The Search for the Truth

Topics: Oedipus, Oedipus the King, Sophocles Pages: 5 (1831 words) Published: July 18, 2012
The Search for the Truth
Many individuals are deeply affected by the thought of death, in both foreseen and unforeseen circumstances. Death can affect one even when they do not expect it to, causing them to search for answers. This is seen in both the plays Hamlet by William Shakespeare and Oedipus Rex by Sophocles, which are centralized on the death of the protagonists’ fathers’ through unknown circumstances. There are events throughout the plays which cause both Hamlet and Oedipus to focus on finding out the truth. Both protagonists have their individual methods, with which they try to build their path to success. Their approaches both lead to accomplishing their missions; however Hamlet’s method proves to be more efficient. This is through taking aid from the individuals around him and having a greater knowledge of the truth than Oedipus. Therefore, both Hamlet and Oedipus work hard in order to gain success in their missions, however in the end, Hamlet proves to be more successful than Oedipus. As both protagonists begin their missions of seeking the truth, Hamlet immediately takes aid from the individuals around him whereas Oedipus refuses to do so, making Hamlet more successful. Through accepting the help of King Hamlet’s ghost, Hamlet finds out the truth behind his father’s death. The ghost tells Hamlet, “Ay, that incestuous, that adulterate beast,/ With witchcraft of his wit, with traitorous gifts,/ O wicked wit and gifts, that have the power/ So to seduce!-won to his shameful lust/ The will of my most seeming-virtuous queen;” (Shakespeare, I, v, 43-47). The ghost reveals to Hamlet that Claudius is the one who murders him and takes his crown. Claudius is the one who is held responsible for murdering the King since he poisons him in his sleep and steals his brother’s crown. After hearing this truth, Hamlet sets out to avenge his father’s death and to kill his uncle Claudius. This proves that the acceptance of help from his father’s ghost makes Hamlet’s mission a success. Furthermore, Hamlet puts on the act of being mad and with the help of the players, he acquires evidence against Claudius. Hamlet devises a plan and thinks, “I’ll have these players/ Play something like the murder of my father/ Before mine uncle: I’ll observe his looks;/ I’ll tent him to the quick; if he but blench,/ I know my course. The spirit that I have seen/ May be the devil:” (II, ii, 592-597). In this example, Hamlet makes use of the players that arrive in Denmark and has them put on a play imitating his father’s death in order to watch Claudius’ reaction. Hamlet wants to have solid proof that Claudius is his father’s murderer. This gives Hamlet the proof he needs and he now has enough evidence to set off to gain well deserved justice for his father. Thus, Hamlet acquires evidence against Claudius through the help of the players, leading him to the glory of success in his mission. While Hamlet gains aid from both the ghost and players, Oedipus on the other hand, blames Creon and Teiresias for accusing him of polluting the land of Thebes and is therefore, less successful in his mission. While Creon attempts to help Oedipus solve the mystery of King Laius’ murder, Oedipus prevails with rage and begins to accuse Creon for wanting to steal his crown and rule the land of Thebes. Oedipus questions Creon through stating, “Well, sir? What brings you here?/ Have you the face to stand before my door,/ Proved plotter against my life, thief of my crown?/ Do you take me for a coward, or a fool?” (Sophocles, 40). In contrast to Hamlet, Oedipus becomes very angry towards his brother-in-law as all the evidence that Creon presents for the mystery of King Laius’ death points directly towards him. In Oedipus’ perspective, this is a plot set up by Creon. In addition, Oedipus believes that he cannot be responsible for killing the late King as he is the one individual who becomes the saviour of Thebes. Hence, despite his many attempts to help Oedipus, Creon remains...
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