Answers 1Add Yours
In Scene 2, there is an allusion to a Moslem god (Termagant) and to Herod, the Biblical King that beheaded John the Baptist. Hamlet is talking to the troupe of players and advising them not to overdo their acting, not to be more like Herod than Herod.
I would have such a fellow whipped for o'erdoing
Termagant. It out-Herods Herod. Pray you avoid it.
He also alludes to the Roman god, Vulcan. He is referring to his agitated, fiery state of mind since Vulcan was the god of fire
And my imaginations are as foul
As Vulcan's stithy. Give him heedful note;
There are many allusions given by the players in the play within a play in this act. These allusions are all to mythology:
Full thirty times hath Phoebus'cart gone round Neptune's salt wash and Tellus' orbed ground,(145)
And thirty dozen moons with borrowed sheen
About the world have times twelve thirties been,
Since love our hearts, and Hymen did our hands,
And to the mythical witch, Hecate:
Thou mixture rank, of midnight weeds collected,
With Hecate's ban thrice blasted, thrice infected,
Hamlet refers to Nero, who killed his mother, right before he goes to visit Gertrude in her chamber. He is hoping that he will not be tempted to kill Gertrude.
O heart, lose not thy nature; let not ever
The soul of Nero enter this firm bosom.
If you skim through the rest of this Act and look for names, you will no doubt find they are allusions, and often to mythology, which was common in Elizabethan times. Mythological characters were well-known to the Elizabethan audience and the people would have understood the meaning of these allusions.