Oedipus Rex Questions and Answers
by Sophocles

Oedipus Rex book cover
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What is the importance within this passage? "For the love of gods, if you love your life,give up this search! My sickness is enough."

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Jocasta says these lines to Oedipus.  They represent quite a bit in way of significance.  On one hand, Jocasta is pleading with Oedipus to relent in his search for the truth.  It is a reflection of how she knows that little good can emerge from this particular quest.  She understands where things are and where things are heading and in her pleading to Oedipus, it is a reflection of the theme of fate and free will.  In her warning to Oedipus, the conflict between both his free will and the inevitable fate that awaits him are evident.  At the same time, another level of significance to the quote is how Jocasta's character, as both mother and wife, is evident.  She might be speaking from a position that literally sees her husband struggling, and her pleading comes from a position where she would like to see this minimized.  At the same time, the passage raises questions as to whether she knows the truth.  Jocasta might have understood that Oedipus really is her son and in order to avoid shame and minimize her own suffering for her transgression against the natural order, she wishes him to desist with his quest.  In the end, the lines speak much about both Oedipus and Jocasta.

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