A Comparison of Tragedy in Hamlet, The Book of Job, and Oedipus Rex Essay

A Comparison of Tragedy in Hamlet, The Book of Job, and Oedipus Rex Essay

Length: 1253 words (3.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Interpretations of Tragedy in Hamlet, The Book of Job, and Oedipus Rex

 
For ages, man has pondered upon the roots of destiny. Is the outcome of a man's life determined by human qualities and failings, the meddling of a divine power, or simple fate? Shakespeare's Hamlet made the argument that tragedy is caused by human folly. The idea that divine intervention is at the root of human suffering is put forth in the Book of Job. In Sophocles' Oedipus Rex, fate is given as the root of man's suffering. Three divergent perspectives on the origins of calamity exist within the tragedies Hamlet, Job, and Oedipus Rex.

Shakespeare's Hamlet enforced the idea that Human suffering is a result of human faults. Hamlet possesses extreme indecisiveness, but at times exhibits dangerous recklessness. Both contribute to his ultimate destruction. The majority of the play consisted of Hamlet deciding when, where, and how to kill Claudius, the murderer of his father. When Claudius is alone praying, Hamlet had the perfect chance to avenge his murdered father, but he decided to postpone the act. "Up, sword, and know thou a more horrid hent. / When he is drunk asleep, or in his rage" (Hamlet III.iii.88-89). If Hamlet had simply slew Claudius at that juncture, the situation would have never complicated; the story would have been over. Such innocents as Hamlet's mother, Polonius, Laertes, and Ophelia would have never met tragic ends. Although Hamlet possessed the fault of indecisiveness, at times, he exhibited a recklessness that led to suffering. When Hamlet was in his mother's room he heard a rustling behind a tapestry that he presumed was Claudius. He decided to kill the man behind the curtain without checking to make sure th...


... middle of paper ...


... misfortune is a matter of fate that cannot be changed by any mortal actions. All provide a valuable insight into one of life's greatest quandaries: the root of tragedy.

 

Works Cited

Green, Joel B., & Longman, Tremper (Eds.). Holy Bible -- The Everday Study Edition. Dallas: Word Publishing. 1996.

Shakespeare, William. The New Cambridge Shakespeare: Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Ed. Philip Edwards. Cambridge: Cambridge U P, 1985.

Sophocles.  "Oedipus Rex."  An Introduction to Literature, 11th ed. Eds. Sylvan Barnet, et al.  New York: Longman, 1997.

 

Works Consulted

Fox, Robin Lane. The Unauthorized Version: Truth and Fiction in the Bible. New York: Vintage, 1991.

G. K. Chesterton, "Introduction to The Book of Job",  The Hebrew Bible In Literary Criticism, Ed. and Comp. Alex Preminger and Edward L. Greenstein, (New York: Ungar)

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Evolution of Tragedy in Oedipus Rex, Hamlet, and Desire Under the Elms

- The Evolution of Tragedy in Oedipus Rex, Hamlet, and Desire Under the Elms There are many genres of literature. Because of the age of this genre, it stands to reason that many variations have occurred throughout the years to make it reflect that time period. The genre of tragedy tends to be considered great because it occurs during great periods of history, it is about great men, and it is written by great writers.> The evolution of tragedy and the characteristics of tragedy are exemplified in the comparison of Oedipus Rex, Hamlet, and Desire Under the Elms....   [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]

Strong Essays
1411 words (4 pages)

tragoed The Changing Tragedy of Oedipus Rex, Hamlet, and Desire under the Elms

- The Changing Tragedy of Oedipus Rex, Hamlet, and Desire under the Elms Tragedy can easily be considered the greatest of all genres due to the fact that it has withstood the test of time. Formally, tragedy employs something more complex than other genres. It is not part of a life full of happy endings. It is part of a bigger system of things. It is part of who we are. Perhaps tragedy is simply the art that truly imitates life.> Historically speaking, the great rises of tragedy have occurred during times of exceptional affluence....   [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]

Strong Essays
890 words (2.5 pages)

tragoed Metamorphosis of the Tragedy in Oedipus Rex, Hamlet, and Desire Under the Elms

- Metamorphosis of the Tragedy in Oedipus Rex, Hamlet, and Desire Under the Elms Tragedy is considered by many to be the greatest of the genres. Often something goes wrong and exposes something great. Characters generally have more depth as evidenced by Hamlet. Tragedy shows up in the great periods of history: Classical Greece, Renaissance, and the early 20th century. It is a far more complex genre than comedy or romance. It teaches people to think since the storylines never have a simple answer or resolution....   [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]

