Update 5: The Shakespearean Rabbit Hole

Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida is really a focal point of my project, so I was super excited to reach this point in my summer research reading list. I’ve read the play in its entirety before, so I initially planned only to review choice sections relevant to my work, but I ended up reading the whole thing again just because I really enjoy it!

Reading the text itself was one thing, but branching out into source work concerning Shakespeare is a whole other beast. Every article I read seems to cite five other articles that might be relevant and that I then add on to my reading list. So, the Shakespeare reading portion of my summer has sort of extended into infinity. It’s difficult because there’s so many articles and books out there about this play, but it’s hard to determine exactly how relevant they’ll be to my more specific topic within the play, so I’ve definitely read some articles that (albeit interesting) did not really pertain to my research after all. Alas.

At the same time, it’s also challenging because although Cressida is seen as a literary descendant of Helen and therefore I do want to spend some portion of my project talking about that connection and the portrayal of Cressida, I intend to mainly focus on actual Helen herself. Since she’s more of a side character in this play, it can be difficult to find sources that talk about her from angles aside from those comparing or contrasting her against Cressida. That said, I’ve been able to do a ton of reading that tangentially relates, and I think contextualizing the role of Helen with these other articles about Cressida and about the play will really help me understand Helen and her position of agency or lack thereof. Plus, it does make me encouraged that my position might be a more unique one that hasn’t been totally hashed out by other scholars already, which excites me.


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