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Oedipus and Hamlet


Oedipus and Hamlet has assigned topic There are many things which Oedipus the King and Hamlet commonly share as there are some other things which make them unique. Still, the psychological phenomenon called Oedipus complex acts as a link between the main characters in these plays and the same is the leading factor in both plays. Thesis statement: The compare and contrast on the motifs like the Oedipus complex, avenging ones own fathers murderer ,and imagery patterns like corruption in the state, blindness in the plays Oedipus the King and Hamlet proves that both the works display some similarities and dissimilarities.
Compare and contrast:
The compare contrast section is broadly divided into two: motifs of Oedipus and Hamlet and imagery patterns in both the plays.
Motifs of Oedipus and Hamlet
As pointed out, Oedipus by Sophocles and Hamlet by William Shakespeare equally suffer from Oedipus complex. Throughout the play Oedipus, the kings attachment reaction towards his mother is similar to Hamlet’s. The altitude of this attachment/ complex is at its peak when Oedipus kills his father and marries his mother. At the same time, Hamlets complex makes him angry with Claudius for not only killing his father but also for marrying his mother. Shakespeare makes it clear that “With such dexterity to incestuous sheets! It is not, nor it cannot come to good. But break my heart, for I must hold my tongue”(673). On the other side, the motif of avenging ones own father makes them a little different. Oedipus is in search of his fathers murderer, but he is blind to the fact that he himself is guilty. Once he recognizes the truth that he is the real murderer that he is searching for, he laments and blinds himself. But Hamlet is revealed the truth by the ghost of his father. Because he is not the murderer of his father like Oedipus, he really revenges.
Imagery patterns of Oedipus and Hamlet
First of all, both the plays are built on the imagery patterns. The imagery of corruption makes the plays more and more significant. The worst forms of corruption are Oedipuss killing of father and marrying mother and Claudiuss killing of his brother and marrying his wife. The imagery pattern revelation is important in both the plays. In Oedipus through Delphic Oracle facts are revealed. In Hamlet through the ghost of Hamlets father facts are revealed.
Imagery of blindness concretes the theme of the play Oedipus the King. Oedipus has eyes but he does not see, but Teiresias has no eyes but he does see. Sophocles points out that ” When Laius fell in bloody death , where was he – at home, or in his fields or in another land ?”(11). On the other side, Hamlet is not so, and he is fully sighted. Hamlet sees the world filled with sinful people. In short, the playwrights made use of the imagery of blindness without any difference.
Summing up, both the playwrights make use of the main characters (Oedipus and Hamlet) to communicate with the audience and to share their viewpoints. To be specific, the playwrights make use of Oedipus complex to unveil the inner minds of both the protagonists. So, one can easily identify the fact that the comparative and contrastive study of motif and imagery patterns both in Oedipus the king and Hamlet proves that both the works are similar and dissimilar. In short, both the playwrights try to prove that one’s deeds in day to day life decide one’s destiny and the main characters in both plays reveal the same.
Works cited
Shakespeare ,William. The complete works of William Shakespeare.UK: Wordsworth Editions, 1996.Print.
Sophocles. Oedipus the King. USA: Richer Resources Publications, 2007.Print.

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