Oedipus/Macbeth Comparison Essay, Research Paper
Oedipus was similar to Macbeth because both Oedipus and Macbeth were confronted and destroyed by a set of circumstances, Oedipus by fate and Macbeth by the witches and their prophecies.
Oedipus the king is given the throne of Thebes because he answered the riddle of the sphinx correctly. Oedipus unknowingly killed the king of Thebes and took his place and ruler. When he was young, Oedipus received a prophecy that he would eventually kill his father and marry his mother. Sickened by this prophecy, Oedipus ran away from home to prevent these horrid events from occurring. Even though he thought he was getting away from them, yet he was actually running right to the prophecies . Since fate played a big role in this play, it was inevitable that Oedipus would fulfill the prophecy by killing his father and marrying his mother. Oedipus could not control what happened to him, he strived to overcome the prophecy but failed. Oedipus was a caring person from the beginning of the play. When his people started getting sick and dying he sent his brother in law, Creon, to ?To ask of Phoebus, in his Pythian shrine, by word or deed how shall I rescue Thebes?? Creon came back and explained that the former king, Laius had been murdered and “He fell. Apollo Chargeth us to strike his murderers, whoe’er they be, with vengeance.”. Oedipus went on to question the chorus and curse the murder, which is ironically himself. He then calls for Teiresias, an old blind man who can see the future, and Teiresias tells Oedipus that he is the murderer, but Oedipus doesn’t believe him because an eye witness said it was a band of thieves that killed Laius. As the play nears an end a messenger from the city of Corinth comes and tells Oedipus that the man he believes is his father is dead. Oedipus is overjoyed because for the prophecy to come true Oedipus would have had to kill him, but Oedipus was in Thebes when it happened so the prophecy didn’t come true. The messenger then informs Oedipus that the king of Corinth wasn’t his real father, a herdsman from the city of Thebes gave Oedipus to the messenger. Jocasta then realized, after hearing the messenger?s explanation, that Oedipus is her son and begs him not to call upon the herdsman and to stop the search for Laius’ murder, she then runs inside the castle and kills herself. Oedipus, unaware that Jocasta has killed herself sends for the herdsman. Oedipus questions him until he finds out that he came from the house of Laius, and he now knows that he is Jocasta’s son as well as husband.
Just as Oedipus was a well respected king, Macbeth was similar because Macbeth was a well known as a valiant warrior and the Thane of Glamis. All the people of Scotland, including King Duncan, loved and respected Macbeth. In the same manner that Oedipus got the throne of Thebes, Macbeth took over the throne of Scotland. Both Oedipus and Macbeth murdered the former king and replaced them as ruler. Macbeth murdered his friend and superior, Duncan, after receiving prophecies from three witches. The prophecies told him that he would first become the Thane of Cawdor, and then become King of Scotland. After Macbeth became king he went back to the witches and they told him he couldn’t be destroyed, except by a man not born of a woman. This second meeting with the witches can be paired with Oedipus demanding that the herdsman tell him where he got the baby that he had given to the messenger. Macbeth’s second meeting with the witches ultimately led to his destruction, as did the herdsman?s quote “Thus then:-they said ’twas- … Laius’ son. … and yet Perhaps Jocasta best can answer that.” seal Oedipus’ fate.
Oedipus? wife, Jocasta, is almost as intent of finding her former husband?s killers as Oedipus. By the end of the play though, she wants nothing to do with it. Proof of this is the quote ?Alas! I pray you may not know yourself.?. she is telling Oedipus not to proceed with calling for the herdsman to tell Oedipus where he came from. This quote can also be classified as Jocasta?s recognition scene, right before she runs into the castle to hang herself.
In ?Macbeth? there is a character similar to Jocasta, it is Macbeth?s wife, Lady Macbeth. When Macbeth tells his wife of his plot to kill King Duncan, she is even more ambiguous than he is. When Macbeth Attempts to call off the assassination Lady Macbeth is there convincing him to go through with the murder of Duncan. Then just as Jocasta hung herself when she found that she had married her son. Lady Macbeth realized that Macbeth?s brief reign as king was about to end so she jumped from a tower in the castle. Both Jocasta and Lady Macbeth pushed for what their husbands wanted, but as soon as the goals were achieved, Jocasta and Lady Macbeth killed themselves.
Both Oedipus and Macbeth were in similar situations. Both strived for something, Oedipus for Laius? murderers, and Macbeth for the Throne of Scotland. After achieving their goals, both were destroyed by what they had wanted so badly.