Troilus and Cressida

by: William Shakespeare

Act V, Scenes ii-x

Just before he is killed by Achilles, Hector fights a nameless Greek in armor. After he kills him, he remarks, "most putrefied core, so fair without, / thy goodly armor thus hath cost thy life." Since we are given no knowledge of the dead Greek's identity, it is an obscure passage, but the image of a beautiful veneer hiding corruption seems to speak for the entire play, in which noble warriors turn out to be brutes, and beautiful women are revealed as shallow and disloyal. It is, in the end, a profoundly pessimistic story—as Thersites says, "war and lechery confound all!" (II.iii.76-77).


More Help

From the SparkNotes Blog