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Gertrude & Lokaste

            The hierarchical females of Shakespeare's "Hamlet" and Sophocles" "Oedipus Rex" share many common threads. "Hamlet's" Gertrude and "Oedipus"" Iokaste mirror each other by their submissive attitudes and their inability to acknowledge the blatantly obvious. Both characters are guilty of taking part in an incestuous relationship. Iokaste's manipulation by the Gods and Gertrude's manipulation by the Claudius is also a related factor. However, the most significant similarity between these two Greek tragedies is that both Queens wed the culprit responsible for their husbands" death. .
             The lives of Iocasta and Gertrude were manipulated by someone of a superior stature. Iokaste was merely a pawn used by the gods to fulfill the prophecy predicted by the Oracle. Oedipus was destined to murder his father and wed his mother. Although Iokaste had wanted nothing more but to raise her family and revel in their pleasures, her existence was used to aid Oedipus in meeting his destiny. Gertrude's manipulation, however, was more direct to human involvement. In order for Claudius to attain kingship, he had to kill his brother and marry Gertrude. Otherwise, Hamlet, being the next direct heir to the thrown, would have become king. Both of these women met their fate through deceit and trickery. .
             The Queens in both plays unknowingly married their husband's killer. The ghost in "Hamlet" says, "The serpent that did sting thy father's life now wears his crown." ("Hamlet", Pg, 258, Lines 48-49) This shows that the Claudius, the current king, was the perpetrator guilty of murdering old Hamlet. According to Maurice Charney, "Murderous rage is feasible when a kingdom is to gain." ("Styles In Hamlet", Pg. 122) This quote illustrates Claudius" core motive for his actions -the want for power and status. The same situation relates to Iokaste in that she fulfilled the prophecy by marrying her son. It is quoted, "Laios was killed at a place where three roads meet.

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