The tragedy is one of the earliest but still relevant trends in art, which is often touched upon in plays and acting. Its peculiarity is to demonstrate to a viewer the vital contradictions in the life of the heroes, smoothly leading to the destruction of their life and a grieving ending. Due to this form of narration, such memorable images of Oedipus the King and Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, appeared. In fact, they obey fate and, despite all attempts to challenge it, the end of their history is always known and turns in the wrong direction for them. Hamlet and Oedipus are two of the most important and significant figures in world literature, whose personalities and destinies both complement and contradict each other simultaneously.
Oedipus and Hamlet are the two iconic persons between whom there are parallels and differences to a certain extent. For instance, it must be admitted that both Hamlet and Oedipus suffer equally from the same fatal, unavoidable flaw. The problem of demise, death and the feeling of a foregone conclusion of everything runs like a red thread through the lives of the two men. The image of Aeschylus expresses the senselessness, silliness, and futility of the struggle with one’s destiny, signed by the gods. Hamlet is also at war with the fate that took his father. However, he also fights with himself and with his nature in an attempt to give answers to impossible questions.
Nonetheless, what Oedipus is grieving about and what Hamlet is reflecting on with an external superficial similarity turn out to be essentially incomparable phenomena. Oedipus, by all means, tries to avoid the fulfillment of the prediction. Nevertheless, Hamlet’s dilemma is deeper and morally more sophisticated since it is the sum of all his mental tosses. This hero strives to adapt to the imperfection of the world, which once seemed fundamental, as in the tragedy by Sophocles. However, Hamlet can sometimes be slow and indecisive in his actions and deeds (Abdul, 2020). In general, Shakespeare’s Hamlet, even acting as an avenger for his father, is singled out from ancestral ties as a self-determined personality. Oedipus, at least, has the opportunity at some point to learn about the true state of things, where his duty becomes clear to him. On the contrary, Hamlet begins and continues with ignorance, so that through premonitions, vague suspicions, and recognition. Hence, through verification and confirmation of the private truth about the crime committed, he can reach the comprehension of the world in which such a crime was possible, and thereby to a conflict with the environment, with court society.
The Reoccurring Themes
It should be emphasized that two completely different works, at first glance, have a fairly close and deep connection with each other in terms of recurring themes, conveyed messages, and essence. Primarily, the concepts of death, fatality, inevitability, and submission to fateful phenomena are the main resource of the designated tragic projects. Furthermore, Sophocles and Shakespeare touch upon aspects regarding personal responsibility, will, religion, morality, faith in man, and one’s strength. Depicting the greatness of people and the richness of their mental and moral powers, these poets, at the same time, draw the impotence and limitations of human capabilities.
Moreover, these tragedies, as a rule, have a straightforward dramatic composition. They usually begin with exposition scenes, in which the initial position is explained, and a certain plan of the behavior of the characters is developed. In the process of executing such a plan, which encounters various obstacles, the dramatic action increases, then slows down, until it reaches a tipping point. Therefore, after a slight “slowdown,” a catastrophe occurs, rapidly leading to the final denouement. In the natural course of events, strictly motivated and stemming from the character of the actors, Shakespeare and Sophocles see the hidden action of non-human forces, which to some extent can also direct and control the world.
Despite some differences in the setting, time, culture, traditions, and a number of other elements, Hamlet and Oedipus, for the most part, resemble each other. Thus, these characters are tragic heroes and the main protagonists. In addition, based on the classical formulation of the tragedy, they both have courageous qualities and noble origins, which lose their significance closer to the denouement of the plot. Secondly, they are smart, resourceful, and insightful; both men have a relentless desire to know the truth, as well as to understand the world and the picture of the situation (Abdul, 2020). Deceived by their family, they seek truth, honesty, and justice. Consequently, nescience is not always a “bad thing” because they paid with their lives for their excessive curiosity without any malicious intent.
Based on the above information, the following generalized conclusions and judgments should be made about two famous characters of classical literature. For instance, Oedipus the King and the Prince of Denmark experience all the hardships and hardships in the role of a tragic hero. They are respected, intelligent, prudent, persistent, and persistent in achieving their goals, but they do not have enough power over their fate and life. We can say that they are deceived, left to care for themselves, their thoughts, feelings, emotions, and internal torments. However, in their actions, they are guided by slightly different principles, rules, and regulations. Moreover, Hamlet, by its essence and nature, is a more colorful character with a rather deep, saturated inner world. Of course, Oedipus is also remembered by the viewer for his extraordinary personality, but his thoughts and beliefs, as a rule, are fixated on the same motives compared to his “prototype.”
Abdul, M. I. I. (2020). Hesitancy as an innate flaw in Hamlet’s character: Reading through a psychoanalytic lens. International Journal of English and Literature, 11(2), pp. 21-28.