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Examining The Tragic Protagonists Of "Oedipus Rex" And "Hamlet"

651 words - 3 pages

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.
A tragic protagonist is usually one of noble authority, who upholds a position high in society. In a tragedy, the protagonist falls from high to low, through the suffering they endure. During his fall from high to low, the protagonist is unable to escape his fate, though he may try so hard to break it. In Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”, Hamlet holds the position of prince of Denmark, a job of high authority, though by the visitation of the ghost of his father, the former King, fate enacts a twisted and nasty downfall upon himself and others, on people he loves, like his mother, Queen Gertrude, and his deepest love, Ophelia, and hates, his uncle, King Claudius. Like in “Hamlet”, Sophocles writes a tragic play, about the downfall of King Oedipus. Oedipus holds the authority of King of Thebes, though as the story evolves, Oedipus suffers great losses, such as the death of his wife, as well as his mother, Jocasta, and the gouging of his own eyes. Both Hamlet and Oedipus are generally “good” characters, though when they see the error of their ways; it is already too late to save themselves from the cruel fate that has been set upon them.
Both Hamlet and Oedipus face great struggles during their fall. Hamlet, after confronted with the true reason how his father had died, by the hand of his Uncle Claudius, in coercion by the...

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