The Dramatic Function of Syphilis in "Troilus and Cressida,</I> "Measure for Measure,</I> and "Timon of Athens</I>
Chapter II. "the poor agent despised": COMMERCIALISM AND SYPHILIS IN TROILUS AND CRESSIDA 41
Chapter II "The poor agent despised": Commercialism and Syphilis in Troilus and Cressida Troilus and Cressida seems to be disturbingly intractable and un- classifiable. Critics, like baffled physicians, have remained divided in their diagnoses, disagreeing mainly about the play's unity, its generic form, and its focus. For some critics, the play moves back and forth between two equal themes or concepts. Theodore Spencer, for in- stance, argues that the play has two themes-love and war1-and that it also embodies "the conflict between the two views of man which was implicit in Shakespeare's age ... " 2-man as he ought to be and man as he is. David Kaula, too, discovers a duality in Troilus and Cressida, claiming that the play, rather than dividing into rival views of man, focuses on the conflict between will and reason-two irrec- oncilable "modes of thought" 3-represented by Troilus and Ulysses respectively. Thus, Kaula concludes, Troilus and Cressida contains no harmonizing principle, "the ways of Troilus and Ulysses remain far apart, both equally ineffectua1."4 Although the dual themes and con- cepts that Spencer and Kaula point out are clearly present in the play, 41 these critics overlook or dismiss much that binds the work into an organic whole. In contrast to their point of view, a number of other critics argue that Troilus and Cressida is unified and coherent. Analyzing the theme of the disintegration of values in the play, they find unity in discord. Una Ellis- Fermor, perhaps the first critic to make this claim,...
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