Oedipus vs. Hamlet: A Character Comparison
After reading Sophocles' Oedipus the King and Shakespeare's Hamlet, it is quiet clear that Oedipus is by far the more admirable character of the two. Aside from Oedipus' history and life experience, his superior character traits are also displayed in the way he handles several incidents throughout the play.
One of the primary reasons Oedipus' is more admirable than Hamlet is just their history. Oedipus is a king. He got there by saving the city of Thebes from a horrible Sphinx by solving a riddle. In this way, Oedipus earned the trust of his people and earned the position of king. On the other hand, you have Hamlet who is the prince of Denmark. He didn't earn the position as Oedipus did. He was simply born into it. In addition, he doesn't appear to have any life experiences. He is simply a student in college.
Oedipus also possesses several admirable character traits in which Hamlet lacks. For example, Oedipus is a go getter. He doesn't stand by and receive information and just sit on it. In several incidents throughout the play he reacts quickly on information he has received. When Tiresias informs him that it is he that is the curse of the land, Oedipus reacts quickly and strongly. He immediately questions Tiresias' motives and has him removed from his presences. In addition, he immediately confronts Creon with his suspicions. "You- here? You have the gall to show your face before the palace gates? You, plotting to kill me, kill the king- I see it all, the marauding thief himself scheming to steal my crown and power! Tell me, in god's name, what did you take me for, coward or fool, when you spun out your plot?" (594-601). Here, Oedipus suspects that Creon is trying to kill him, and he immediately confronts him and challenges him.
On the extreme opposite end of the spectrum, we have Hamlet. Ah, Hamlet. His dead...