Hamlet and Antigone Comparative Essay

Hamlet and Antigone Comparative Essay
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    Jun 28, 2019
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Hamlet is a play written by Shakespeare that depicts the tragedy that befalls a family after the king is murdered. The death of the king is evidently planned because he has been poisoned. Hamlet the, the prince, is determined to avenge his father’s death. The king’s ghost appears to him and reveals that his uncle, Claudius was the murderer. Worse still, Claudius inherits the throne and marries Hamlet’s mother. The king’s ghost makes it clear that Hamlet should do everything in his power to avenge his death. The play depicts Hamlet’s obsession with revenge, an aspect that eventually that culminates in the death of several people, including Claudius, his mother, Polonius, and Ophelia. Without a doubt, Shakespeare’s depiction of tragedy is evident throughout the play. On the other hand, Sophocles wrote the play Antigone, which begins with a tragic happening when two brothers are killed. Antigone is determined to give her brothers a decent burial, a factor that does not please Creon. Antigone’s sister is not willing to defy the king’s orders, even in a case that concerns the burial of her brothers. Antigone’s determination to ensure a proper burial for her brothers culminates in her death. Without a doubt, there are evident similarities between the two plays, as this paper will highlight.


As highlighted above, both playwrights developed highly tragic stories with death as an outstanding theme. In the play Hamlet, several deaths occur, including that of Polonius, Ophelia, Claudius, the queen, and Hamlet himself. On the other hand, Sophocles’ Antigone begins with the death of two brothers, making the story highly tragic (Tobin 34). The death of the brothers resulted from a duel a factor that saw them kill each other. Eventually, Antigone dies, increasing the number of deaths in the play. In both stories, the playwrights depict how the thirst for power may lead to tragedies. In Hamlet, Claudius thirsted for power and wanted to inherit the throne. His actions were the basis for all the other tragedies depicted in the play (Khatab 76). In the case of Antigone, the two brothers were fighting to determine the legal holder of the throne. However, their fight resulted in their death, leaving Creon to sit on the throne. The manner in which Creon exercises power depicts his extreme ambitions and abuse of office.

Evidently, both playwrights created characters who did not relent in their desire to achieve their goals. In Hamlet, the prince is determined to avenge his father’s death, but is afraid of facing the reality that his uncle is responsible (Khatab 76). However, Hamlet eventually has the courage to act although the play results in the death of all those involved leaving a space for a new generation and leadership. On the other hand, in the play Antigone, Antigone exhibits the determination to defy the state law and give her brothers the burial they deserved (Tobin 61). Antigone eventually commits suicide when she can no longer take the pressure and pain that Creon subjects her.


Without a doubt, both plays exhibit certain similarities, although they were written at different times. Sophocles explores some of the themes that can be observed in the play Hamlet. For example, Sophocles depicts extreme tragedy at the beginning and the end of the play. Shakespeare also depicts power-related tragedies that befall Hamlet’s family. The struggle for power and its outcomes are evident in both plays. Antigone and Hamlet are comparable as they are determined to right the things that have been done wrongly.

Works Cited
Khatab, Rhonda. “Ethical Consciousness in the Spirit Of Tragedy: Hegels Antigone.” Colloquy: Text Theory Critique_11 (2006): 76. Supplemental Index. Web. 18 June 2015.
Tobin, J. J. M. “The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark/William Shakespeare.” (2012): MLA International Bibliography. Web. 18 June 2015.

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