A Tragic Showdown Macbeth Vs Oedipus?

679 words - 3 pages

When we think of the tragedy, we think of something bad happening to someone. This cannot be a tragedy. To know what tragedy is we have to take a look at what Arthur Miller thinks of as tragic.
In his essay Tragedy and the Common Man, Arthur Miller says, “As a general rule, to which there may be exceptions unknown to me, I think the tragic feeling is evoked in us when we are in the presence of a character who is ready to lay down his life, if need be, to secure one thing – his sense of personal dignity: From Orestes to Hamlet, Medea to Macbeth, the underlying struggle in that of the individual attempting to gain his “rightful” position in his society.” I agree and disagree with Miller’s first statement. Just take a look at Oedipus and Macbeth. Oedipus promises to find the killer of King Laius and punish him. In the end when the King of Thebes realizes that he committed fratricide by killing King Laius and incest by marrying his mother, Jocasta he carries out his promise of punishing the killer. By gouges out his eyes with Jocasta’s hair pins, Oedipus decides to go into exile. Oedipus’s personal dignity was him finding King Laius’s killer and punishing him. Does Oedipus’s dignity really lie in just finding and punishing Laius’s killer? Oedipus gains his personal dignity when he carries out his promise and punishes himself. Now what about Macbeth? At first he doesn’t believe the prophecy of the three sisters of him becoming Thane of Cawdor and then king. But when King Duncan knights him as the Thane of Cawdor we see a new change in him. The sisters’ words have gotten to Macbeth. When King Duncan comes to with his sons to Macbeth’s castle to have dinner, Macbeth does the unthinkable. The Thane of Cawdor kills the king to become king himself. By killing King Duncan Macbeth breaks The Code of Cometatus. Has Macbeth secured his sense of personal...

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