Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.
Both fate and free will play important roles in shaping human lives. However, often one of them takes the lead in determining one’s destiny. Sometimes people can control what happens in their lives to lead them to their destinies, while other times, people are the main reason of what happens either good or bad. Comparing Hamlet by William Shakespeare, and Oedious Oedipus’ downfall was because of his fate. That is because of the amount of knowledge each one has about his situation, their behaviour and their personalities.
One of the main reasons Hamlet’s downfall is not talking into consideration the amount of knowledge he has about his situation even though hamlet knew the truth about his father’s murder by Claudius he procrastinates in taking an action till he was in the situation of facing his own death. The only thing that forced hamlet to take the his father’s revenge was his fear of death without fulfilling his goal, and not his knowledge about his father’s murder. With him ignoring his need to take any action in avenging his father, he gave his enemies a lot of time to set plans to lead to his downfall. For example Claudius’ and Laerte’s plan to poison him either through the sword or the drink.
On the other hand, King Oedipus did not have the enough knowledge about his situation that would make him responsiblefor his actions. For example he didn’t know that the man that he murdered one day for the sake of self-defence is his father. Neither had he known that his wife is his mother. Oedipus’ ignorance of his reality leaves him innocent of any responsibility for his tragic downfall. Since humans are only guilty of their actions when they know that what they are doing is wrong. Oedipus’ actions were not the reason of his Tragic downfall but fate was. Moreover Hamlet’s behavior in trying to deal with the truth is another main reason of his downfall. Hamlet impulsiveness lead him to murder Polonius while comforting his mother ignoring all the consequences that can happen when he does so. While thinking that he was dealing with a situation in a wise way, he makes the biggest mistake of killing Polonius ignoring that one day his son Laertes will know about the incident and will be back to avenge his father, and seek the same goal that Hamlet is seeking in his life. That shows that Hamlet is ignorant of other people reactions in response to his. That shows how impulsiveness in dealing with his situations can result in opposite result from what one expects. It doesn’t only cause Laerte’s desire in avenging his father, but also he gave the chance to Claudias to make use of Laerte’s anger against Hamlet to lead to his tragic downfall.
In contrast, King Oedipus’ way of dealing with his truth and destiny known from his prophecy shows wisdom and mindfulness of the consequences. As an example, Oedipus escaped from Corinth once He knew about his prophecy mistakenly assuming that Polybus and Merepe are his biological parents.Even though, Oedipus avoided all the chances that would lead him to fulfill the prophecy as a wise way in dealing with his situation, he killed his biological father to defend himself and married the queen for the sake of living a happy life and having a family to discover that his wife is his mother. King Oedipus didn’t know that fate was more powerful than he was in the determining his destiny and leading To his tragic downfall. Therefore it’s proven that fate determined his tragic fall rather than his free will.
Furthermore, Hamlet’s personality lead him to his downfall. Hamlet has a personality flaw which is being led by his emotions rather than logic and reality of his situation. For example, he lost his temper while confronting his mother, which led him to murder Polonius by accident. Instead of thinking about his actions logically and the consequences that can happen as result of them, he let his anger control him and forcing him to murder the wrong person, which is not noble. That caused Laerte’s desire in avenging his father which caused Hamlet’s tragic downfall.
Oedipus is led by his mind and logic in attempting to avoid fulfilling the prophecy which proves that the fate had more power than free will in shaping Oedipus’ tragic downfall.For example, Oedipus left his parents and escaped Corinth and didn’t let his emotions control him and avoid him from taking the right action at least from what he knows. However, his trial in escaping his tragic destiny, fate used his actions against him to make his action as a way to lead him to his downfall anyways despite his attempt in doing the opposite from what he was trying to do. By comparing the behavior, personalities, and the amount of knowledge of both Hamlet and Oedipus. It is proven that Hamlet’s tragic downfall was a result of his free will, while Oedipus’ was because of fate. The purpose of comparing both characters is to give insight of the extent till which humans can control their lives, and after which fate has the authority of that control.