Tag Archives: Pandarus

Let’s talk about venereal disease

Troilus and Cressida has been read as a tragedy, a history, and a black comedy.  It has a dual plot line featuring a tragic love story and a political war drama.  But what you won’t find in the Sparknotes summary of Troilus and Cressida is that it’s really a story that’s part mystery, part cautionary tale about Pandarus’s syphilis.
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“Live aye with thy name!” Thoughts on Pimps and Posterity

Sex! Sex sells: we hear this all the time. Sex is sold, we hear this all the time whether it is in conversations about advertising or prostitution; Cressida in Troilus and Cressida; or the relative value of women and men at Dartmouth as they progress through their time here on the “Dartmouth X”: in all of these instances sex is a commodity to be purchased by the highest bidder.

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A Poor What Now?


In a play about a war between Trojans and Greeks, a word in Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida seems a bit out of place: the Italian word capocchia. The notes in the text of The Complete Pelican Shakespeare edition of the play merely translate it to mean “simpleton” (508). However, Gretchen Minton and Paul B. Harvey Jr. suggest that it may have a more raunchy meaning that better fits with the character of Pandarus (who utters the word) and the word play so beloved by Shakespeare. Continue reading