All posts by kashaallen

The Winter’s Tale Movie

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The Winter’s Tale (1609-1611) is a story of loss and redemption. In a fit of wild and untrue jealousy, Leontes, the King of Sicily, convinces himself that his pregnant wife is carrying his best friend’s love child. Leontes’s jealousy turns to tyranny as the king proceeds to destroy his entire family and a lifelong friendship. Sixteen long years pass, and we witness one of the most astonishing endings in English literature.

The play is famous for its two-part structure, which makes The Winter’s Tale seem like two entirely different plays that are joined together at the end. The first three acts enact a mini-tragedy and occur in wintery Sicily, while the second half of the play occurs in Bohemia during the summer months and features the kind of restorative ending typical of Shakespeare’s “comedies.

Wheel of War

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In Troilus and Cressida I keep seeing the image of the wheel when it comes to the main conflict. Each character is a rung in the wheel and is responsible for some action or another that plays a role in the larger battle.  The seven rungs each represent a character who played a part in what lead up to the destruction of Troy. It isn’t a single event that brought on Troy’s destruction, but rather a series of events starting with Paris stealing Helen and ending with Hector killing Patroclus.

Paris

Paris has allowed his lust and desire for a woman to cloud his judgement. All he wanted was to possess Helen and he never thought about the consequences. Paris is the horney Trojan prince who started the Trojan War when he stole Helen from the Greek
King Menelaus (Prologue, 8-10). In the play, Shakespeare
doesn’t have a lot of patience for this guy—he portrays him
as a selfish brat who cares more about getting laid than the
people who are killed fighting in the Trojan War. As his dad
points out, Paris acts “Like one besotted on [his] own sweet
delights” (2.2.142).

Helen

The wife of Menelaus and cause of the Trojan war. If People magazine had been around in ancient Troy,  Helen would have been the tabloid mag’s “Sexiest Woman Alive” 10 years in a row. (You know, because that’s how long the Trojan War lasted.) Her
beauty is so legendary it “hath launch’d above a thousand ships”
(2.2.82), and she’s always being described as “the mortal Venus, the
heart-blood of beauty, / love’s invisible soul” (3.1.32-33). But don’t
hate her because she’s beautiful—it’s a hard life. Her relationship with Paris is the whole cause of the Trojan War.

Troilus

Troilus is a young Trojan prince who falls for the wrong girl
(that would be Cressida). If he were a real person living in the 21st
century, he’d be starring in an episode of Cheaters or telling Jerry
Springer all about the time he hid in the bushes outside his
girlfriend’s house and watched her agree to a steamy hook-up with
another guy (5.2).

Cressida

Cressida, daughter to Calchas and at one time in a relationship with Troilus. She’s Troilus’ girlfriend and the daughter of Calchas, a.k.a. the slime-ball who betrays Troy and joins the Greeks. (Hmm. Looks like the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.) She’s also one of the most famous she-cheaters of all time. In the play, she falls in love with Troilus and promises to be faithful to him forever. Until she’s traded to the Greek army for a Trojan soldier and agrees to become Diomedes’ lover. Oops!

Priam

Priam, King of Troy, Priam is the King of Troy and the father of Paris, Troilus, Hector, and Helenus. In the play, he’s portrayed as a loving but overindulgent dad who lets his sons have the final say in everything. It turns out that being a wimpy dad / king has some pretty tragic consequences. Like total ruin.

Hector

Hector is definitely the most crush-worthy of the Trojans, at least by reputation. Most stories show him as the biggest,
baddest, most honorable Trojan soldier around. In classic literature like The Iliad, Hector is the poster boy of “virtue” because he’s the ultimate family man and honorable warrior. His killing of Patroclus is what ultimately brings Achilles into the battle and causes Hector his life.

Achilles

Achilles has a reputation for being the Greek army’s toughest and most important warrior. There’s just one problem: he doesn’t quite live up to his reputation in this play. How can he when he refuses to come out of his tent and fight?

