Hamlet Quotes of Hercules MythologyEdit

"My father's brother- but no more like my father/ Than I to Hercules." (I, ii, 152-153)

This mythological allusion from William Shakespeare's Hamlet is significant because Hamlet is comparing his uncle to his father, and himself to Hercules. Hercules is known as a great, strong warrior who was


demi-god and earned a place on Mount Olympus with the gods. Hamlet is saying that his uncle is very much different than his father, like Hamlet is very much different than Hercules. Hercules is seen as a "superhero" of Greek mythology which is a great difference of Hamlet because Hamlet is in no way seen as a "superhero" or someone to look up to. In this context, Hamlet feels inadequate. Hercules is able to accomplish many great tasks and instead of looking for revenge against Hera for driving him to kill his family, Hercules asks to purify his soul, whereas Hamlet seeks revenge on his uncle for the murder of his father and cannot move past the disgust he feels. Thus he feels he is very different from Hercules because of Hercules' strength and courage.

"My fate cries out/ And makes each petty atire in this body/ As hardy as the Nemean lion's nerve." (I, iv, 83-85)

This mythological allusion in Hamlet is significant because it tells of Hercules' first task for King Eurystheus, which was to slay the Nemean Lion. Hamlet sees his father's ghost who beckons Hamlet to follow him. Hamlet wishes for his 'atire' and his body to be 'as hardy' as the Nemean Lion's nerve because the belief of Hamlet's culture was that the arteries conducted vital spirits to the brain. Hamlet needed the strength of the Nemean Lion in his body as he faced his father's ghost.

"Ay, that they do, my lord, Hercules and his load too." (II, ii, 384)

This mythological allusion in Hamlet is significant because it is referring to the eleventh of Hercules' tasks, when he had to retrieve the apples of Hesperides. However, Hercules could not retrieve the apples himself, but A


tlas, who had the burden of holding the globe on his shoulders, was the one who had to acquire the apples. Hercules took the 'load' of the globe on his shoulders from Atlas while Atlas retrieved the apples. Rosencrantz uses this allusion in the context of carrying a victory, like Hercules carried the globe.

"Let Hercules Himslef do what he may,/ The cat will mew, and dog will have his day." (V, i, 277-278)

This mythological allusion in Hamlet is significant because it is referring to Hercules' strength, independence and 'roaring speeches'. Hamlet is saying Hercules will do what he may. He will not be silenced forever and will not always be kept down. Hamlet will eventually get his revenge and the truth will be out.