Essay, Research Paper: Hamlet And Oedipus

Shakespeare: Hamlet

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In the play Hamlet: Prince of Denmark, a young prince is in search of the truth
behind his fatherís murder. At first, Hamlet sees the ghost of his deceased
father and it tells him he was murdered by the now current king, Hamletís
Uncle Claudius. Hamlet has to think about how he will get revenge for his
fathers death, but because his only knowledge came from a ghost that only Hamlet
heard speak, he is hesitant to get his revenge quickly. Hamlet does everything
he can to show others the truth he knows. It is important to Hamlet that he gets
revenge but he also wants to torment the king and show everyone the truth.
Hamlet knows his anger toward his Uncle may cause confusion in his judgement of
the truth so he is hesitant to kill him right away. Hamlet second-guesses
himself throughout the play only to end up dying, but not before he kills
Claudius. In Oedipus the king, a child is born to a royal couple, this king and
queen want to know how their child will be in the future. So they ask an oracle
to tell them the future and it tells them he will kill his father and marry his
mother. They have the child taken away to be killed, so they save themselves,
but instead the child ends up in a new castle and is raised by another couple as
their own child. They never tell Oedipus that he is not their own. When Oedipus
hears he is to kill his father and marry his mother, he leaves his parents and
searches for a new residence. Except he meets up with a man on the road and
kills him. He then finds a castle that is being terrorized by a sphinx and
answers the riddle it asks. He then marries the Queen and rules over the
kingdom. In the end, the city is threatened by a plague that the oracle said
will cease when the city gets rid of the one who murdered the king, Oedipus
announces that the murderer will be punished. However, while searching for the
truth Oedipus discovers that he is the murderer and the son of his wife. In the
end, Oedipus finds his wife/mother hanged herself, so in the midst of all this
Oedipus gouges his eyes out and banished himself from the castle. In both these
plays, truth played a major role in the outcome. Hamlet became so engrossed in
the truth; he was too hesitant and continued to second-guess himself throughout
the play. He may have become king but because truth was so important to him
Hamlet ended up dying as well. As for Oedipus, knowing the truth may not be all
it is cracked up to be. Would Oedipus have really murdered his father and marry
his mother if they had not asked the oracle about the future? These plays
question the power of truth but is it better to know what is lurking behind
every door, or is it better to be curious about it, but never actually seek it.
Knowing the truth was very powerful in both these plays and it had a major
effect on the outcomes of both stories. Maybe by knowing the future the truth is
set. If the future remains unknown than so will truth. Truth was a deciding
factor in both outcomes of the plays. If the truth were known earlier, it would
have changed the entire aspect of each play. Works Cited  Shakespeare,
William. Hamlet: Prince of Denmark.  The Essential theatre 7th edition
 Oscar G. Brocket, Robert J. Ball. Harcourt Brace College Publishers
 Pg. 114  Sophocles. Oedipus the King  Pg. 71
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