Friday, November 6, 2015

Oedipus vs. Hamlet

After class today, I began comparing Hamlet to past pieces that we have read in Humanities. One previously read play that particularly stuck out to me as similar was Oedipus. Not the entire story line obviously, but the idea of incestuous relationships was a big factor of similarities. In Oedipus the King, Oedipus as we know, marries his mother unknowingly after killing his father, also unknowingly. However, although this relationship wasn't judged because they didn't know they were related, I still wonder why the remarriage wasn't judged. People made a huge deal about how fast Hamlet's mother got remarried, but I don't really think that the situation in Oedipus is much different, yet it was perfectly accepted, honored even. Not long after Oedipus killed the previous king of Thebes, he is crowned king for solving the riddle of the Sphinx and then marries his mother. Why wasn't she chastised for her speedy marriage?


Jack Zheng said...

That is a good point - why isn't Jocasta chastised for marrying Oedipus immediately after the king dies?
I think that since Oedipus killed the king and took his spot, nobody dares to say anything about his marriage with the queen. In Hamlet, Gertrude knowingly marries the brother of her dead husband. While we don't know whether she had much of a choice, this incestuous act would definitely have been deemed as immoral. But then, how did people dare condemning the king's marriage?

Madison Cummings said...

I would like to point out that Oedipus defeated the sphinx and the people elected him as king so Jocasta was pretty much forced to marry him. Oedipus had seemingly earned his place as king for his intelligence and bravery, and after he proved himself he was elected. Cassius, on the other hand, basically shoves himself onto the throne, without being asked and without proving his ability to lead the people. He basically just saw the open seat and grabbed it before anyone else could. I don't know whether to give Gertrude the benefit of the doubt, because odds are she was very lonely without her dead husband, even if she didn't show it as much as hamlet would have liked. She may just have been sad and longing for a companion, so when Cassius came along she jumped at the chance.