoughts.’ Vowing to avenge Hector’s death, he calls for a brisk march back to the city. ‘Hope of revenge shall hide our inward woe,’ he says as the Trojan party exits leaving him behind.

Pandarus enters, who attempts to catch Troilus’ attention. Troilus tells him to get away from him, and contemptuously calls him ‘broker-lackey’ and hopes ignominy and shame pursues him and becomes synonymous with his name. He exits.


Pandarus whose body has by now been overrun with a host of venereal diseases comments that this is a good medicine for his aching bones. He comments: ‘Thus is the poor agent despised.’ He wonders why the endeavors of the likes of him are so loved and the performance so loathed. He argues that the employer of the Pandar comes to detest the agent who procured for him, and that the rejected Pander once so desirable, becomes impotent. He then breaks into a proverbial or traditional saying or rhyme to support his argument. The rhyme says the happiness of the Pandar is lost when he is no longer effective. He tells ‘Good traders in the flesh’ to set this lesson in their painted wall hangings.

Then addressing the guild of Pandarus, he says that their eyes affected by venereal disease should weep at his fall, and if they cannot weep to groan - not for him but for their own aching bones. Continuing his address to bawds and pandars, he says his will be made in a few months time. Pandarus adds that he would have made his will sooner but he fears that some infected prostitute from the Southwark stews who is offended by him would hiss. So until then, he will sit in a sweating tub and wish his diseases upon them.

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