You Killed My Father: A Comparative Study of Orestes and Hamlet
Joshua D. Hobold
Dr. Todd Coulter, Faculty Mentor
The Oresteia by Aeschylus and Hamlet by Shakespeare are two canonical dramas in the theatre curriculum. Similarly, the protagonists Orestes and Hamlet are two influential tragic heroes of Western literature. What has made these two eponymous characters stand the test of time, though? This paper will first contextualize both dramatic works using the New Historic approach in relation to each of their visions of reality. This paper will then analyze the similarities shared by Orestes and Hamlet, serving as a continuation of the foundational work of Gilbert Murray and Jan Kott. This paper will conclude with the mythical origins of the Orestes-Hamlet archetype that are found in ancient festival traditions and regenerative rites. It will be clear that Orestes and Hamlet share so much in common; more than we could ever know.
Keywords: Orestes, Hamlet, New Historicism, Theatre, Drama, Tragic hero, Aeschylus, Shakespeare
Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Location: OP Black Box Theatre