In Oedipus Rex, considered the character Jocasta: Does her character have depth, or is it a flat character?

Expert Answers
Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the play Oedipus Rex by Sophocles, the character Jocasta is definitely not a flat character, but has some depth.  She appears in the play as both a sensible woman, but also as a woman who relies on her faith.  While being a sensible woman, in the end she is overcome by shame and grief and hangs herself.

 

We see her being sensible when, in the beginning of the play, she tries to stop Oedipus from accusing Creon of trying to take the throne.  She also shows sense when she tries to persuade Oedipus that, based on the oracle of Laius’s death, Oedipus could not have killed Laius. 

 

Her character begins to show depth when we see her turning to her faith, despite the fact she claims she no longer has faith in divination.  Jocasta claims she lost her faith in divination when Laius took their son away from her based on the prophecy that their son would one day kill Laius.  Because Jocasta did not see this prophecy come to pass, she rejects divination.  But when Oedipus refuses to become calm and stop accusing Creon of trying to take away the throne and stop investigating to see if Oedipus, himself did indeed kill Laius, Jocasta turns to Apollo in prayer for comfort.  In the end, despite appearing to be a woman of sense, when she figures out that her son really has killed her husband and that she really has married her son, she is overcome with shame for her sins and grief, and hangs herself.