Ransom

by

David Malouf

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Hecuba Character Analysis

Hecuba is the wife of Priam, and thus the Queen of Troy and the mother of Hector. Although her relationship with her children is in many ways more intimate and personal than her husband’s—she recalls, for instance, key milestones in one of her sons’ childhood—she strongly objects to Priam’s proposed plan to ransom Hector’s body. In addition to worrying for Priam’s safety, Hecuba believes that the assumptions underlying Priam’s plan could disrupt the entire social order by calling into question the inevitability of fate (i.e. the power of the gods) and the distinctions between different social classes. Nevertheless, she is a loving and devoted wife, and supports Priam when it becomes clear that his mind is made up.
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Hecuba Character Timeline in Ransom

The timeline below shows where the character Hecuba appears in Ransom. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 2
Identity, Humanity, and Mortality Theme Icon
Language, Storytelling, and Empathy Theme Icon
...for his son, but also for everyone whom Hector’s death has made vulnerable: Priam’s wife Hecuba, his surviving children, and his citizens. (full context)
Fate, Chance, and Change Theme Icon
The Epic and the Everyday Theme Icon
...recognizes as ransom for his son’s body. Now truly excited, Priam rushes off to find Hecuba. On the way, he ignores the servants he passes who try to help or serve... (full context)
Identity, Humanity, and Mortality Theme Icon
Language, Storytelling, and Empathy Theme Icon
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When Priam reaches Hecuba’s room, he realizes that she has been awake all night as well, crying. The two... (full context)
Identity, Humanity, and Mortality Theme Icon
The Epic and the Everyday Theme Icon
...himself as unchanging and eternal. Now, however, Priam says that he has changed, and that Hecuba herself must have noticed this. Priam then begins to describe his vision to Hecuba. She... (full context)
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Priam continues before Hecuba can interrupt, painting a picture of the cart first loaded with ransom—coins, plate, armor, etc.—and... (full context)
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Hecuba is disturbed and objects that Achilles will never agree to Priam’s terms, as he already... (full context)
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Language, Storytelling, and Empathy Theme Icon
Hecuba worries that Priam will not return, and that she will be left to cope with... (full context)
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Priam, undeterred, says there is more that Hecuba needs to understand: although she has heard the story of his childhood, she has not... (full context)
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The "ugliness" of Priam's story causes Hecuba visible discomfort: she dislikes thinking of her husband as simply another abandoned child in a... (full context)
Identity, Humanity, and Mortality Theme Icon
Language, Storytelling, and Empathy Theme Icon
The Epic and the Everyday Theme Icon
Priam explains his plan to his sons, who feel, like Hecuba, that it is beneath his dignity as a king. Eventually, a prince named Deiphobus speaks... (full context)
Fate, Chance, and Change Theme Icon
The Epic and the Everyday Theme Icon
...cart, those who are watching feel as if they are witnessing Hector’s body taking shape. Hecuba calls for water and wine, and Priam makes an offering to the gods. As he... (full context)