Troilus and Cressida 5.7

Menelaus, who hasn’t had much to do in this play apart from being insulted now enters fighting in the climax of the play
Who is he fighting? Why Paris of course

Thersites. The cuckold and the cuckold-maker are at it.

Troilus and Cressida 5.1

Act Five Scene One

Concentrating on Menelaus still. Thesites has a wonderful spiteful address to the audience about him

his brother, the bull,—the primitive statue,
and oblique memorial of cuckolds;

Thersites really doesn’t like anyone but he has it in for Menelaus. He now calls him the memorial of Cuckolds. If Cuckolds had a God then Menelaus would be it.
Thersites continues, if he could be anything else he would be the lowest thing on earth as long as he wasn’t Menelaus.

 

Troilus and Cressida 4.1

We hear more about the character of Menelaus, or at least how he is perceived.

When Paris asks Diomedes who derserves Helen more he answers “you both derserve her”

He merits well to have her, that doth seek her,
Not making any scruple of her soilure,

Menelaus deserves Helen because he would have her back even after she has been “soiled”

He, like a puling cuckold, would drink up
The lees and dregs of a flat tamed piece;

That word “cuckold” again

Menelaus is a Cuckold to Thersites and Diomedes at least!

Troilus and Cressida 3.3

Act three Scene three

As the lords “blank” Achilles to wind him up we see Menelaus. Now, remember that Menelaus was married to Helen who left him for Paris and is the cause of these wars.
Menelaus is almost a side character, not named, and has only one line which is blanking Achilles

Menelaus. How do you? how do you?  (exits)

Achilles then calls after him

Achilles. What, does the cuckold scorn me?

He calls him a “Cuckold”. Someone whose wife has had an affair (a paramour “MND”)

They are at war because of him and he is thought of as a “cuckold”? And Shakespeare almost dismisses him from the story altogether.

Troilus and Cressida 3.1

Act Three Scene One

Another “comic” servant

Then Pandarus meets Helen and Paris and sings them a song

It goes to show how neglected this play is that is no version of the song on youtube. Most shakespeare songs have been adapted in various genres but this one by Pandarus is absent from Youtube

 

Troilus and Cressida 2.3

Back in the Greek camp, Achilles, Thersites and Patroclus have a “comic” moment. The other Greek lords turn up and Achilles hides himself in the tent and refuses to see them

They will prepare for the battle without Achilles

so far, this play doesn’t fly off the page to me. i’ll search for a youtube video of a performance

 

Troilus and Cressida 2.2

Act Two, Scene Two

These Tojans don’t half like giving long speeches! Another long scene of them arguing about rescueing Helen or if it’s a waste of money and men. Briefly interrupted by the mad sister Cassandra.
Hector thinks thay should give up and retreat but the others think it’s matter of pride now and will keep fighting for her

 

Troilus & Cressida 2.1

Act Two Scene One

some good comedy and wonderful insults traded by Ajax and Thersites. This probably comes as a relief to an audience after the fairly dry opening scenes in Act one

“…beef-witted lord!”
“Cobloaf!”
“Thou stool for a witch!”
“Thou hast no more brain than I have in mine elbow”
“thou thing of no bowels!

Troilus and Cressida 1.3 (a scene a day)

Act one Scene Three

A very long scene in which we meet the Greeks and they give big speeches

I’ll concentrate on certain characters as I read the plays, starting with minor characters and work my way up.

Menelaus – The brother to Agamemnon and Husband of Helen, who is the cause of the Trojan war. Here he is given 2 words and if you didn’t know would think he was a servant.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menelaus