How does Hamlet compare to Pyrrhus? In Act II, Scene II of Hamlet, an actor (the player) and Hamlet tell the story of Priam and Pyrrhus. What comparisons can be made between Hamlet and Priam?

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Pyrrhus is Achilles’ son—this isn’t from the Iliad, but the sort of “apocrypha” surrounding the Iliad, if you will. He avenges his father’s death in battle by killing Priam, King of Troy.

In this play, Hamlet’s father has died, and Hamlet wants to kill the man responsible. This is one connection between Hamlet and Pyrrhus.

Another might be that in the story of Pyrrhus, Pyrrhus is in the Trojan Horse, so he will get access to Priam and deal him “justice” by stealth. Hamlet pretends to be insane as a deliberate means of concealment, so that nobody will take him seriously and he can confirm that his uncle did, in fact, murder his father. After this, Hamlet plans to then murder his uncle in revenge.

There is another further connection: Pyrrhus is “remorseless” about killing Priam because it’s eye-for-an-eye justice, and Hamlet clearly feels that, if he can summon the courage to kill his uncle, it would be totally justified. The difference is that Hamlet wrestles with his...

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