Comparison of Sophocles' & King Lear by William Shakespeare

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Similarities between Oedipus Rex and King Lear

One of the similarities between Oedipus Rex and King Lear is that both plays revolve around kings: King Oedipus and King Lear. The two plays are also similar in the sense that both the kings fall from the pinnacle of power and eventually become part of the most reviled class in the society. In other words, King Oedipus eventually discovers that he committed murder and incest by killing his father and marrying his mother respectively, while King Lear ultimately becomes a mad beggar. The two plays are also similar in the sense that they both have misjudgments, and pose the same questions about fate, the gods, and free will. Also, both Oedipus and King Lear discover that self-knowledge and self-recognition are essential in understanding behavior. They both learn through suffering that kinship and wealth mean nothing since both of them eventually become ordinary people. Moreover, both the plays exhibit the theme of blindness, and the blindness of both King Lear and Oedipus was the major cause of the poor decisions they made, which they ultimately regretted.

Differences between Oedipus Rex and King Lear

Despite having a broad range of similarities, the "Oedipus Rex" and "King Lear" plays also have some differences. One of such differences is that the two plays have different authors: Oedipus Rex was written by Sophocles, while William Shakespeare authored King Lear. Another difference between the two plays is that King Lear has a subplot, while Oedipus Rex does not. The subplot in King Lear relates to the where Lear has a legitimate and a bastard son, and the bastard son tricks Lear into exiling the legitimate son. The bastard son then blinds King Lear after taking power. The two plays are also different in the sense that Oedipus Rex is based on destiny, while King Lear is not. In other words, Oedipus was destined to kill his father and marry his mother, unlike King Lear whose bad decisions primarily originated from his blindness.

November 24, 2023

Art Literature

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