Oct 22, 2019 in Analysis

book Drama Analytical Response Essay

This excerpt aims to provide a clear outline of the analysis of the two plays already discussed. The two plays chosen are Oedipus Rex by Sophocles and Hamlet by Shakespeare. In a bid to explore the two plays, the discussion in the preceding paragraphs shall provide highlights of the themes, the form, structure, language, character and language in the two plays. In addition, a comparison and contrast together with the plot in the two plays also form the basis for analysis.

Comparison between the Two Plays

Hamlet and Oedipus Rex, as the chosen plays have a lot in common in their themes and through the description of their plot.

In the plays, themes of truth and misconceptions are drawn. The two major characters in the play that are the kings undergo a lot of tribulations and tests that later pits them to define their identity and come to the reality. Their innocence in the first instants pits them to traps that later enlightens them to the reality. In the long run, their positions become under threat, and later they lose their powers.

In Hamlet’s scenario, Hamlet, who is the King experience a misconception of his father’s murder. He fails to figure out the reality of the world in the absence of his dear father. An idea in his mind confirms to him that the murder of his dear father was his Uncle, Claudius, who eloped with his mother immediately after the murder of his father. His innocence and pity makes him behave madly and angrily so as to fool his subjects and asserts more authority. However, Polonius learns the trick but still believes that the king’s crazy behavior emanated from the murder of his dear father.

As the play advances, the mad behavior of the king develops more and more until he loses bearing on the reality. The emotional rage he experiences supersedes his ability to handle. Later, he resorts to physical violence that brings his reign to a halt.

In the Oedipus’ case, the king’s faults and illusions led to his downfall. He was caught up in the confusion of defining the real truth from misconceptions. In the play, Oedipus is alluded to kill his father, the King Laius and then marry his mother, Queen Jocasta. This aimed at fulfilling oracles’ prophecy. To blend with prophecy, Oedipus gets rumors that his father, the king was not his biological father. The prophecy alludes that the Queen was the biological mother and that Oedipus should marry her by first killing the imposter father. However, he is misguided by the rumor and, therefore, fails to find the truth. As the play proceeds, Oedipus kills the King, who according to him was the imposter father and then marries the mother. He is later rewarded with the kingship title by liberating the people of Thebes from his father’s curse rule.

During the reign of Oedipus, questions arose of his actions in killing the father and marrying the mother. The action of marrying the mother was against the customers as it was considered incest. The Queen, who happened to be the mother, continued to pursue the real truth that prompted his son thinking, to kill his husband. The mother then later on learns of the misconceived oracle prophecy that prompted the action of the son.

She reveals the real truth to the son though in fear. In knowing the truth, Oedipus becomes remorseful and curses his untimely and emotional actions. The mother goes to hang herself afterwards, and Oedipus finds the body in one of the rooms in the palace. The death of her mother brings a lot of fury to him, and he bursts in a cry. He acts by anger and orders the servants to remove the slain body. He becomes blind begs the subjects to take to exile in London.

As per the two plays, the king’s untimely and misconceived actions land them to series of unbearable circumstances. The theme of reality verse illusions is well pictured in the plays. For example in the Oedipus’ context, the character is deceived by the Apollo’s prophecy which stated that he would grow, murder his father and later succeed as the king of Thebes and again marry the Queen who happened to be her biological mother. Later on the reality sets in and the King becomes blinded.


Hamlet presents a limbo situation. He firmly believes that his father was murdered but does not suspect the actual suspect. The murderer to his father is his close relation, therefore, affirming his justification of not being true to reality. On realizing that his mother is the chief culprit to the murdering of his father, their relationship strain.

In the two plays, the two major characters choses to avenge on their illusion. Oedipus opts to kill the father and marry the mother. Hamlet decides to rage a war with his uncle with an intention of killing him. Later on, the concept of the hunter becoming the hunter sets in. The two kings becomes the hunted in the whole ordeal of their illusion and unthoughtful action. In the long run, both the kings lose their power, authority and virtues. Hamlet loses his life while Oedipus become blinded. Despair, betrayal and the disease of the mind make these two characters in the two plays have similarity. Moreover, the characters fall victims of shattered world and failed experiences.

The literature stylistic device of a play within a play is a common method used in the both plays. This is demonstrated by the key actors in their quest for authority and power. This style develops the plot in the play and makes the audience develop more interest. In the Oedipus play, a play within a play helps the audience drawn a conclusion on the character of the king.

Contrast in the Two Plays

In contrast to the two characters, Oedipus is portrayed as a hero who makes rush decisions and highly emotional. He is pictured as a proud man full of ego. The play pits him as a man of action due to is an untimely move to kill his imposter father. On the other hand, Hamlet, according to the play, is the hero who is sensitive and very moody. He also demonstrates passion as he opted to kill his uncle with love. He is also passionate about his father despite being murdered by his uncle. However, as compare to Oedipus, Hamlet is less to action and more to anger as he takes time in killing Claudius, the uncle.

Oedipus in the play I more decisive compared to Hamlet. He makes quick decision to affirm his displeasure. Hamlet though is viewed as a wise leader as he takes time o know the real murderer of the father. However, Hamlet is seen as a selfish leader as he lets his feelings to reign despite the plight of others. In the play, because he was displeased by the betrayal of the mother and uncle, he feigned madness that later affected his subjects badly.

The play also depicts Oedipus as a very religious man. Despite his move to marry the mother, he was aware that he had committed a religious offense of incest. He was even ready to go back to the womb of the slayed mother. Moreover, he was aware of committing a religious sacrilege by murdering his imposter father. Oedipus is well aware of the divine implications of following a fall prophecy.

As pertaining to the language, Hamlet uses the medieval literature in contextualizing the plot. This also highlights the theme is making reading or watching the play very interesting and entertaining.

In the audience perspectives, the two characters in the play show major distinctions. The turmoil rage of Hamlet pits audience to delve more on defining the next move of solvency. Those watching the seen become unable to determine the next course of action of Hamlet. However, based on character, the audience in the Oedipus have a clear picture of the move the King can undertake. He makes rush decisions that pit him as an impatient leader.

As per the discussions above, various themes in the plays can be drawn. In the play of Oedipus, themes of fate and free will, guilt and shame, sight and blindness and truth finding are manifested in the discussions. In addition, the theme of religion, illusions and reality together with action verses reflection are highlighted.

In contrast with Oedipus, Hamlet in the play portrays various themes. Amongst these are the theme of madness, the theme of death and theme of betrayal in the family and conflict. All these themes explore the plot of the various players that later determine the audience spectrum.


The two plays as already discussed in the previous paragraphs share some similarities and differences in the plot, structure and themes. They both dwelt on the theme of hero tragedy, illusions and reality. They provide a clear prediction of the current leadership. As the leaders in the plays were misled by their thought, their actions led to their failure. The current world leadership in most countries is demonstrated in the play especially the concept of subject betrayal.


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