What philosohical issues are raised by Iokaste's (Jocasta) judgment on the oracles (Scene 2)?

1 Answer | Add Yours

akannan's profile pic

Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

In trying to comfort her husband, visibly shaken on both personal and political levels, Jocasta brings out an interesting conception regarding the manner in which the divine reveals their own sense of revelation towards the individual.  Essentially, when Oedipus starts to panic about things, Jocasta tries to convince her husbands that prophecies are only weak means by which the Gods convey their wishes to mortals.  Her argument revolves around the idea that the Gods are strong enough to convey what they think and neednt have to hide behind vague philosophical tenets in order to convey what they wish:

Such things the speeches of seers predict,
you should ignore; for whatever the god
requires, he himself will easily reveal.

The philosophical implications of this are very interesting. On one hand, Jocasta affirms the power of the divine to her husband, Oedipus.  Yet, at the same time, she also tries to rationalize this power in order to make him feel better.  Essentially, she says that the divine is so powerful that outside of any message directly from them, all is well.  Jocasta demonstrates her own intellectual craftiness in being able to "spin" whatever is there in order to make her husband feel better about something that she recognizes has settled into him and made him emotionally unstable.  It is interesting to note that her reaction after this scene is to go to the Gods herself and pray in a temple, and make offerings and incense in the hopes of appeasing them, reflecting that she herself understands their power and recognizes the need to adhere to them in such a predicament.


We’ve answered 317,410 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question