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How does the experience of war affect personal relationships in Troilus and Cressida and any TWO poems from the 'Selection of Poems' in the Supplementary Texts?

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2. How does the experience of war affect personal relationships in Troilus and Cressida and any TWO poems from the 'Selection of Poems' in the Supplementary Texts? War attacks personal relationships regardless of where or when it is being waged. The brutal atmosphere of hate in battle, the surreptitious manipulation of those in charge, and the loss of so many lives make it impossible for love to reside. Under the guise of chivalry war beckons men to serve a just cause and with each generation of victims we see history repeat itself. In his poem To Lucasta, On Going to the Wars Richard Lovelace tells his lady not to mourn his departure 'To war and arms' because he must put honour before their relationship. Troilus and Cressida then portrays the desire for two women at the center of a war. Shakespeare toys with the idea of honour and exposes it as false with Cressida's betrayal of Troilus and the murder of Hector. This theme is then continued in Wilfred Owen's poem Anthem for Doomed Youth that concerns itself primarily with the actual horror of war, the disillusionment of those who survive, and the way in which it changes people, relationships, families and lives forever. The theme of love intermingled with that of war is a universal one as shown by the conflict between personal interest and the interests of state. ...read more.


"...Women are angels, wooing; Things won are done - joy's soul lies in the doing. That she beloved knows naught that knows not this: Men prize the thing ungained more than it is." (Act1Sc2: 272-75) In this time of war and politics Cressida is hardly the na�ve waif women are thought to be. Despite her regard she deploys strategic planning to her relationship with Troilus, believing that succumbing to her feelings and to his would demolish the power she has while his desire is not yet satisfied. Traditional roles are reversed in the play, and while Troilus is utterly infatuated, Cressida is far more tactical and manipulative in her dispersion of love. As a far-sighted woman she therefore chooses to prolong the 'chase' of courtship, by retreating and feigning indifference because she knows that "things won are done". The connection between love and war here is a direct one. Courtship is the battle, her heart is the prize and through all this planning Cressida's obvious intention is to win. Helen, who Paris has stolen from King Menelaus, is the other dominant female character in the play. Here it is not war that has affected relationships but rather one mans desire for another man's woman that begins the war. Reminiscent of merchant discourse of the period, the worth of this action and the subsequent worth of Helen are continually questioned throughout the play. ...read more.


alludes to the sound of screaming and 'wailing shells', both images of immense grief. The affect of the war on personal relationships is then shown in the second stanza when we are told that although there is no funeral where candles can be held the 'glimmer of goodbyes' shines in the eyes of those that die, the eyes of those who wait for them at home and in the eyes of those who fight to avenge them. Heartache causes the girls who wait for the men to turn pale and this turn of countenance 'shall be their pall'. The poem ends with the domestic image of the 'drawing down of blinds' at the end of the day. The word 'blinds' is linked to the word 'minds' on the previous line creating a metaphor of the mind being killed off with movement of the blind. War is seen as dooming youth. It robs the men who fight of their lives, the women who wait of their loves and shatters the innocence that allows youthful love and personal relationships to blossom, therefore dooming youth. In all three sources we see that in war there are no real heroes and no real victories. The futility of war is perceived through the trail of broken relationships left behind after the battles are fought. Hence the affect of war on personal relationships is to maim if not destroy them. 1 ...read more.

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