Macbeth and Oedipus Rex Comparison Essay

2262 Words Jun 11th, 2013 10 Pages
A Tragic Hero, as defined by Aristotle, is a man of noble reputation who is admired by society but has a tragic flaw, which leads to his downfall. Shakespeare and Sophocles were both inspired by the theme of Tragic Heroes and have used this theme in their plays Macbeth and Oedipus Rex, respectively. These plays teach us moral lessons and it is imperative to decide which character best fits the title of a Tragic Hero. Undoubtedly, Macbeth and Oedipus are both Tragic Heroes but in different ways. Hamartia is a tragic flaw, which leads to a reversal of good fortune. An analysis of the two characters’ hamartia, the sympathy they gain from the audience, the characters’ roles in their inevitable downfall, and the role of the supernatural will …show more content…
He also punishes himself for his crimes by putting his eyes out and insisting that he deserves to go to exile. The audience sympathizes with Oedipus despite his wrongdoings. Similarly, Macbeth also has sympathy from the audience, but in a different manner. Macbeth initially had everything that a man could wish for: high status, popularity, and a loving wife. He was brainwashed by Lady Macbeth into killing King Duncan to attain the throne. Macbeth was hesitant at first, but once he killed Duncan, he was full of guilt. He had hallucinations and was constantly paranoid about anyone who may be a potential threat to his place on the throne. When Lady Macbeth died, he was briefly saddened by her death and realised that she should have lived longer, but he accepted the fate. Macbeth says,
“She should have died hereafter./ There would have been a time for such a word./ Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,/ Creeps in this petty pace from day to day/ To the last syllable of recorded time,/ And all our yesterdays have lighted fools/ The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!/ Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player/ That struts and frets his hour upon the stage/ And then is heard no more. It is a tale/ Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,/ Signifying nothing./” (Macbeth, Act V, Scene 5, Lines 19-28)
Macbeth felt unable to grieve his wife’s death since he himself was dead