Read our selection of the very best quotes from Troilus and Cressida, along with speaker, act and scene. The play is set in Troy, modern-day Turkey, 5,000 BC, with the theme of appearance and reality manifested in the beauty and seemingly charming personalities of the women and the handsome and seemingly mighty warriors being inwardly ugly, shallow, weak, and in some cases, mad. As with all his plays, Shakespeare brings the characters to life with zingy dialogue and some memorable quotes. Read on below for the most well known and significant Troilus and Cressida quotes:

Her bed is India: there she lies, a pearl.

Troilus (Act 1, Scene 1)

Alexander: They say he is a very man per se, and stands alone.
Cressida: So do all men, unless they are drunk, sick, or have no legs.

(Act 1, Scene 2)

Things won are done, joy’s soul lies in the doing.
That she beloved knows nought that knows nought this:
Men prize the thing ungained more than it is.

Cressida (Act 1, Scene 2)

Men prize the thing ungained more than it is.

Cressida (Act 1, Scene 2)

The heavens themselves, the planets, and this center
Observe degree, priority, and place,
Insisture, course, proportion, season, form,
Office, and custom, in all line of order.

Ulysses (Act 1, Scene 3)

There is seen
The baby figure of the giant mass
Of things to come at large.

Nestor (Act 1, Scene 3)

We turn not back the silks upon the merchant
When we have spoiled them.

Troilus (Act 2, Scene 2)

Modest doubt is call’d the beacon of the wise.

Hector (Act 2, Scene 2)

The common curse of mankind, folly and ignorance, be thine in great revenue!

Thersites (Act 2, Scene 3)

He eats nothing but doves, love, and that breeds hot blood, and hot blood beget hot thoughts, and hot thoughts beget hot deeds, and hot deeds is love.

Paris (Act 3, Scene 1)

But you are wise,
Or else you love not; for to be wise and love
Exceeds man’s might.

Cressida (Act 3, Scene 2)

They say all lovers swear more performance than they are able.

Cressida (Act 3, Scene 2)

Time hath, my lord, a wallet at his back,
Wherein he puts alms for oblivion,
A great-sized monster of ingratitudes:
Those scraps are good deeds past; which are devoured
As fast as they are made, forgot as soon
As done.

Ulysses (Act 3, Scene 3)

One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.

Ulysses (Act 3, Scene 3)

A plague of opinion! A man may wear it on both sides, like a leather jerkin.

Thersites (Act 3, Scene 3)

Those scraps are good deeds past, which are devoured
As fast as they are made, forgot as soon
As done.

Ulysses (Act 3, Scene 3)

Both merits poised, each weighs nor less nor more;
But he as he, the heavier for a whore.

Diomedes (Act 4, Scene 1)

Time, force and death,
Do to this body what extremity you can;
But the strong base and building of my love
Is as the very centre of the earth,
Drawing all things to it.

Cressida (Act 4, Scene 2)

I know what ’tis to love,
And would, as I shall pity, I could help.

Paris (Act 4, Scene 3)

There’s language in her eye, her cheek, her lip;
Nay, her foot speaks, her wanton spirits look out
At every joint and motive of her body.

Ulysses (Act 4, Scene 5)

The end crowns all,
And that old common arbitrator, Time,
Will one day end it.

Hector (Act 4, Scene 5)

The fractions of her faith, orts of her love,
The fragments, scraps, the bits and greasy relics
Of her o’er-eaten faith are given to Diomed.

Troilus (Act 5, Scene 2)

Lechery, lechery, still wars and lechery!
Nothing else holds fashion.

Thersites (Act 5, Scene 2)

Life every man holds dear, but the dear man
Holds honor far more precious-dear than life.

Hector (Act 5, Scene 3)

Words, words, mere words, no matter from the heart.

Troilus (Act 5, Scene 3)

Why, there they are, both bakèd in this pie,
Whereof their mother daintily hath fed,
Eating the flesh that she herself hath bred.

Titus Andronicus (Act 5, Scene 3)

May I govern so
To heal Rome’s harms and wipe away her woe!

Lucius (Act 5, Scene 3)

I am a bastard, too. I love bastards! I am bastard begot, bastard instructed, bastard in mind, bastard in valor, in everything illegitimate.

Thersites (Act 5, Scene 7)

I am unarmed. Forgo this vantage, Greek.

Hector (Act 5, Scene 9)

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Troilus and Cressida quote written on sunset background - "Lechery, lechery, still wars and lechery"

Read more about Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida play.