The theme of tragedy has been a favorite with all playwrights through the ages and nothing asserts this more than the works of Shakespeare and Sophocles. In the plays of Hamlet, Macbeth and Oedipus Rex, the pathos is overwhelming. The sense of fate and the protagonists leading…
This paper examines all the similarities between these three works and establishes the commonality between the characters and their presentations.
Tragedy has been a theme for playwrights since the beginning of literature, well explored by Greek poets like Sophocles, medieval English writers, and Elizabethan playwrights, of which Shakespeare is prominent. The most prominent cause of the tragedy in these plays would be the tragic hero fighting against his/her impending doom. ‘The tragic hero is divided "between imperative and impulse, between moral ordinance and unruly passion . . . between law and lust" (Heilman 207).’ (Brown, 2009). If we explore the similarities between the two Elizabethan dramas, Macbeth, Hamlet and the ancient Greek tragedy, Oedipus, we find that the protagonists have that fatal flaw which draws them to their downfall and all other elements that make a tragedy. When these protagonists live, they teach us many lessons with the mistakes that they commit in their life. They seem to exist to attain the ultimate goal of death.” We admire the daring, uncompromising spirit of the tragic hero while recognizing that what he gains in intensity of life, he often pays for with its brevity.” (Brown, 2009). Shakespeare’s tragedies “follow a basic pattern of complication, crisis, and conclusion but with multiple variations.” (Brown, 2009).
If we compare and seek similarities between the characters of the three works, we find that as mentioned above, all protagonists unconsciously seek their own fall. Hamlet muses far too much over his father’s death and even when his father has shown him the path of revenge, he fails to kill Claudius when he has the chance. Macbeth on the other hand, blinded easily by ambition and avarice, kills Duncan in haste without pondering over the consequences. Oedipus’s flaw is his colossal ego or Hubris. It does not bring about his misery directly but does lead to ...
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