Tragic Heroes : Oedipus Vs. Hamlet

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Tragic Heroes: Oedipus vs. Hamlet Aristotle once said, “A man doesn’t become a hero until he can see the root of his own downfall”. There is usually some kind of tragedy in drama, involving the character’s life and his/her conflict. The character’s struggle is expressed to an audience through actions and emotions in a theatrical act. In these acts, sometimes a hero is the one experiencing the conflict, known as the “tragic hero”. In order to be considered a “tragic hero”, he must pass Aristotle’s definition of a tragic hero, which involves the five specific characteristics. The tragedy begins with an error that the hero commits in judgement, leading to his downfall, which he recognizes through his actions and excessive pride. All these characteristics are the principal cause of his undeserved fate. The play “Hamlet” written by Shakespeare and “Oedipus” by Sophocles are both classified as a “tragic hero”, as they both meet all the characteristics in accordance to Aristotle’s definition of tragic hero. Oedipus and Hamlet share the critical discovery of their father’s death; however, the mistake that they each commit is different due to their decision-making process. Hamlet and Oedipus both discover the truth to their father’s death by taking action among themselves in finding out who were the murderers. Oedipus finds out that he is the one who killed his father, Laius, the king of Thebes, “when the combined testimonies of the Corinthian Messenger and the Theban Shepherd make[s] [him] realize that he 's unwittingly fulfilled the prophecy he [has] struggled to avoid (Schmoop Editorial Team). He was very upset as he shouts, “O, O, O, they ... ... middle of paper ... ...k, but instead his mother ends up drinking it, causing her death. Hamlet’s mistake causes the death of Ofelia (his true love), the queen (his mother), and his own. Although, both heroes, Oedipus and Hamlet face the truth of their father’s death by taking action among themselves in finding out who killed him, they each make a unique mistake in result of their ability to come to a sensible conclusion. Both plays end in tragedy, but they are beneficial for the audience to relief any strong and/or repressed emotions, as an effect of tragic drama. The classification of “tragic hero” definitely fit for Oedipus and Hamlet in accordance to Aristotle and the five characteristics that inevitably leads to their own destruction. Oedipus and Hamlet did not deserve to be punished it such a tragic way. Oedipus and Hamlet will always be heroes, regardless of their mistakes.

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