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Hamlet and Oedipus

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    Though there are tons of characters that are able to be compared to hamlet there is one that stands out and shines brighter than the others. Oedipus the king is a story about a man whop steps out of the palace of Thebes and is greeted by a procession of priests and the sorrowful citizens of Thebes who have been faced with a terrible plague. Long story short Oedipus had to go through great strives to solve the murder of the former ruler Lais in order to drive out the murderer and end the plague that has befallen his people.

    While at the same time Prince Hamlet has just been struck with the horrific news of his fathers passing. Which was at first thought to have by natural causes, but after close stipulation and a visit from his recently departed father Hamlet moves through heaven and hell in order to kill his uncle Claudius who has assumed his fathers throne and wife. In one fatal swoop the entire royal family along with Polonius, Ophelia and laerties die just in time for the kingdom to be taken over by young Fortinbras and his army.

    Hamlet is one of the most complex and unpredictable characters in modern literature there is always more to him than the other characters in the play can figure out; even the most careful and clever readers come away with the sense that they don’t know everything there is to know about him. Hamlet actually tells other characters that there is more to him than meets the eye, but his fascination involves much more than this. When he speaks, he sounds as if there’s something important he’s not saying, maybe something even he is not aware of.

    Hamlet is extremely philosophical and is particularly drawn to difficult questions or questions that cannot be answered with certainty. Faced with evidence that his uncle murdered his father, Hamlet becomes obsessed with proving his uncle’s guilt the standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt” is simply unacceptable to him. He is equally troubled with questions about the afterlife, about the wisdom of suicide, about what happens to bodies after they die. But even though he is thoughtful to the point of obsession, Hamlet also behaves off of impulse.

    Which he demonstrates when he stabs Polonius through a curtain without even checking to see who’s behind it. Hamlet is extremely melancholy and discontented with what is happening in Denmark and in his own family, in the world at large. He is extremely disappointed with his mother for marrying his uncle so quickly, and he repudiates Ophelia, a woman he once claimed to love, in the harshest terms. His words often indicate his disgust with and distrust of women in general. At a number of points in the play, he contemplates his own death and even the option of suicide.

    But, despite all of the things with which Hamlet, it is remarkable that the prince and heir apparent of Denmark should think about these problems only in personal and philosophical terms. He spends relatively little time thinking about the threats to Denmark’s national security from without or the threats to its stability from within. Oedipus is a man of swift action and great insight. At the begining of the story we see that these qualities make him an excellent ruler who anticipates his subjects’ needs.

    When the citizens of Thebes beg him to do something about the plague Oedipus is already one step ahead of them—he has already sent Creon to the oracle at Delphi for advice. But later, we see that Oedipus’s habit of acting swiftly has a dangerous side. When he tells the story of killing the band of travelers who attempted to shove him off the three-way crossroads, Oedipus shows that he has the capacity to act without thinking. The beginning of Oedipus the King, Oedipus is hugely confident. Because he has saved Thebes from the curse of the Sphinx and become king virtually overnight.

    He shouts his name proudly “Here I am myself you all know me, the world knows my fame I am Oedipus” (7–9). By the end of this tragedy, however, Oedipus’s name will have become a curse, so much so that, in Oedipus at Colonus, the Leader of the Chorus is terrified even to hear it and cries: “You, you’re that man? ” (238). Oedipus’s swiftness and confidence continue to the very end of the story.

    We see him interrogate Creon, call for Tiresias, threaten to banish Tiresias and Creon, call for the servant who escaped the attack on Laius, call for the shepherd who brought him to Corinth, rush into the palace to stab out his own eyes, nd then demand to be exiled. He is constantly doing something, to the point to where it seems as though he is trying to catch up with his own destiney, even as it goes well beyond his reach.

    In Oedipus at Colonus, however, Oedipus seems to begin to accept that much of his life is out of his control. He spends most of his time sitting rather than acting. Once he has given his trust to Theseus, Oedipus seems ready to find peace. At Colonus, he had finally formed a bond with someone, found a kind of home after many years of exile.

    After reading both plays , it is quiet clear that Oedipus is by far the more admirable character of the two. Aside from Oedipus’ history and life experience, his superior character traits are also displayed in the way he handles several incidents throughout the play. One of the primary reasons Oedipus’ is more admirable than Hamlet is just their history. Oedipus is a king. He got there by saving the city of Thebes from a horrible Sphinx. In this way, Oedipus earned the trust of his people and earned the position of king.

    On the other hand, you have Hamlet who is the prince of Denmark. He didn’t earn the position as Oedipus did. He was simply born into it. Also, he doesn’t appear to have as much life experiences. Oedipus also possesses several admirable character traits in which Hamlet lacks. For example, Oedipus is a go getter. He doesn’t stand by and receive information and wait to act upon it as Hamlet does. In several incidents throughout the play he reacts quickly on information he has received. When Tiresias informs him that he is the curse of the land, Oedipus reacts quickly and strongly.

    He immediately questions Tiresias’ motives and has him removed from his presences. Plus , he immediately confronts Creon with his suspicions. “You- here? You have the gall to show your face before the palace gates? You, plotting to kill me, kill the king I see it all, the marauding thief himself scheming to steal my crown and power! Tell me, in god’s name, what did you take me for, coward or fool, when you spun out your plot? ” (594-601). , Oedipus suspects that Creon is trying to kill him, and he immediately confronts him and challenges him.

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