Resilience as the ability to hold onto one’s beliefs despite the odds that the world may throw at a person is one of the traits that appeal particularly strongly to readers in characters. Of all characters that possess the specified quality, Hamlet and Oedipus seem to represent the quality of resilience particularly strongly. However, despite the equal passion with which both Hamlet and Oedipus retain their resilience, the nature of it remains different in each character, with Hamlet’s position being stronger due to the ability to hold onto his beliefs until his very death.
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Hamlet and Oedipus: Comparing Resilience
Both characters show impressive abilities to face challenges, especially those of which they have little control. However, since Oedipus still changes his stance drastically at the end of the narration when faced with his dreadful discovery, his resilience appears to be weaker than that one of Hamlet: “Come then, lead me off” (Sophocles 39). Hamlet’s stance might seem as emotionless at first glance, yet, on a second look, one will find the unwavering faith in his convictions encountering complex internal conflict and ultimately winning. The presence of resilience is shown demonstrably in the famous monologue: “Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer […] Or to take arms against a sea of troubles” (Shakespeare). Thus, choosing to oppose his enemies rather than to yield, hamlet shows much greater resilience than Oedipus.
By following his convictions even as he dies, Hamlet portrays an inward and less passionate, yet much stronger resilience than Oedipus. Although Hamlet’s emotions are never shown explicitly, his passion and willingness to retain his beliefs even when he is betrayed by his friends and faces an impending doom are worthy of admiration as a highly impressive example of resilience. Oedipus, in turn, changes his convictions drastically throughout the narrative and especially at the end, when the terrible truth is disclosed. Therefore, Hamlet’s resilience skills are much more superior.
Shakespeare William. “Hamlet.” Shakespeare.MIT.edu, 1603, Web.
Sophocles. “Oedipus Rex.” SLPS.org, ca. 420 BCE, 2019. Web.