The allusion about Pyrrhus and Prim directly refers to Hamlet’s idea of avenging his father. He strives to murder his uncle, Claudius. The man poisoned King Hamlet and married the hero’s mother.
Shakespeare’s play contains classical allusions that refer to antic mythology. To lead to the events in Hamlet, the author uses the myth of the Trojan War about Pyrrhus and Priam. Such allusion brings attention to the storyline where King Hamlet is murdered. Thus, it raises the conversation about this topic.
One speech in it I
chiefly loved: ’twas Aeneas’ tale to Dido; and
thereabout of it especially, where he speaks of
(Act 2, scene 2)
Hamlet’s allusion to Pyrrhus in act 2 scene 2 falls on the theme of his father’s death. It begins when the player initiates the tale about Troy’s battle. He focuses, in particular, on the overthrowing of the king – Priam. The intentional allusion was borrowed from Virgil’s Aeneid, referring to “Priam slaughter” by Pyrrhus. The myth tells about Pyrrhus, Achilles’ son, who murders the king of Troy – Priam. He was directly responsible for igniting the war, killing Pyrrhus’s father. This became the reasoning behind such a cold-blooded murder.
Angered by his parent’s unjust death, the grieving son aims to take revenge. He wishes to take Priam’s life in front of his loving wife, Hecuba. The story corresponds to Hamlet’s storyline. The main hero openly shows his intentions of avenging his father’s death. He thinks of murdering the king – Claudius, in front of Queen Gertrude. Therefore, the myth directly intertwines with the plot of the play.
With blood of fathers, mothers, daughters, sons,
Baked and impasted with the parching streets,
That lend a tyrannous and damned light
To their lord’s murder: roasted in wrath and fire,
And thus o’er-sized with coagulate gore,
With eyes like carbuncles, the hellish Pyrrhus
Old grandsire Priam seeks.’
(Act 2, scene 2)
Hamlet’s classical allusions commonly foreshadow the story’s future events. They help the audience resemble the characters and their features more clearly. The players acting the tale of Pyrrhus and Priam predict the ending. We can see the outcome of Hamlet and Claudius’ uneasy relationship in act 2.