Oedipus Rex vs. Hamlet

Oedipus Rex vs. Hamlet

In the play Hamlet: Prince of Denmark, a young prince is in search of the truth behind his father’s murder. At first, Hamlet sees the ghost of his deceased father and it tells him he was murdered by the now current king, Hamlet’s Uncle Claudius. Hamlet has to think about how he will get revenge for his fathers death, but because his only knowledge came from a ghost that only Hamlet heard speak, he is hesitant to get his revenge quickly. Hamlet does everything he can to show others the truth he knows. It is important to Hamlet that he gets revenge but he also wants to torment the king and show everyone the truth.

Hamlet knows his anger toward his Uncle may cause confusion in his judgement of the truth so he is hesitant to kill him right away. Hamlet second-guesses himself throughout the play only to end up dying, but not before he kills Claudius. In Oedipus the king, a child is born to a royal couple, this king and queen want to know how their child will be in the future. So they ask an oracle to tell them the future and it tells them he will kill his father and marry his mother. They have the child taken away to be killed, so they save themselves, but instead the child ends up in a new castle and is raised by another couple as their own child.

They never tell Oedipus that he is not their own. When Oedipus hears he is to kill his father and marry his mother, he leaves his parents and searches for a new residence. Except he meets up with a man on the road and kills him. He then finds a castle that is being terrorized by a sphinx and answers the riddle it asks. He then marries the Queen and rules over the kingdom. In the end, the city is threatened by a plague that the oracle said will cease when the city gets rid of the one who murdered the king, Oedipus announces that the murderer will be punished.

However, while searching for the truth Oedipus discovers that he is the murderer and the son of his wife. In the end, Oedipus finds his wife/mother hanged herself, so in the midst of all this Oedipus gouges his eyes out and banished himself from the castle. In both these plays, truth played a major role in the outcome. Hamlet became so engrossed in the truth; he was too hesitant and continued to second-guess himself throughout the play. He may have become king but because truth was so important to him Hamlet ended up dying as well. As for Oedipus, knowing the truth may not be all it is cracked up to be.

Would Oedipus have really murdered his father and marry his mother if they had not asked the oracle about the future? These plays question the power of truth but is it better to know what is lurking behind every door, or is it better to be curious about it, but never actually seek it. Knowing the truth was very powerful in both these plays and it had a major effect on the outcomes of both stories. Maybe by knowing the future the truth is set. If the future remains unknown than so will truth. Truth was a deciding factor in both outcomes of the plays. If the truth were known earlier, it would have changed the entire aspect of each play.

Cite this page

Choose citation format:
Oedipus Rex vs. Hamlet. (2019, Apr 14). Retrieved February 27, 2020, from https://essaysonline.net/oedipus-rex-vs-hamlet/
Oedipus Rex vs Hamlet

Oedipus Rex vs Hamlet

Different men in different eras: los41183 said in 2000: “It is hard to compare two men with such obvious religious and moralistic differences. Oedipus grew up in the time of the Greek gods, gods who set their examples through destruction of the titans, incestuous marriages with siblings, and rash actions that changed the way their followers lived. Hamlet, on the other hand, grew up with strict Catholicism shaping his conscience. He followed that conscience to the letter, allowing for the lengthy period in between the revelation of the ghost to the actual bloodbath in the closing scenes.

This lapse is what sets the differences between Oedipus and Hamlet, for as soon as Oedipus had the truth fully revealed to him, he acted, rash as his actions may have been. By far, Oedipus is the more thorough of investigators, but this is due mainly to his hubris that will not allow otherwise. * Hamlet took his time to trap Claudius into admission of guilt, whereas all of Thebes knew that Oedipus was on the lookout for a murderer. The quiet, pensive nature of Hamlet versus the vainglorious outrage of Oedipus is the key to the debate over whether the actions both men take are selfish or selfless.

This is a debate that is not answered easily and fully deserves further thought. When discussing which of the murders was the worst, that of Claudius comes to mind first. After putting thought into the mass murder of Laius’ caravan, though, that thought is taken back. Which truly is worse, premeditated regicide or heat-of-the-moment “road rage” (the original road rage at that)? As a usurper of throne and wife, Claudius is the ultimate familiar turncoat, but as a guiltless killer of men who would not let him pass on a road, one must wonder if Oedipus has a conscience at all.

