In act 2, scene 2, of Shakespeare's Hamlet, when Hamlet asks the player to recite a speech about Priam's death from a play about Dido and Aeneas (2.2.440–443), it's clear that Hamlet has been thinking about how the story of Priam and Pyrrhus relates to his own situation.
In the ancient myth, Pyrrhus avenges the death of his father, Achilles, by killing Priam, the king of Troy, during the sack of Troy, while Priam's wife, Hecuba, is forced to watch her husband's death.
In Hamlet's mind, he visualizes himself taking the role of Pyrrhus, avenging his own father's death by killing Claudius, while his mother, Gertrude, stands helplessly by.
What's remarkable about Hamlet's request is that Hamlet remembers the speech well enough to recite part of it nearly word-for-word (2.2.445–460) and to cue the player at the part in the speech that relates to Hecuba, whose name isn't spoken in the speech (2.2.494–496).
How does Hamlet remember that speech so well, particularly since it's likely been several...
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