Oedipus King vs. Macbeth: Drama Comparison Essay

September 29, 2020 by Essay Writer

The plays Oedipus King, which was written by the ancient Greek philosopher, Sophocles, and Macbeth by William Shakespeare exemplify the issue of true kingship. The concept reflects the foundation of the decent authority through showing the tendencies of power both in the ancient times and in the period of Renaissance.

The plays introduce two characters, who occupied the positions of famous kings and influential leaders – Oedipus and Macbeth. The reader may trace that there is some striking similarity between the fates of two personalities. The marking of similarity may be determined from the beginning of their crowning. Specifically, both Macbeth and Oedipus were assigned their titles through the assistance of supernatural forces.

Macbeth, for instance, became a leader through the prediction of three witches, which decided the fate of the young man and presented their will to Macbeth on the night of thunderstorm and lightning. The situation gets disturbing from the very first scene, for through the outlandish superstition, one may deduce that the origins of Macbeth’s kingship possess the nature of vice and darkness. The witches, in the ages of pre-Shakespearean literature, had the ill-fame and were haunted by Christian religion and morality.

Therefore, the author emphasizes that the authority of Macbeth takes its roots from evil. Concerning the kingship of king Oedipus, one finds out that his power started from the troubling prophecy. A prediction was announced by the Oracle in Delphi to the father of the boy, Laius. Due to this forecast, the king had to be killed by his son, which was, in fact, accomplished by Oedipus as he grew up (“Oedipus the King: Character Profiles” par. 1). Consequently, the periods of two kings are similar through the negative characterization of the sources of their power.

The kings, which are described in this analysis, can be compared, according to their characters and individual values as well. Thus, both of them have some similarities in behavior. Still, the leaders are completely different, which reveals itself in their attitudes to morality. First, Oedipus and Macbeth are both mentioned as brave worriers, who gained perfect recognition and deep respect in their countries through taking part in wars.

Specifically, the king Macbeth was the part of the military operation, which aimed at saving Scotland. However, the courage of the king may be doubted, for the leader represented only a small part of the powerful army, which acted as a unified force. Therefore, the individual striving for bringing benefit to his land is not reflected by Macbeth’s participation in the war. In contrast to it, Oedipus, who launched a fight for Thebes and became the noble hero, saved the city from the Sphinx.

The king demonstrated the power of his will and immense braveness. The leader managed not only to stand out from the crowd so that to protect his nation, but he also inspired the citizens of the town to support him in his intentions and not to give up in their native territories. Oedipus was described as a stunning orator, who delivered many motivational speeches during the war. Therefore, it may be concluded that the kings’ participation in the lives of their communities was intersecting through military operations, but they differed considerably through the involvement and personal dedication of Macbeth and Oedipus.

The plays demonstrate the attitude of two kings to morality and decency. Mainly, one might claim that Macbeth never bore any commiseration because of his ill-acting. Despite he killed Duncan, the character did not feel that he was committing a wrongdoing since he followed the dictated prophecy and did not think about the evil means of crowning. In this case, one can view a particular cruelty, which was revealed by Macbeth as well as his unresponsiveness and ignorance (Keller 43).

The king Oedipus committed the equal act: he killed his father so that to receive a crown. However, in contrast to Macbeth, he did not realize the nature of his deed and did not act out of his ambitions but rather out of the interests of his nation. Consequently, the characters are similar through the accomplishment of vice acts. Nevertheless, they are entirely different from their attitudes and motivation, which inclined them to commit the crimes.

Finally, the characterization of Macbeth and the king Oedipus discloses two contrastive ages of morality. Specifically, the authors show that the times of Macbeth were primarily marked by personal ambition and political interests, which superseded the conceptions of sincere human feelings (Liekindorf par. 8). In the case of Oedipus, the writer reveals the notion of the individual dedication of the leader to his subordinate as well as the ideals of true morality, the priorities of nationality and ethnicity, as well as involvement in the social life.

Therefore, the plays Macbeth and Oedipus the King provide a consistent description of genuine kingship, which reveals itself from some individual values and priorities, which are set by different ages and mentalities. Moreover, it shows the way, in which human life gets distracted through reference to murder and association with supernatural forces.

