"Queen of Troy who watched as her city fell in battle. Her hapless wretched soul lies in the darkness of hell, besieged by the condemned who flog her at every turn."
Hecuba was the wife of King Priam of Troy and the mother of many children, including Hector, Cassandra, Deiphobus, Polyxena, Polites, Helenus, Polydorus and most notably Paris of Troy. By Apollo she was also the mother of Troilus, whose destiny was tied to the fate of Troy.
When Paris was born, Hecuba dreamed about a fiery torch burning Troy to the ground. The dream was interpreted to mean that Paris would bring about Troy's destruction. As such Priam had the baby abandoned in the countryside, where he was raised by shepherds. Unfortunately, due to judging Aphrodite to be the most beautiful goddess of Olympus, Paris earned the undying hatred of Hera and Athena; their vengeful wrath would follow the prince and his reward from Aphrodite -- Paris's new bride, Helen -- back to Troy. When the couple arrived in his city, Priam gave Helen and Paris asylum. However, as Helen was the wife of the Spartan king Menelaus, he and his brother Agamemnon sailed from Greece with an army to bring her back by force if necessary. Despite repeatedly trying to find peaceful solutions to the conflict, Troy and the Greeks went to war for 10 years.
As the conflict dragged on Hecuba would see the death of her eldest, most noble son, Hector, who was brutally murdered by the Greek hero Achilles as the horrified king and queen were forced to watch from the city walls. Achilles also took her son Troilus from her, which was a harsher blow as it was prophesied that if Troilus died, the city would die with him. Paris himself was mortally wounded by one of the Greeks and died from his wounds before help arrived. Another son, Helenus, fled the city and betrayed Troy to the Greek army.
During the horrific night when Troy was finally sacked by the Greeks, Priam was slaughtered at his own altar, along with their son Polites. Hecuba's infant grandson Astyanax was flung off the city walls to his death. Her son Deiphobus was killed at the instigation of Helen, and Hecuba's daughter Cassandra was dragged from Athena's temple and raped (Cassandra would later be enslaved and murdered in Greece). Another daughter, Creusa, while escaping the city with her family was killed when a burning building collapsed on her. Another of Hecuba's children was swallowed by the earth in response to her prayers for rescue.
By the next morning, after the war, Hecuba's youngest son, Polydorus, was treacherously killed by Polymestor after he was entrusted to Polymestor's care. The Trojan queen and any remaining women are captured and taken as slaves. Hecuba was then forced to witness her youngest daughter, Polyxena, being sacrificed by the Greeks in order to change the winds and sail home. After being told of the murder by the ghost of Polydorus in her dream, she gathered the Trojan women and attacked Polymestor and his sons. Hecuba blinded him by having his eyes plucked out, while his sons were killed. Before dying, Polymestor prophesizes the imminent deaths of Hecuba and Agamemnon.
"My children are avenged. Have I not cause for joy?"
"Oh, dreadful crime! Not one child left..."
"How did they die? Was any mercy shown to them?"
"Accursed monster! You hacked my childrens' limbs with your ruthless sword!"
"I was driven mad with sorrow. They say I barked like a dog. Ha! Ha! Ha!"
"Agamemnon, help me to punish this godless host!"
"In this tent are a host of Trojan women. They have promised me their aid!"
"I was once Queen, and now... I am a childless slave!"
"Polymestor, you'll never see the light of your children's faces again."
"I have been robbed of my children, my husband, my city..."
"It's safe to enter the tent, Polymestor. There are no men about."
"Strike, Trojan women! Pluck out his eyes!"
*Grabbed by Dante* "Have you come to fetch me to my doom?" (Variation 1)
*Grabbed by Dante* "Have you lost all sense of pity?" (Variation 1)
*Grabbed by Dante* "Would you not do the same for your family?" (Variation 2)
*Grabbed by Dante* "Let me rest with my children..." (Variation 2)
*Absolved by Dante* "The temple of Heaven. Glorious..."
"No, please! I lost my chil-" *Slain by Dante*
- In Greek mythology, when Troy is finally captured, Hecuba is taken as a slave along with several other Trojan women (including her daughter Cassandra and her daughter-in-law Andromache). However, Hecuba frees herself and cursed the Greeks before throwing herself off a cliff. In other versions of the story, she goes insane with grief and begins acting like a ravenous, angry dog. This could explain her connection to the Circle of Anger.