Comparing Hamlet And Oedipus The King

1263 Words Dec 10th, 2015 6 Pages
In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and Sophocles, Oedipus the King, both of the main characters conform to the same classic tragic hero formula. Oedipus suffers a life based on a pre‐birth prophecy, whereas Hamlet finds himself burdened with the task of avenging his father’s death. In both situations, two kings must leave their innocence behind as the truth leads them first, to enlightenment and then to their downfall. They battle between the light, the truth and the darkness, the lie. Both Hamlet and Oedipus are similar in that they both showcase their mental state and stability, they are able to make swift decisions, and they both deal with relationships with women. Despite similarities between Hamlet and Oedipus, it is Oedipus’ consideration to do what is best for his people and city that makes him the more honourable man. In both plays, Hamlet and Oedipus’ mental state plays a big part in their roles as leaders. Both of these characters face a struggle beyond their control, but deal with it differently. Firstly, when Oedipus is faced with a problem, his mental state remains very stable and confident. His pristine leadership is shown when he states, “You may count on me; I am ready to do anything to help. I would be insensitive to pain, if I felt no pity for my people seated here” (Sophocles 2). Oedipus’ ability to remain calm in a tense situation makes him the ideal leader of Thebes. When his city is faced with a plague, he is a step ahead of…
Open Document