Both main characters in William Shakespeare’s play, “Hamlet, Prince of Denmark,” and Sophocles’ play, “Oedipus the King,” share the same title of being a tragic hero. Shakespeare’s main character, Hamlet, and Sophocles main character, Oedipus, distribute many of the same characteristics of a tragic hero yet both still having their differences. Although, Hamlet and Oedipus are successful with their mission, Hamlet is more successful than Oedipus because he has the knowledge of greater truth and patience.
Hamlet’s knowledge of greater truth gives him the advantage of being more successful than Oedipus. For example, his knowledge for greater truth is shown through his capability to find the letter that emphasizes his death and the ways he discovers suspicion and tension in his uncle Claudius. Hamlet says certain things about the late King Hamlet’s death when he acts as if he is mad. His act of madness shows his extremely high knowledge of the truth.
Oedipus struggles seeking the truth. He proceeds to live in denial. Even though Oedipus tells Teiresias, as blind as he is, he cannot assume things that will harm him; he assumes that Teiresias tells him he is the murderer because he wants take him from his seat as the King of Thebes. Oedpisus’s denial of the truth is what causes his blindness when he neglects the truth about the murderer of King Laius and accuses Creon as the plotter of his downfall. As Hamlet accepts the help from the ghost, Oedipus refuses help from Creon. Hamlet is more successful than Oedipus because Hamlet accepts the truth by following the ghost to find truth rather than ignore it while Oedipus refuses help and neglects the truth.
Because Hamlet is more patient than Oedipus, it makes Hamlet more successful. Oedipus kills Laius at the crossroads because Laius is rude to him. Oedipus’s flaws urge him to make awful decisions. He lies to Jocasta that, “It was the driver that thrust me aside, and him I struck, for I was angry. The old man saw it, leaning from his carriage, waited until I passed, then, seizing for weapon the driver’s two pronged goad, struck me on the head. He paid with interest for his temerity; quick as lightning, the staff in his right hand did its work; he tumbled headlong out of the carriage, and every man of them there I killed.” (Sophocles). This shows that Oedipus’s emotions lead him to make the wrong decisions. Oedipus is close to finding the murderer which he believes it could be him. He realizes that he could be the one facing the punishment, so he confesses up to Jocasta about the killing. He did not hesitate to tell. Oedipus’s decisions make Hamlet more patient than he is.
In conclusion, both Hamlet and Oedipus are on a mission to finding the truth. They are looking for the murderers of their fathers. However, Hamlet is more successful than Oedipus in the mission because of his greater knowledge of truth and patience. Due Oedipus’s lack of greater knowledge of truth and patience, he was not quite as successful as Hamlet. Hamlet was able seek the truth and accept it rather than ignore it while Oedipus refuses to accept the truth.
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