Alexander (Troilus and Cressida)

Cressida's progress through the play is marked by her association with three bad boyfriends. Alexander is the first, Troilus the second, Diomedes the third. We know that Alexander is not a servant, because Pandarus greets him politely.

Why Cressida is interested in Alexander I do not know. It may be simply that he's very hot, and Cressida likes guys. When we meet them, they're together, waiting to see the Trojan troops returning from the field. Cressida is trying desperately to get Alexander's attention. Alexander is only interested in sports and the players, like an NFL addict, and pays no attention to the beautiful Cressida, just as the television cameras ignore the beautiful cheerleaders and concentrate on the brutality. Cressid tries desperately to engage Alexander in conversation:
Who were those went by? (three feet)

Queen Hecuba and Helen. (three feet)

And whither go they?

Up to the eastern tower,
Whose height commands as subject all the vale,
To see the battle. Hector, whose patience
Is as a virtue fixed, to-day was moved.
He chid Andromache, and struck his armorer;
And, like as there were husbandry in war,
Before the sun rose he was harnessed light,
And to the field goes he; where every flower
Did as a prophet weep what it foresaw
In Hector's wrath.

What was his cause of anger?

The noise goes, this: there is among the Greeks
A lord of Troyan blood, nephew to Hector;
They call him Ajax.


But how should this man, that makes me smile, make Hector angry?

They say he yesterday coped Hector in the battle and struck him down, the disdain and shame whereof hath ever since kept Hector fasting and waking. (I.2.1-35 WITH A CUT)
It is absolutely impossible that Cressida would not recognize Queen Hecuba and Helen. Though Arden and others put the first two lines together to make one line of iambic pentameter, they are each three feet. The implied pauses are for Alexander to deign to notice Cressida's question, and for Cressida to wrack her brain to try to think of some way to keep the conversation going. This scene is the prototype of a very bad second date.

Note that we learn that Hector is not the perfect flower of chivalry everyone takes him for. According to Alexander, who asssiduously reads the sports pages, Hector struck his defenseless armorer. And there is a hint that he was abusive to his wife, Andromache. We see him being bossy and dismissive to her in V.3.

Shakespeare didn't mark Alexander's exit. He should stay onstage with Cressida and Pandarus until all the renowned fighters have gone by and the train of common soldiers enters, then he exits to try, I assume, to get into the locker room and get autographs.

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