Comparison: Oedipus and Hamlet

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According to Aristotle there are five characteristics of a tragic hero: Flaw or error of judgment, (Peripeteia) a reversal of fortune, the enlightenment (anagnorisis) the discovery or recognition, (hubris) excessive pride, and the character’s fate. Oedipus finds the elders of Thebes praying to the gods for liberation of the plague. Oedipus “alone can help. The cause of the trouble is himself; the chances he has had in his life are precisely the source of the plague” (Diski 1). Oedipus is the cause and the solution to end the plague, but he is blind to the true. Hamlet, differently from Oedipus, is a “man of thought and action, a justice seeker and a criminal, a victim and a wrongdoer, a deeply reflective introvert and a man capable of acting on impulse” (McHugh 1). Hamlet’s free will, injected him with the desire to vengeance his father at any cause. Both Hamlet and Oedipus meet all of the characteristics of a tragic hero. In the beginning of both stories is introduced the first characteristic of a tragic hero, the flaw and error of judgment. In Hamlet, the ghost of his father tells him to revenge his death and In Oedipus; the oracle warns Oedipus about killing his father. Next, the reversal of fortune, in both tragedies leads to the death of their mothers. The anagnorisis of Hamlet was when he discovered how his father died and in Oedipus when the shepherd recognized Oedipus as the killer of Laius. The hubris overpowered both heroes, Hamlet for vengeance of his father’s death and Oedipus to revenge the death of Laius, which ironically was his real father, and he had killed him. Hamlet and Oedipus have the five characteristics of a tragic hero, the main characteristic that both share, is the error of judgment, however, their fate ...

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