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Tragic Themes and the Commonality between the Characters in Macbeth, Hamlet, and Oedipus Rex - Literature review Example

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This paper "Tragic Themes and the Commonality between the Characters in Macbeth, Hamlet, and Oedipus Rex" examines the similarities between these three Shakespeare's masterpieces and establishes undercurrents of different emotions and deeds and the foreboding of death in all plays. All protagonists have a flaw, which brings about their downfall…
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Tragic Themes and the Commonality between the Characters in Macbeth, Hamlet, and Oedipus Rex
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Download file to see previous pages Tragedy has been a theme for playwrights since the beginning of literature, well explored by Greek poets like Sophocles, medieval English writers, and Elizabethan playwrights, of which Shakespeare is prominent. The most prominent cause of the tragedy in these plays would be the tragic hero fighting against his/her impending doom. ‘The tragic hero is divided "between imperative and impulse, between a moral ordinance and unruly passion . . . between law and lust" (Heilman 207).’ (Brown, 2009). If we explore the similarities between the two Elizabethan dramas, Macbeth, Hamlet, and the ancient Greek tragedy, Oedipus, we find that the protagonists have that fatal flaw which draws them to their downfall and all other elements that make a tragedy. When these protagonists live, they teach us many lessons with the mistakes that they commit in their life. They seem to exist to attain the ultimate goal of death.” We admire the daring, uncompromising spirit of the tragic hero while recognizing that what he gains in the intensity of life, he often pays for with its brevity.” (Brown, 2009). Shakespeare’s tragedies “follow a basic pattern of complication, crisis, and conclusion but with multiple variations.” (Brown, 2009). If we compare and seek similarities between the characters of the three works, we find that as mentioned above, all protagonists unconsciously seek their own fall. Hamlet muses far too much over his father’s death and even when his father has shown him the path of revenge, he fails to kill Claudius when he has the chance. Macbeth on the other hand, blinded easily by ambition and avarice, kills Duncan in haste without pondering over the consequences. Oedipus’s flaw is his colossal ego or Hubris. It does not bring about his misery directly but does lead to it. Oedipus, drunk on his youth and arrogance, kills his own father, Laius, at the crossroads on his way to Thebes, while fleeing from Delphi’s oracle’s prophecy that Oedipus will commit patricide and have incestuous relations with his mother.  ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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