Is Jocasta of Oedipus Rex a flat, generalized queen character or an individual with a distinctive personality?

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sullymonster eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Jocasta is certainly a very dynamic character.  She is strong-willed, confident, and persuasive.  She feels deeply about the health of both her family and  her country, and she holds herself to very high standards.  Consider the power she exerts over others.  When Oedipus and Creon argue, Jocasta does not hesitate to reprimand them:  "Poor foolish men, what wicked din is this?/With Thebes sick to death, is it not shameful/That you should rake some private quarrel up?"  She is able to put an end to the argument.  As strong-willed as she is, she is not always consistent.  She puts faith and encourages faith in the oracles only so far as it suits her own purpose.  By trying to shield Oedipus from the truth, she further shows complexity to her character.  She is not simply dutiful for truth and to her king; she is a woman trying to preserve the sanity of her husband, the sanctity of her marriage, and the integrity of her country.