*Troy. Ancient city in Asia Minor that is ruled by King Priam. Faced with an unrelenting siege by the more powerful Greeks, the Trojans debate the wisdom of continuing their resistance. Troilus, who loves the Greek woman Cressida, represents the Trojans, who idealize love as integral to chivalrous behavior. Hector, a reasonable man epitomizing Troy’s best values and strengths, urges his brothers to abandon the war as neither justified nor worth the cost.
Greek camp. Military encampment outside Troy, which the Greeks have been besieging for seven years. In contrast to the idealistic Trojans, the Greeks, who are soldiers, not courtiers, are pragmatic and ego-centered—differences reflected in the play’s two centers. Lack of progress in the siege has demoralized the Greek leaders, whom Agamemnon, the overall commander, tries to hearten by declaring that the long siege has been a test of Greek stamina. Ulysses argues that the problems of the Greeks lie in a lack of order and discipline, not in Trojan strength. Rather than debate their motive for war, the leaders urge their greatest hero, Achilles, to fight.
Battlefield. The two sides meet with the strength initially on the Trojan side. The Greek victory spells the end of Troy and its chivalric code as well.