One can suppose that this, again, is the result of religious values and differences in the time period. “** * [Editor’s Note: Oedipus was also trying to find out his own identity and parentage at the same time, a complication Hamlet did not have to face. ] ** [Ed. : It’s true that when he tells his story about killing where 3 roads meet, Oedipus expresses no remorse over the slaughter; even one who kills in self-defense should feel a sense of loss and regret the taking of life. ] A list from 2000 (anonymous) Both protagonists were passionately determined to find the truth. Both were impulsive. Both had immense self-pride, but–

Ultimately, both were good natured. They seek revenge for their fathers (although this is ironic in Oedipus Rex) Although O’s arrogance may have led to his downfall, it is their impulsiveness that does in each man: O’s decree of exile parallels the gods’ requirements, but Hamlet’s stabbing of Ophelia’s father right after NOT stabbing Claudius means that, in the grand scheme of things, he will have to die rather than assume the throne. Both plays are tragedies that result from behind-the-scenes machinations–the gods plot against O’s family because of Laius, while King Hamlet’s brother plots against him.

Perhaps the vivid imagery of poison in Hamlet parallels the curse “in the family blood” in Greek tragedies in Oedipus Rex. Both plays are written in highly poetic language. Passionate Oedipus vs. Pensive Hamlet: Becky Dorsett (Northern Virginia CC, 1998) offers this list of contrasts between the two tragic protagonists: “In comparing and contrasting Oedipus and Hamlet, I see Oedipus as more of a man given to sudden, rash decisions and quick temper. Oedipus is definitely a man of action, where Hamlet stews over whether he should kill Claudius. Oedipus is a proud and selfless man, but is more concerned about his image than Hamlet.

Hamlet is a very sensitive, moody person, very much in awe of his deceased father, who obviously didn’t care about his image or he wouldn’t have feigned ‘madness’. Oedipus was a very passionate man, passionate about his position, his wife/mother, people of Thebes, and passionate about his concern for Polybus and Merope. Hamlet shows no genuine love for anyone except for his father and maybe his mother, but this is questionable because he would’ve killed his mother had the ghost instructed him to. Even when Hamlet declares his love for Ophelia, he later claims it’s not true. He is, however, passionate about killing Claudius.

Another contrast is that Hamlet is a thinker and a planner, where Oedipus is more emotional and wasn’t patient enough to fully investigate the murder of Laius. ” Blame Oedipus for killing but not incest, Hamlet for both: Fargo2 (1998) contributed this set of contrasts: “Hamlet is less a man of action than Oedipus. Oedipus s a man of quick action and hasty conclusions who doesn’t even attempt to foresee the consequences of his actions. As for which is the more selfless, I can’t see much but self interest in either of them. Hamlet is more of a scholar than Oedipus, he is also the wiser of the two, even at the height of madness.

In the matter of religion I believe Oedipus to be the more religious of the two, though that can be attributed to the nature of the Greek gods. It is easy to be religious when you may run into a god at any moment. Which of the two are the most incestuous? Hamlet, Oedipus’ incest is unknown to him. Oedipus is the better investigator, finding the killer quickly and easily. Oedipus had no real reason to kill King Laius, making him far more worthy of blame for the killing than Claudius. ” Ruler vs. Scholar: Laura Whitehead (1998) saw these contrasts–but holds Claudius the most worthy of blame: “Oedipus is much more decisive than Hamlet.

It takes the entire play before Hamlet makes up his mind, and then it is Claudius who brings about the finale, not Hamlet. Oedipus is quick to judge and make decisions before he really thinks about them. “I believe Hamlet to be the more selfless of the two. He was also selfish, though; he didn’t think how his actions would affect others, such as Ophelia. He realized this in the end, however, and his character grew because of it. “I think Hamlet was the more learned, but he was still very young. Oedipus, after ruling a kingdom for ten years, was the wiser man. Oedipus was the more religious man, also, a product of the Greek society.

Oedipus never really spoke of love, while Hamlet was a very passionate individual. Hamlet was definitely more incestuous; Oedipus was not aware that Jocasta was his mother. “I think Oedipus was the better investigator, but only because Hamlet didn’t really investigate. The ghost of his father told him what happened; Hamlet just had to prove it. Oedipus did not have any of Claudius’ motives; he did not conspire to commit murder; it was a chance encounter on a road where his anger got the best of him. Claudius is much more blameworthy for conspiring to kill his own brother, just to gain the throne. “


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *