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Compare and Contrast Sophocles’ Oedipus the King With the Film Version of the Play

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Sophocles’ Oedipus the King doesn’t simply depict a man who discovers, to his horror, that he is powerless to direct his own life

Rather, the play offers an example of how individual human beings can find ways to assert their independence within the limits determined by their destiny. Fate certainly shapes characters’ lives in the play, but it does not determine them completely.

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The tragedy of Oedipus, whether written or in film, shows the values given by the Greek tradition. Reading or watching people somehow sympathize with Oedipus, crying to his tragic fate and at the same time purifying the emotions of the readers and viewers

The tragic error of Oedipus was his pride and arrogance to his indestructibility. People also can feel suspense and fear because the reader knows what will happen to Oedipus in the end. The perfect demonstration of how life can change and show a person cannot, in any way, diverts its fate. Sophocles used a combination of special intelligence and creativity by mixing mythology and tragedy into this perfect play. Without a doubt, all tragedies created by Sophocles are considered exceptional for its quality of work and its power, bringing more attention into our new generation.

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Staying on his own before the play, Hamlet builds an ingenious psychological strategy to reveal the perpetrator: “I’ll observe his looks; / I’ll tent him to the quick. If he but blench, / I know my course” (Shakespeare 173)

In doing this, Hamlet presents himself as a rational person, able to stepping aside and taking a balanced decision despite the emotional breakdown he is experiencing. The critical situation Hamlet finds himself in provokes a major change in the prince’s personality. Spurred by the ghost of his murdered father to revenge the crime, the young philosopher renounces all the learned books he has studied and lets his actions be guided by the oath he gives to his father: “And thy commandment all alone shall live / Within the book and volume of my brain“ (Shakespeare 140).

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To summarize, both protagonists were passionately determined to find the truth. Both were impulsive

Both had immense self-pride. They seek revenge for their fathers (although this is ironic in Oedipus Rex). Although O's arrogance may have led to his downfall, it is their impulsiveness that does in each man: O's decree of exile parallels the gods' requirements, but Hamlet's stabbing of Ophelia's father right after NOT stabbing Claudius means that, in the grand scheme of things, he will have to die rather than assume the throne.

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Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Ed. Robert Hapgood. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1999. Print.

Sophocles. Oedipus the King. Minneapolis, MN: Filiquarian Publishing LLC, 2006. Print.

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