Compare and Contrast
the Tragic Flaw(s) of
Macbeth and Oedipus
Macbeth visualized himself as a forceful, powerful
ruler who begins the trilogy in absolute control of the
situation. As the story progresses, however , Macbeths'
power and pride are broken down because he made it his
destiny. As for Oedipus, he was a pitiful man who has been
crushed by the avenging gods and fate. He seems to be a
wiser, soberer man, rising majestically above his
When Oedipus the king begins, Oedipus exhibits wisdom,
love for his children and his subjects, and a reputation for high moral standards. He has a passion for truth, and shows courage in the face of disaster or conflict. These same
noble qualities, however, also lead to his inevitable tragic downfall. His wisdom becomes self-righteousness, and he
refuses to see that he's married his own mother.
Macbeth, with a distinct character than Oedipus,
possessed his impure wisdom from Lady Macbeth. He had no
love for his friends and his reputation as thane was
degrading. Much like Oedipus, his character lead to his
inevitable tragic downfall.
The one trait of Oedipus that doesn't change in the
course of the play is his strength and courage in the face
of disaster. As the net of guilt tightens on him with each
revelation about the truth, Oedipus grew stubborn in finding closure to the prophecy. When Macbeth found out about his
prophecy, he deliberately seek his position as thane in an
Every step Oedipus takes to solve the mystery of Laios'
murder brings him closer to self-exposure, yet he never
hesitates to pursue that truth. When the last piece of the
puzzle falls into place, Oedipus the detective has become
Oedipus the criminal. But his courage and strength help him endure the pain and suffering that come with knowledge of
what he has done.
Oedipus' search for the truth leads him to the
discovery that he isn't a "child of Luck," but a "man of...
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