There is a curious Roman/Danish connection in this play. First, Hamlet brings up Roscius – a Roman actor. Now Polonius is selling these players on their Roman playwritten repertoire. When Hamlet has the player do a speech later, it was about the fall of Troy – one that would seem to take the Roman view on that event (i.e. not the Grecian victor’s).
Polonius played Julius Caesar. It’s as if there is a direct link from Ancient Rome to Elsinore, perhaps only as it relates to theatre. I can’t, off-hand, think of any other Roman references. (Perhaps I’ll discover them on the rest of the journey. In which case, watch below. . . ) Later, the players perform a Spanish tragedy rather than Roman repertoire as all these Rome references might lead us to believe.
Other plays reference Roman gods left and right, as part of the everyday world. Rosalind swears by Jupiter. Hermia swears by Cupid’s bow.
The ancient world slides through the comedies like shining Mercury and takes center stage in some histories but here Rome connects to Theatre and is otherwise a world away.