That the will is infinite and the execution confined: Troilus and Cressida and its sources
Master of Arts
Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida reflects his reading of Lydgate and Caxton's medieval Trojan epics, Chapman's Iliad, and Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde. Each of these primary sources for the play to some extent represents an idealistic world view. Lydgate and Cax ton root their translations of Troy material in medieval ideals of chivalry. Chapman intensifies the Iliad's heroic quality, raising up Homer's heroes as model sages, princes and warriors. Although he tells a story of ill-fated love, Chaucer strains toward more perfect love, first developing his idealistic lover Troilus, then finally leaving his readers with Mary and the Trinity. In the three plots of Troilus and Cressida, Shakespeare questions Lydgate Caxton's, and Chapman's various notions of heroism as well as Chaucer's idealistic Troilus and religious vision.