Hamlet And Oedipus The King

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Word Count

500 words


English Literature


2 Days

Assignment Criteria

Critically examine the way in which the prospect of a state after death- be it a Christian conception or an Ancient Greek Conception- influences the way in which characters think and act in this world.

Your answer should critically compare Hamlet to one other text that you would prefer texts (Hamlet and Oedipus the king).

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Assignment Solution

The prospects of a state after death influences heavily the thoughts and actions of the characters in this world. I would bring some light on this issue with the two well-known works, Hamlet and Oedipus the King. Hamlet is a famous tragedy written by W. Shakespeare. In the play, Prince Hamlet encounters the ghost of his dead father, King Hamlet on the ramparts of Elsinore Castle in Denmark. He is made aware of the truth that his uncle and the current king, Claudius has killed his father by putting poison in his ears and usurped the throne. The ghost orders him to take revenge on Claudius. Hamlet becomes angry to hear the truth; however, he does not want to believe the ghost blindly. He starts devising the plans for the murder of the uncle, but he takes the time to verify the truth first. Meanwhile, he behaves madly being into a deep melancholy. Two of his friends who are appointed as spies by the King to find out the reason for his madness to meet Hamlet and tell that they have brought a group of actors. Hamlet gets an idea to present a drama of the same situations where the king would be murdered by the rival in the same way as Claudius killed King Hamlet. Hamlet wanted to see the reactions of Claudius while watching this scene. 

Hamlet's doubts get over and the ghost's words are proven true when Claudius leaps up and leaves the room after watching the scene of the murder. Hamlet tells the truth to his mother and asks her not to sleep with the betrayal but she does not believe him. Claudius becomes afraid of Hamlet and sends him England as a banishment for unintentionally killing Polonius, the counselor to the king with a confidential letter in which he asked the King to execute his death immediately. But Hamlet finds out the content of the letter and forges a new one with the names of the two spies. Claudius devises a new plan when he knows that Hamlet is coming back. He asks Laertes to take revenge on his father, Polonius. They pan for a sword-fighting competition but Laertes would have the poisoned blade so that Hamlet will die as soon as he uses the blade on Hamlet. Claudius also keeps a poisoned wine glass as a backup plan in case Hamlet wins the match. While Hamlet was winning the match, his mother and Claudius' wife, Gertrude drinks the wine that was made for Hamlet and dies saying that she has been poisoned. Laertes feels that his plot would be revealed, so he hits Hamlet with the poisoned blade. Hamlet in return attacks him with the same poisoned sword. Laertes confesses the truth of queen's death and dies. Hamlet in a fit of anger stabs Claudius with the poisoned sword and made him drink the poisoned wine. He fulfills his revenge plan and dies soon after that requesting his friend, Horatio to live and tell others about his tragic story.

In 'Oedipus the King', the King Oedipus becomes sad to hear the plights of his people because of the plague that has stricken Thebes. The play starts with all the citizens requesting the king to save them from this plight. The King shows his pains and vows that he would do anything to protect them. He sends Creon to the god Apollo to ask for the solution to get rid of this miserable situation. God Apollo send the news that Thebes can only be saved when the killer of the old king, Laius would be expelled who is at present living in the city. Oedipus is determined to find out the murderer though he got no clue about the person. The old king was murdered before he arrived at Thebes. He tries to know something from the people but in a mood of disappointment, he calls the prophet, Tiresias. Tiresias doesn't tell the truth until he is accused of the king's murder by Oedipus. But while he hears that he himself is the murderer of the old king, he accuses the prophet and Creon of devising some plot against him. Tiresias leaves saying that the murderer of the Laius would be both father and brother to his own children and the son of his own wife.

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