Everyman Play: Critical Analysis

The play Everyman, which was created in the 15th century by an unknown author, serves as an extremely symbolic story with the reference to Biblical allegories. The concept of everyman implies the complete humanity as the congregation of all existing world religions, persuasions, and beliefs. The author of the play operates some abstract notions such as greed, evil, strength, beauty. The conceptions are, however, embodies into the images of people, whose task is to reflect the appropriate emotions and behavioral patterns, which are ensured by these particular feelings.

The central idea, which permeates the whole play, as well as provides its logical beginning, is the concept of God fear. Thus, the work opens up with the monolog of Jesus Christ, who voices some complaints against a human race. The godly creature expresses the vanity and shallowness of people. Moreover, he claims that humans do not deserve for staying in paradise, for they have disposed of fear before God, and ignore the principle of godly dread.

The speaker is concerned with the fact that people are acting out of their natural desires, urges, and can ignore the dogmas of the church for the purpose of deriving pleasure from some sinful activities. The issue, thus, has a dubious interpretation and was perceived differently, according to the age, and the critique. For instance, the agnostics and atheists argue that the play is a form of religious propaganda, and should be banned by the state. The surprising thing is that even the Christians and the visitors of church express a skeptical attitude towards the work. Therefore, it is often said that the notion of God fear has no logical foundation, for the Bible favors devotion and love towards God rather than any awe and dread.

In this context, Christ is viewed as the creature, which is bound to bring terror. This fact undermines the very idea of religious attachment. Nevertheless, the concept does not appear in the play Everyman for the first time. It already possesses a long history of being cited in multiple Biblical writings. Some experts state that the conception should be aligned with the symbolic transformation of the meaning. Mainly, the dread of God should be regarded as a literary manipulation, which encodes the issue of profound reverence to God into the idea of fear (Villiers 8).

The idea of salvation is a different story line, which is developed in the play Everyman. Thus, the discussions between the characters of the work provide specific guidelines for soul saving. The author of the work has, evidently, had the aim of teaching the readers how to fight their sins and step in the way of correct living. The conversation between Everyman and Death demonstrates that the main hero must pass a long journey to salvation.

On his way, some particular qualities and virtues join Everyman so that to serve as a good company for him. Through this strategy, the writer shows the patterns of behavior, which must be overtaken by an individual so that he found God in his heart. The primary virtues, which follow Everyman, are Strength, Discretion, and Beauty. The theologians point out that the guidelines, which are provided in the play, perfectly correspond to the dogmas of Christian religion since it provides a detailed explanation of the methods, through which one may find inner peace. Specifically, the Bible claims that an individual has to perform church rituals with diligence as well as do only good and noble deeds.

This principle reflects the quality of strength, for it is quite clear that the performance of these tasks requires perfect will and power of character. Furthermore, the traditional religions emphasize that God fearing implies the necessity of precluding any tendency of behaving in a sinful way. Consequently, the act requires the active practice of diligence (“Christian Concepts of Salvation: An introduction to Ancient & Modern Beliefs” par. 1).

The critical issue, which is reflected by the author of the play, is the concept of passing into the world on eternity. Since the ancient times, people wondered about the prerequisites for being saved after death as well as the peculiarities of after-life existence. The author of Everyman describes the decline of life of the main character by recounting the procedure of forsaking. Specifically, it is argued that the person, who made a long way through the passes of seduction, sin, and evil but managed to find the light of God, deserves for holy salvation. In the play, Everyman, who feels that his existence is coming to the halt, gets saved by Strength, Beauty, and Discretion.

This act shows that an individual, who lives a decent life, can expect a rewarding assistance at the end of his way (“Salvation through Christ: Understanding the Message of the Gospel” par. 4). Therefore, the play represents an allegorical lesson, which aims at reaching the consciousness of humanity so that to show people what the genuine wonder of Godly existence means.

Works Cited

Christian Concepts of Salvation: An introduction to Ancient & Modern Beliefs 2014. Web.

Keller, Gregory. “The Moral Thinking of Macbeth.” Philosophy and Literature 29.1 (2005): 41-56. Print.

Liekindorf, Elisabeth. Morality and the Politics of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. 2013. Web.

Oedipus the King: Character Profiles 2010. Web.

Salvation through Christ: Understanding the Message of the Gospel 2015. Web.

Villiers, Pieter. “Fear as Dread of a God Who Kills and Abuses? About a Darker Side of a Key, but still Forgotten Biblical Motif.” Theological Studies 69.1 (2013): 1-9. Web.

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