Oedipus vs. Macbeth

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Dark Wisdom
If any two tragic fates can be compared and contrasted, they are those of Oedipus and Macbeth. King Oedipus, a man who receives his kingship from the people of Thebes, marries the widowed queen, only to find out that the gods tricked him with their prophecies. King Macbeth presents himself with the crown of Scotland, as three witches prophesize, while he has not yet cleaned his hands of the late king’s blood. While Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex and Shakespeare’s Macbeth both revolve around kings whose’ egocentricity causes them to deny prophecies, their instinctively defensive behavior may instill wisdom. Oedipus’ and Macbeth’s condemnatory manner of addressing Tiresias and the Messenger illustrates their fear that the given information might be true, since both of the kings instantly become enraged. Macbeth’s primary thoughts of self-defense arrive upon the messenger’s explanatory words of how he “[stands his] watch upon the hill” (V:v:32). The hill alludes to the hill upon which Macbeth first meets the witches, and upon which his avarice for power dawns, thus instilling a skeptical reaction. Oedipus’ wariness at the reminder of Apollo’s prophecies also instigates a defensive tone as he orders Tiresias to utter “[not] a word,/ [Tiresias] and [his] birds, [his] gods – nothing” (449-450). Oedipus assumes that he is the only man who knows of Apollo’s prophecies, so when Tiresias verbalizes them, Oedipus is taken aback and will hear no more. His refusal to properly listen to Tiresias puts him at the disadvantage, since any adverse gestures can be misused against him. While kings are responsible of identifying dangers from their high-rank positions, two commoners – Tiresias and the messenger – still manage to disgrace both Oedipus and Macbeth. As soon as the messenger completes his report, Macbeth calls him a “[liar] and slave” (V:v:34). Like him, Oedipus has a fit of anger and calls Tiresias “[blind,/lost] in the night, endless night that [nurses] him”...
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