This essay reconsiders John Dryden’s Troilus and Cressida, Or Truth Found Too Late as part of Dryden’s larger project of heroic plays, specifically as plays designed to instruct his “betters” at court on matters of ethics and public policy. Troilus rewrites Shakespeare’s play in order to instruct King Charles and his royal brother, the Duke of York, in the ethics of friendship. Following Aristotle’s account of friendship in his Nicomachean Ethics, Dryden depicts the Greek camp as riven with faction because their friendships are less than virtuous. He depicts the Trojans, especially the royal brothers Hector and Troilus, as devotees of virtuous friendship. Dryden expects the English court to see King Charles and his brother in Hector and Troilus, and to note how important such virtuous friendship can be in a crisis like that besetting England in 1679—the Exclusion Crisis.


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pp. 197-221
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