Concepts in Tragedy

A comparative analysis of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Oedipus the King by Sophocles.

This paper analyzes the plays, Hamlet by William Shakespeare and Oedipus the King by Sophocles. Specifically, it quotes passages that show the fatal mistakes of Hamlet and Oedipus and explains why you would have compassion or condemnation for it. It looks at how both plays illustrate tragic heroes at their best and how both plays illustrate how character flaws can lead to the downfall of everyday men who give in to their flaws rather than overcome them.
In Oedipus, the same rule of the tragic hero applies, it is one of the most enduring tragedies of all time, and many believe it is the model for all tragedies that came after it. Oedipus suffers from a tragic flaw that is his undoing, too. Oedipus is rash and impetuous, and he often acts before he thinks, and others see this too. The prophet says, That’s your truth? Hear mine: I say honor the curse your own mouth spoke. From today, don’t you speak to me, or to your people here. You are the plague. You ruin your own land (Sophocles, ). Oedipus’ tragic flaw is his rashness, such as when he kills his father on the road, but he is also immensely prideful, and this character flaw also adds to his downfall.

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