The plays Hamlet and Oedipus the King are very similar in some ways and different in others. However, the similarities between the two seem to be more prominent. The main similarities between the two fall under the categories of incest, murder, suicide, and the displacement of blame. They are both very similar in that they both have incest.

However in Oedipus the King, the incest is more generally known. The whole community realizes that Oedipus killed his father and slept with his mother. In Hamlet, the incest is only regarded as disgusting by Hamlet. The rest of the community accepts their marriage as normal. Murder is the motivation behind the character's actions in both plays. In Oedipus the King, the play begins because the community is supposed to find and surrender the former King Lauis's murderer to the gods to stop the plague.

In Hamlet, the plot begins with the appearance of the ghost of former King Hamlet who reveals his brother murdered him. This is the main motivation of Hamlet's actions throughout the rest of the play. It is not until the end of the play that his father's death is actually avenged. However in Hamlet there are many murders that occur throughout the play. In Oedipus there is only one murder that becomes the focus of the play. In Hamlet, the king's murder causes other murders to take place in indirect ways.

Because Claudius killed King Hamlet, young Hamlet must avenge his father's death. In doing so, he takes his anger out on other people and kills Polonium and is ultimately but indirectly responsible for some of the other murders in the play.