Can you explain the quote below from Oedipus Rex said by Jocasta?"Fear? What should a man fear? Is all chance, chance rule's our lives. Not a man on earth can see a day ahead, groping through the...

Can you explain the quote below from Oedipus Rex said by Jocasta?

"Fear? What should a man fear? Is all chance, chance rule's our lives. Not a man on earth can see a day ahead, groping through the dark."

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In many ways Jocasta acts as a foil to her husband/son, Oedipus, in this staggering play, as she seems to spend most of her time discouraging him from paying any attention to the Oracles and divinations about himself and his life whilst simultaneously realising the truth of her own identity and trying hard to come to terms with that herself. This quote that you have selected represents another attempt to distract Oedipus from the truth of the prophecies (which arguably by now Jocasta at some level at least knows have been fulfilled).

A paraphrase of this quote could be that oracles and predictions have no power over our lives. Our lives are subject only to chance and luck. Any attempt to predict or guess at the future is futile, as no man can see even what will happen tomorrow. Jocasta describes such attempts of trying to predict the future as futile "groping through the dark," clearly indicating the falsity of our claims to "see" and "predict" using prophecies and Oracles.

Of course, please note the irony in this passage. In spite of Jocasta's protestations, the oracles do show themselves to be true. Their seems to be a deeper irony in the picture of a man groping through the dark, as that is precisely what Oedipus will become - because of the truthfulness of the prophecies.

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