In Oedipus Rex, what is the character of Jocasta?  

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lsumner | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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In Oedipus Rex, the character of Jocasta is complicated. She is both the mother and wife to Oedipus. She is also the mother of his children. This is a very confusing role. Jocasta tries to keep Oedipus from searching into his past, but he has to know. She warned him to stop trying to discover the truth. This is after she has figured out what is going on.

Jocasta's first entrance on stage is when she tries to stop Oedipus and Creon from arguing. She insists that they put their petty differences aside while the country is troubled as it is. Jocasta pleads with Oedipus to dismiss his grievances against Creon. She points out that Creon has been loyal to the both of them.

Later in the play, Jocasta tries to put Oedipus' fears away by telling him that King Laius was killed by highway robbers. She also tries to assuage his fears when a messenger arrives to tell Oedipus that his father Polybos is dead:

Later in the same scene she tries to stop him from questioning the messenger regarding his true father: "May you never learn who you are!" In her final speech she calls Oedipus "miserable'' and says she will have no other name for him.

She runs off the stage. Later, another messenger arrives to tell that Jocasta has killed herself. He describes her wailing and mental desperation. She could not bear the truth that she is wife and mother to Oedipus. She hangs herself in anguish. 

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