One thing’s for sure. When Patroclus dies in battle, Achilles is back in action in about 2.5 seconds. So, what does our “mighty” warrior do when he returns to the battlefield? Does he perform a bunch of heroic and noble deeds that we can all admire? Not so much. He gathers up his hired goons (the Myrmidons) and proceeds to slaughter an unarmed man. Then he has the guy’s corpse dragged around the battlefield (5.8).

Yeah, so much for “great warrior.” More like big, whiny bully.

Betrayal and Sex

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The scene that speaks to me the most about Troilus and Cressida relationship or rather the demise of the relationship is when he finds out that she has betrayed him with Diomed.The look of absolute anger and hatred speaks to the very hurt that he was feeling,

I choose this painting because it not only shows Troilus’ emotions but it also portrayed Cressida as being sweet and innocent. Something we know is not the case.

In all four corners I talk about the very emotions that must have gone through the mind of Troilus:

Hate 

Troilus feels like he has been used and made a fool of. All he wants to do is kiss Diomed when the person he should really be mad at is Cressida. She is the one who flirted with Diomed and agreed to sleep with him.

Betrayal

Troilus would gladly have gone anywhere Cressida asked him to go so being betrayed like this spits at the love that he had for her. Her actions makes it look like she never really loved him at all.

Love

In spite of his hurt and betrayal he loved her, but as a woman her actions were unforgivable. It didn’t matter that she was traded for a Trojan prisoner. She showed no love for him in the end.

Dishonor

Cressida’s actions were not only a show of dishonor to Troilus, but also to her uncle and father. As Cressida arrives at the camp, the Greek leaders line up to greet her. And by “greet” we mean kiss her, paw at her, and flirt / talk dirty to her. Cressida flirts back and kisses each of them, except for Ulysses, who snidely refuses to lock lips with such a “sluttish” girl.

For Love or Just For Giggles

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The love that was shared by Troilus and Cressida was based on animalistic emotions. While Cressida does love Troilus she also feels torn by her loyalty to her father. Many consider her to be unfaithful because after being captured she kisses all these men and even allows Diomedes to sleep with her. She isn’t very faithful to Troilus even though she swore she wouldn’t cheat. This behaviour makes her appear to be not only promiscuous but also a commodity to be traded.

Check out what she says about leading Troilus on:

Yet hold I off. Women are angels, wooing:
Things won are done; joy’s soul lies in the doing.
That she beloved knows nought that knows not this:
Men prize the thing ungain’d more than it is:
(1.2.286-289)

In this play, women are treated like objects whose “worth” depends on whether or not men think they have any “value.” When Cressida’s dad arranges for her to be “exchanged” for a Trojan prisoner, it’s pretty obvious that Cressida is seen as an object that can simply be traded among men (3.3.19-28).

We hear you: but isn’t the prisoner being traded, too? Yeah. But he’s being traded because he’s a prisoner in the wrong camp. Even after the exchange is official, she’s treated like a piece of meat. As she arrives at the Greek camp, the leaders greet her by pawing at her, talking dirty, and taking turns kissing her (4.5.17-51). Pretty depressing, don’t you think?

What does Cressida do? She plays it off and flirts with each of the men. Ulysses sees this as evidence that Cressida is corrupt and calls her a “daughter of the game” (a.k.a. a prostitute): “Fie, fie upon her! / There’s language in her eye, her cheek, her lip”(4.5.54-55).

Movie Poster

I chose to do my poster this way because as someone who is Maori I noticed how you can take a story like Troilus and Cressida by Shakespeare and add cultural elements in order to make it relatable to others. What this does it makes the story easier to understand for those who are not familiar with the actual story.

There are many cultural similarities that were used in telling this story. Instead of the battle scene the actors performed a traditional war dance called the Haka and delivered their lines in the Maori language.

For those who don’t speak the language you can gain an understanding of what is being said through the emotions.

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Poor Cressida

Both Cressida, Cassandra and Helen are seen by men as simply objects to possess. At no point are their opinions even considered even though they know what is going on and what needs to be done. Yet they behave in a manner that make men think they are flighty in nature. They do nothing for women of their era, but rather their unwillingness to take a stand for themselves means that men will continue to mistreat them.