Man versus Himself

The struggle is real.

By Stephane Solorio

Just a few examples of this theme in the stories, "Hamlet", "Gilgamesh", and "Oedipus the King"...

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Gilgamesh struggles with his mortality.

After the death of his friend Enkidu, Gilgamesh realizes that he too is mortal. "Shall I not die too? Am I not like Enkidu?" He goes in search of immortality, but fate decides to keep him from becoming indestructible. Throughout the story Gilgamesh is confronted with the fact that he will eventually die. He spends quite some time trying to avoid his fate, but eventually he comes to terms with it.
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Oedipus struggles with the fact that he has committed incest.

Oedipus had no idea how immoral he was. When he finally learned of his indiscretions, he was torn apart by grief. "No more advice! If I had eyes, how could they bear to look at my father in Hades? Or at my devastated mother? Not even hanging could right the wrongs I did them both. You think I'd find the sight of my children delightful, born to the life mine must live? Never, ever, delightful to my eyes!" In order to pay for his sins, Oedipus gouged out his own eyes, so that he would never again be able to look upon his daughters, the ultimate proof of his mistakes.
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Hamlet struggles with the idea of murder.

When Hamlet's father's ghost comes to him and tells him that Claudius was his killer, Hamlet is appalled. His father's ghost informs him that he must kill Claudius. "Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder." Hamlet agrees to do it, but because he knows that murder is wrong, he struggles with it. The only way that Hamlet will kill his uncle is if he finds some proof as to his guilt. When Hamlet feels sure that Claudius is the murderer, his internal struggle is over and he makes good on his promise to avenge his father's death.
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