Strong Essays
745 words (2.1 pages)

tragoed Comparing Tragedy in Hamlet and Oedipus the King (Oedipus Rex) Essay

- 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....   [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]

Free Essays
624 words (1.8 pages)

Hamlet and Oedipus: A Comparison Essay

- Tragedy. It is a word which can conjure many images for most people. From the innocence of a child who has lost her favorite blanket, to the heartbreak of losing a parent, to the desperation of a suicidal teen, every person on earth can relate to tragedy. The degree to which an audience can relate or even just sympathize with the tragic hero determines the quality of the tragedy. That said, in order to produce a tragedy, it is necessary to have a tragic hero. In his work, The Poetics, Aristotle sets forward characteristics that all tragic heroes should share....   [tags: Tragedy, Literary Analysis, WIlliam Shakespeare]

Strong Essays
1592 words (4.5 pages)

Essay on tragoed Comparing Elements of Tragedy in Hamlet and Oedipus the King

- The Tragedies of Hamlet and Oedipus the King       Tragedy is a broad genre that may take many forms. Sophocles' Oedipus the King and Shakespeare's Hamlet both contain the basic elements of tragedy, but Hamlet is a tragic hero, while Oedipus is a tragic villain. From the opening moments of Hamlet, the audience knows that Hamlet must avenge his father's death. Oedipus, on the other hand, kills his own father and unwittingly marries his mother, thus sealing his own fate and fulfilling the prophecy that stated he would do just that....   [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]

Strong Essays
774 words (2.2 pages)

Essay about Compare and Contrast Tragedy and Comedy

- Compare and Contrast Tragedy and Comedy A tragedy is defined as beginning with a problem that affects everyone, i.e. the whole town or all the characters involved, the tragic hero must solve this problem and this results in his banishment or death [run-on sentence]. A comedy is defined as also beginning with a problem, but one of less significant importance. The characters try to solve the problem and the story ends with all the characters uniting in either a marriage of a party. Although these two genres are seen as being complete opposites of each other, through further analysis one can gather that though they are different certain similarities can also be seen....   [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]

Free Essays
1019 words (2.9 pages)

Essay on The Relation between Comedy and Tragedy

- The Relation between Comedy and Tragedy On the surface, comedy and tragedy seem to be complete polar opposites of each other. In terms of the actual narrative, examining the consequences of the character's actions reveals the biggest contrast. In Oedipus Rex, Oedipus' 'sin' of not listening to the Gods and trying to avoid his fate assisted in his downfall. Not only does his internal blindness result in him marrying his mother; it also results in a "plague" across his land. In addition, the blindness towards his own fate causes Oedipus to display a decidedly unkingly side when he accuses Kreon of being the source of the woes of the state....   [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]

Strong Essays
586 words (1.7 pages)

Essay on The Tragedy Of Sophocles ' Oedipus Rex And Hamlet '

- There is no doubt that tragedy has changed considerably since Aristotle first wrote the definition of tragedy in his Poetics in Ancient Greece, but these changes raise the question of whether modern tragedy still fits the classical definition of tragedy. Tragedy has evolved greatly since the times of the classical tragedies, including Oedipus Rex and Hamlet, to the more modern forms of tragedy, as seen in The Hairy Ape and Death of a Salesman. Despite its evolution and deviation from Aristotle’s definition, modern tragedy holds by the same principles, and retains the same power and message expressed by Aristotelian tragedy....   [tags: Tragedy, Tragic hero, Poetics, Sophocles]

Strong Essays
1546 words (4.4 pages)

Essay about Examining the Tragic Protagonists of "Oedipus Rex" and "Hamlet"

- Tragedy can be defined as the downfall of a protagonist through some fatal error or misjudgment, producing suffering and insight on the part of the main character and arousing pity and fear on the part of the audience. Of all the characteristics of tragedy, one is most important: the tragic hero must be essentially admirable and good. In both the common tragedies, “Oedipus Rex” and “Hamlet”, both main characters are generally good. In either play, both Hamlet and Oedipus make a flaw that will cost them an extreme suffering, and in “Hamlet”, that concludes in many deaths....   [tags: Oedipus Rex, Hamlet]

Strong Essays
644 words (1.8 pages)