Macbeth and Oedipus were simply two kings whom had acquired kingship through inheritance. But they both seem to have a lot of trouble staying kings, although they both have very different stories and outcomes, many elements are shared; such as the influence of Supernatural forces, each had a concealed twist to their fate that was related to birth, and they are ultimately released from their position at the fault of their own.
If the supernatural forces had never influenced the two, neither would have tried to become king or in the case of Oedipus, preventing the plague to spread any further. The role of supernatural forces is important for both heroes. The oracle instructs Oedipus to take revenge upon the murderer of the former king, Laios, in order to stop the plague; the three weird sisters tell Macbeth that he will be king. How the two heroes interpret the messages of the supernatural forces is their downfall.
Macbeth becomes too confident because of the words of the sisters, goes insane, and is killed by a former ally. Oedipus tries to find the murderer of Laios only to discover that he himself is the killer. Both are very prosperous to begin with and would have lived long and comfortable lives if they had just left well enough alone. But these two teach us a lesson because they both are removed from a place of superiority at the end of the plays. However, there are some big differences between the two and how they fall.
Oedipus is the better person of the two. He becomes king by saving the city of Thebes from the Sphinx, A riddling monster whom has terrorized the townspeople for a while. Macbeth helps to save Scotland but is only one soldier in a huge army that fights off the attackers. Oedipus shows pride by thinking that he alone can save the city from the plague, but he wants to save the city, and he has the citizens first in his mind. Oedipus addresses the citizens: Poor children! You may be sure I know All that you longed for in your coming here.
I know that you are deathly sick; and yet, Sick as your are, not one is as sick as I. (lines 62-65 http://www. writewellgroup. com/Humanities_Project_2005-06/Primary_Sources/oedi pus1. htm) Macbeth, on the other hand, murders Duncan in cold blood to gain the kingship. He mistreats his people. Oedipus does not mistreat his subjects at all. He is oblivious of the effects from his actions. Macbeth knows full well the harm that his actions are causing but doesn’t care. He becomes so confident that he thinks that he is invincible.
Macbeth boasts: Bring me no more reports, let them fly all; Till Birnam Wood remove to Dunsinane, I cannot taint with fear. What’s that boy Malcolm? Was he not born of a woman? The spirits that know All mortal consequences have pronounced me thus: ‘Fear not, Macbeth, no man that’s born of a woman Shall e’er have power upon thee. ‘ (Act 5 Sene 3 Lines 1-7) Greed and overconfidence lead to Macbeth’s downfall while Oedipus steps down from his position because of obliviousness and wanting to take vengeance upon the former king’s killer.
Macbeth is a bad ruler and Oedipus is a good ruler, but they both are released from the crown. Both of their “AHA” moments come as much of a surprise to them as it does the audience. For Macbeth he realizes Macduff was actually delivered through a C-Section as for Oedipus he starts putting two and two together when he recalls the day in the forest when he killed a man out of rage, and finds out that he has killed his father and bedded his mother who was a prize for the ridding of the sphinx.
Oedipus and Macbeth are alike in many ways because they are both characters in the same kind of plays. Oedipus Rex and Macbeth are both tragedies, which show both men aiming for greater power but are not capable of keeping it. These two men teach a lesson. Irresponsible use of power will ultimately cause the downfall of a person mentally, physically, and socially.