Macbeth and the Oedipus Cycle Comparison Essay

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  • Topic: Oedipus, Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus
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Macbeth and The Oedipus Cycle
Many people believe that a person’s life is predetermined. These people believe that what a person will do, the kind of person they’ll be, and who their friends will is all determined when they are born into this world. That is the basic idea behind fate and destiny. However, there is a difference between the two. Destiny allows a person to actively shape their future whereas fate will occur because or in spite of their actions. Fate is what is shown in the two plays Macbeth by Shakespeare, and The Oedipus Cycle by Sophocles. In both dramas, the characters are not in control of their own lives. Instead, they are playthings of the gods, and as they tamper with their fate, unfortunate things happen to them.

In the plays Macbeth and The Oedipus Cycle, there’s a lot of evidence that humans are just playthings of the gods. In the very beginning of Macbeth, the witches told Macbeth their prophecy of him becoming king, and when the witches would tell Macbeth something, he’d believe them wholeheartedly. That’s why he went to them when he needed advice on something. When he believes that the spirit of the King he murdered is coming back to haunt them, he says, “I will tomorrow— and betimes I will—to the weird sisters. More shall they speak, for now I am bent to know, by the worst means, the worst. For mine own good, all causes shall give way.” [3.4.138-142] This quote shows Macbeth’s belief in the witches. He trusts them so much that he goes to them to ensure his own safety, and when they tell him that he will be safe until the forest comes to his castle and no man born of woman can kill him, he believes he is safe. He finds out how very wrong he is when the intruding army brings the forest with them on their attack of the castle and Macduff proclaims that he was ripped from his mother’s womb, or a cesarean section birth. The battle ends after Macduff beheads Macbeth and is named the new king. In The Oedipus Cycle, specifically Oedipus...
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