The Three Plays Analysis: Oedipus, Everyman, and Faustus
The three plays, namely Oedipus, Everyman, and Faustus, are tragic plays that have cases of deaths in them. These plays have similarities and differences. This essay will discuss the plays by comparing and contrasting them based on the settings, characters, dialogues and dramatic situations.
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Settings of the Plays
Oedipus is set at a palace in Thebe, a city in the ancient Greece. Throughout the play, the setting remains as togetherness was a factor of tragedy among the inhabitants of the city. In this play, Thebes is depicted as a city of crisis struck with hunger and famine, which marks the beginning of the tragedy. On the other hand, Everyman is a medieval play set in heaven, and it starts when God sends Death for Everyman who is the main character. The play proceeds on the earth as the writer intends to involve all human beings. The action takes place at the author’s time. Finally, Faustus is set in medieval Europe, too. The action takes place at the court of the German Emperor. The setting time for this play is the 1580s.
Some of the similarities in the settings of these three stories include the fact that their settings create an atmosphere of tragedy, which is the genre of the plays. The difference in the settings includes the fact that Oedipus and Faustus happen at fully known places on the earth, namely the ancient Greece and medieval Germany respectively, while Everyman begins in heaven but later proceeds on an unspecified place on earth.
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The major characters in Oedipus include King Oedipus who heads Thebes and is determined to rule by killing his father and marrying his mother. Some of the features of this character include being short-tempered, highly intelligent and impetuous. Jocasta is the queen of Thebes, the wife and the mother to Oedipus. Jocasta is good, loving and cooperative. Creon is the brother to Oedipus, he is a loyal citizen of Thebes, judicious and rational. The last major character is Tiresias who is the blind prophet of Thebes. This character never dies, and he is the only one aware of the fate of Oedipus. There is also the Chorus who is a character outside the play. The major character in Everyman is himself being the main subject of the play. This character represents a sinful life but repents and gets saved. The second character is God; merciful Supreme Being. Fellowship, Kindred, Cousin, Material Goods are the characters that represent things that Everyman acquired earlier in his life but that later left him in the times of need. Good Deeds is the other character, a friendly creature willing to accompany Everyman during and after life. Knowledge is the character that Everyman must obtain to receive salvation. Angel is the character that welcomes Everyman to the heaven (“Auditions for Everyman”). The Doctor warns the main hero at the end of the play while Discretion, Strength, Everyman’s Five Wits, Beauty are Everyone’s possession abandon him in hard times. In Faustus, Dr. Faustus is the main character. The other character is Lucifer who buys Dr. Faustus’s soul. The similarity in the characters of the plays is that they include humans and divine beings and the main characters have similar fates.
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There are instances of dialogue in the plays. In Oedipus, the first example of dialogue is when Oedipus tells Chorus, “You pray to the gods? Let me grant your prayers.” When Jocasta wanted to know why Oedipus wanted to see the servant, he answered that “I can hold nothing back from you, now I’ve reached this pitch of dark foreboding” (“Oedipus the King: Novel Summary: Chapter 6”). In Everyman, when Everyman prays to God, Good Deeds tells him that, “then shouldest thou not in this dolor be” (Everyman 14). There are also instances of dialogue in Faustus where Faustus and Mephistophilis argue about health as below. Faustus says, “Come, I think hell’s a fable.” Mephistophilis replies that “Ay, think so still, till experience change thy mind” (“Doctor Faustus”). In all the plays, there are dialogues between human beings and divine beings.
The plays have several aspects of dramatic situations such as conflicts, remorse, and disaster, conflict with God and family rivalry among others. In the play Oedipus, there are conflicts. The first instance of conflict between the inhabitants of the city manifests because of the persistent crimes. The play also presents a disaster by revealing famine and barren lands, which introduce tragedy. In the play Everyman, there are conflicts, too. The instance of conflict in this play is the conflict between Everyman and God because of the Everyman’s sinful deeds. This play also presents a conflict between life and Everyman. This is revealed at the beginning of the play when God sends Death to Everyman. The play also presents a conflict between Fellowship, Kindred, Cousin, Material Goods and Everyman in times when he is in need. The play also presents a disaster that makes Everyman lose all the things he earlier occupied that he thought would bring happiness to him.
Further, in Faustus, there is family rivalry between King Oedipus and his father who he afterward kills, takes his throne and even marries his own mother. There is remorse in the incident of King Oedipus father’s murder, which is also an instance of abduction in the play.
The analysis of the plays’ dramatic elements shows some similarities as well as differences in them. They exhibit many literary elements, which this paper may not exhaust. The plays can thus be used to educate and advise people on various matters of social life.