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Tragedy in Hamlet and Oedipus the King

Tragedy comes in many forms, for example earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes are all types of tragedies. On the other hand, when talking about tragedy in literature, it has a whole different meaning. Tragedy in literature is on a smaller scale than things like earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes. In literature tragedy is usually about one person and the horrible things that happen to them during their life in a story or play. Oedipus is the main character in the play Oedipus the King. Oedipus is thought of as a tragic figure because he was doomed from birth.

Tiresias, an old blind prophet, told Oedipus’ parents about Oedipus’ fate. He told them that Oedipus would kill his father and sleep with his mother. So, his parents decided to have him killed, only it did not happen that way. He was passed off by two shepherds and finally to the King and Queen of Corinth, Polybus and Merope to raise him as their own. Oedipus finds his way back to Thebes and on the way kills his father, but Oedipus did not know that one of the men he killed was his real father. This is the beginning of the prophecy coming true.

In short Oedipus obtains the throne, Marries his mother and has kids with her. Oedipus’ fate has come together without him even realizing what is going on. Eventually he is told what has happened and asks to be banished by his uncle/brother-in-law Creon. The tragedy in Oedipus’ life began with his birth and the realization by his parents that his whole life was doomed. However on the other hand, Hamlet did not know that his life would be a tragic one. Hamlets’ fate played out through his whole life. No one knew that hamlet’s life would end up the way that it did.

Hamlets’ life first changed when his Uncle Claudius killed Hamlet’s father, the King and Claudius’ brother. Claudius just wanted to get to the Queen Gertrude. So he committed the worst sin and killed the King. Claudius weaseled his way into Hamlet Jr. ‘ spot on the throne as King. There are many reasons why both of these characters are classified as tragic figures. First off Oedipus’ fate was determined from birth, and no one knew Hamlet’s fate. Oedipus’s parents sent him off to be killed, and Hamlet’s father was killed by his brother Claudius.

Oedipus killed his dad and slept with his mother, Hamlets father was poisoned so that Claudius could get to Hamlet’s mother Gertrude. Hamlet got gypped out of the throne and Oedipus got the throne either place he went. Hamlet found a lover outside of his family and pathetic old Oedipus had to marry his mother. There were so many things wrong with these peoples lives, I don’t’ know how they could stand it! Personally, I would have done what Gertrude and Jocasta did, commit suicide! Hamlet dies in the end of the play but Oedipus has to suffer throughout the rest of his life with his conscience.

Oedipus also thought that he was better than anyone else alive and Hamlet was a more humble person and did not boast about how great and wonderful he was. Oedipus and Hamlet were two very different characters but in the end they both had very tragic lives. Oedipus should have never been king and personally I think that Hamlet would have made a good king. Although Hamlet did not live to suffer as long as Oedipus, I think that Hamlet went through just as much as Oedipus did. None of us will ever know the feelings that these two men went though, we can only try to put ourselves in their shoes and imagine.

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