Troilus and Cressida Commentary

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Act I, Scene III of Troilus and Cressida by Shakespeare features members from the Greek army. From lines 22 to 54, Nestor further applies a previous speech by Agamemnon. The condition of the Greek army is stressed, as the war is not going the way the Greeks would like. This is a dire situation in the Greek camp, and these speeches aim to rally the troops to fight back in this war with the Trojans. This excerpt is significant in that there is a good use of literary techniques to demonstrate the importance of the war, and key themes are portrayed in this passage. In Troilus and Cressida, Shakespeare expresses the importance of themes of order and struggle through the use of literary devices such as metaphors, word choice, tone, and perspective.

In this passage, Shakespeare uses the metaphor of “shallow bauble boats” (Shakespeare I:III: 35) to signify the importance of balance and order in the world. When “the sea [is] smooth” (I:III: 34), meaning when life is going well, men, the big boats, will sail with boys, portrayed as the smaller boats. This use of metaphors signifies that, in the right situation, men are equivalent to boys, and there is a balance. In addition, the use of “liquid mountains cut” (I:III: 40) is to represent the waves in the sea that are as large as mountains. This depicts the seas being angry with the gods, causing much trouble for the boats trying to pass, meaning the men and boys. There are two options that these men and boys are faced with. They can sail “either to harbor fled” (I:III: 44), meaning they can sail into the storm and face the obstacles, “or [make] a toast

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for Neptune” (I:III: 45), in which they sink to the bottom of the ocean failing to weather the storm. These metaphors portray these men in a world controlled by the gods, leaving the choice up to the men and boys as to whether they face adversity head on or fall victim to the struggles. This has overall importance in that struggle is present in Troilus...
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