‘The rugged Pyrrhus, he whose sable arms, Black as his purpose, did the night resemble When he lay couchéd in th’ominous horse, Hath now this dread and black complexion smeared With heraldy more dismal.”

This probably isn’t the moment to mention this but why is the Trojan Horse called the TROJAN horse? It’s more like the GREEK horse when you think about it. The Greeks made it, conceived it, hid inside it and emerged from it. The only thing Trojan about it is that it ended up in (and ended) Troy. Seems a little backward.

But of course, history is told by the victors. That we call th’ominous horse a Trojan one forever associating Troy with trickery and destruction speaks to the Greek columns that hold up our culture.

It is an ominous horse, one that holds warriors and death in its womb. Pyrrhus is not the only warrior with a black purpose. They must lay couchéd in there, feeding their fury, laying fuel on the fire of bitterness and dispassion, preparing themselves to lay waste to a city – preparing for murder, yes, but also rape and sacrifice and the utter destruction of a culture.

As much as I’ve always loved this speech, I never fully understood what it was doing in this play but now, I suddenly see the parallels. Troy falls when Priam falls. And Elsinore too falls not long after its reverend King Hamlet with it. The intertwinement of King and Kingdom, the tower of Ilium falling foreshadowing the fall of the House of Hamlet.

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