Sample English Drama Stories Paper on Oedipus Rex

A theme in a play is the message or issue that the writer is trying to portray. Issues are usually universal, and they go above cultural beliefs, race or language. Themes contain writers’ opinions about life or an important message that the writer wishes to pass across to his or her readers. Writers develop ideas from their own beliefs and what they consider to be right or true. A good theme needs to have depth and meaning. In plays and stories, issues make used to make the stories more exciting and meaningful.

Oedipus Rex

Oedipus Rex is a tragedy play written by Sophocles. The Greeks were the primary audience of the story, and it was the second play from Sophocles. Many people regard Oedipus Rex as a masterpiece. Sophocles was one of the three Greek tragedy writers, and his shows remain among the most successful. Oedipus Rex is among his most successful stories. Human behaviour was the primary basis for Sophocles’ plays (Lloyd, 337). Sophocles used suspense and dramatic tension to make the endings in his drama more tragic (Garvie, np). Examples of plays written by Sophocles include Ajax, Philoctetes, Trachinian Women and Electra among many others. Sophocles used very controversial themes in his stories.

The central theme employed in Oedipus Rex is one of fate. Fate refers to unavoidable events that happen to someone, and one has no control over them. The use of destiny is widespread in Greek mythologies. The purpose of the theme of fate meant that characters and people, in general, have no control over things that happen to them, and only the gods could control everything. Characters usually try hard to avoid the fulfilment of such prophesies, but on most occasions, they typically get fulfilled tragically. The attempts made to stop a vision are the reasons that in the end, the revelation gets fulfilled. In ancient Greek, priests were significant, and they could foretell the future. Some priests even used astronomy to connect their Prophesies to future events (Von, 411). In the story of Oedipus, there were two major prophesies that affected the fate of Oedipus and King Laius. The first prophecy is to king Laius about his son, who would kill him in the future. Oedipus also received a revelation that he would kill his father and then marry his mother. The use of these prophesies is very important in showing how much they would shape the ending of the story.

King Laius gets to learn that his fate is that he would die at the hands and sword of his son. The Prophesy given to the king was not conditional, and so this meant that the revelation would happen at any cost and despite anything, he would do to stop it. King Laius and Oedipus both try hard to avoid fulfilment of their Prophesies. All their efforts to preventing these Prophesies is what made them come true. King Laius sent his son away to a different land and assumed that that would solve his problem. Oedipus and king Laius both had opportunities to avoid their fate, but this still did not help them. Both of these characters were neither foolish nor blind, they were just victims of circumstances.

Fate receives so much power in the story of Oedipus that all the other themes only show how much powerful destiny is. Pride, which is another theme, comes in the way of him finding out the truth. Due to his pride, Oedipus does not take heed of the priest’s words and assumes that his adoptive parents are his birth parents. Even after the Prophesy is fulfilled and a plague has punished Thebes, Oedipus still brags of how he will find the culprit responsible for the epidemic and punish him. The killer of king Laius was the cause of the plague. Oedipus even brags to the priest of Zeus that he has managed to crack the riddle. It is important to note that the style of tragic irony was used by Sophocles in this story to push on the theme of fate. Irony is when something happens that is contrary to what people expect. Ironically, King Oedipus was very intent on punishing a culprit who turns out to be him. Oedipus was the one who killed king Laius unknowingly, and yet he was very determined to find out the person who killed the king, and this is very ironical (Lech, 93). Oedipus’claim that he had solved the riddle was ironical because his story was the riddle.

The misuse of power also contributed a lot to the truth coming out. Oedipus unknowingly, using his power as the king forced the shepherd and Tiresias to tell the truth about the child. The two tell Oedipus the truth about the child whom they were to throw in the mountains. The truth comes out, and Oedipus realizes how fate had followed him in all those years. Ignorance is yet another major theme that made the subject of destiny possible. Oedipus, in ignorance, kills his father along the highway. He does not seem to care about the consequences of his actions. After killing his father, he goes ahead and marries his mother without knowing. Although he is not blind, Oedipus does all of those things blindly compared to Tiresias who despite being blind, can see and knows everything.

There is a theme about self-discovery whereby Oedipus tries He goes to the oracle to find out find out who his parents are but this does not happen. In his journey of self-discovery, Oedipus fulfils his inevitable fate. Apollo gave him the Prophesy that he would kill his father. Oedipus leaves Corinth to avoid it. He believed that he could defy or go against the Prophesy. Instead of trying to find out whether he was adopted, Oedipus goes away, thinking that he has escaped his destiny. The Prophesy of the gods, although shameful, had to be fulfilled despite all the efforts.


Hamlet is a tragedy play that was written by Shakespeare. The story is about prince Hamlet and his thirst for vengeance against his uncle. Claudius had murdered Hamlet’s father for the throne and to marry his mother. In this play too, characters are depicted just as victims of fate. The roles of, Hamlet, Polonius, Gertrude, and Claudius are mere victims of destiny, and there is nothing they could do to change their future. Fate was used throughout the story to lead the characters to their death. Shakespeare used choices and decisions to show how fate finally overcomes everything. In the story of Hamlet, the options between good or bad are what lead the characters to their outcome.

Prince Hamlet had one task of revenging the death of his father. He, however, keeps on postponing it, and this eventually leads to the tragic ending of the story. Most of the things Hamlet does are in a rush without any plan. King Hamlet had appeared as a ghost which also shows supernatural powers had control over many things. The appearance of the spirit was the reason for Hamlet’s decision to seek revenge. Hamlet felt that it was his duty to fulfil his dead father’s wish. With time, Hamlet realizes that he is unable to fulfil his promise, but he is bound by it because it was his fate. The ghost even appeared a second time to emphasize how important it was for Hamlet to kill Claudius.

Hamlet is pulled by fate or destiny into fulfilling his promise when the vessel he was travelling in, got into an accident. After the accident, Hamlet had no choice but to go back to Denmark. A series of events happen after Hamlet’s victory during the fencing match. The queen gets poisoned by the king, and Hamlet gets wounded and kills the king in retaliation fulfilling the promise he made to his father. Hamlet’s poor decisions made him kill Polonius blindly, and this led to his death.

Both Sophocles and Shakespeare used tragedies in writing plays (Sciberras, np). Sophocles used the power of the gods and oracles to show that man had no control over his fate. In Oedipus Rex, the character goes back home and back to his destiny no matter what he did. In Hamlet, Shakespeare used the power of poor decisions to show how people come to their fate. Shakespeare used existentialism to show that people are responsible for their actions (Sweileh, np). Claudius killed King Hamlet, Gertrude married Claudius, and the prince Hamlet killed Polonius. All of these characters met their destiny because of the bad decisions they made.


Works Cited

Garvie, Alexander F. The plays of Sophocles. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2016

Lech, Marcel Lysgaard. “The hand of Oedipus: the network of body imagery in OT.” Logeion 6 (2016): 93

Lloyd, Michael. “Sophocles.” Characterization in Ancient Greek Literature. Brill, 2017. 337-354.

Sciberras, Nicole. Tragedy and psychoanalysis: a study on the relationships between tragic forms and psychoanalytic techniques. BS thesis. University of Malta, 2018.


von Lieven, Alexandra. “Hellenistic astronomy and the Egyptian priest.” Hellenistic Astronomy. Brill, 2020. 411-425.