The Apocalyptic Tragedies: An Examination of ‘Hamlet’, ‘King Lear’, and ‘Oedipus Rex’

An interesting blog relating to the Apocalyptic in Lear.


© 2009

            Death: the inevitable end to man’s existence. Judgment Day: the end of the world. These intertwining forces weave themselves through the texts of Hamlet, King Lear, and Oedipus Rex, allowing a glimpse of three instances in which the destruction of the macrocosm of the world is brought about and personified by the microcosm of the tragic hero. These so-called heroes are the paragon of all that is worst in man and wantonly destroy themselves, fulfilling man’s “debt owed to God,”[1] thus plunging their worlds into Armageddon. In this delicate and harmonious struggle, man plummets to his lowest, standing powerless as the inescapable end, Judgment Day, comes to fruition.

Hamlet’s poisonous madness, “like acid eating into metal,”[2] spreads outwards until it envelops all of Denmark within its grasp, smothering and choking it until it collapses into chaos. Throughout the play Hamlet truly believes…

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