In William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, the protagonist’s quest for revenge mirrors the classical story of Priam and Pyrrhus. In the tale, Pyrrhus seeks to avenge his father’s death by killing Priam. This tragedy is echoed in Hamlet’s own struggle to take revenge on his uncle Claudius, who killed his father. In Act 2, Scene 2, Hamlet compares himself to Pyrrhus, noting that his own “black purpose” is similar to Pyrrhus’ “dread and black complexion.” He then asks the Player to recite a speech about the story of Priam and Pyrrhus, as he sees his own situation in the tale, with Priam representing Claudius, Hecuba representing Gertrude, and himself as Pyrrhus. Ultimately, Hamlet is only able to succeed in his vengeance at the end of the play, after narrowly escaping several dangerous situations.
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