In Oedipus Rex, what is Jocasta's hamartia and what is the cause?Hamartia is the downfall; can also be explained as the tragic flaw.

Expert Answers
teachertaylor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Oedipus Rex, Jocasta's hamartia, or downfall, is related to her toying with the role of authority.  Jocasta tries to convince Oedipus that oracles cannot be trusted, but it is the nature of the people in Thebes to absolutely trust the oracle's prophecies.  Further, when Oedipus was a baby, Laius ordered that he be killed, but Jocasta did not mind her husband's authority and instead spared Oedipus's life by giving him to the shepherd.  Jocasta regards authority only when it suits her desire and intentions, and she shirks it when she sees danger approaching.  As the truth unfolds, Jocasta realizes that Oedipus is in fact her son, but she fights to hide the truth from him and everyone else.  But she cannot run nor hide from the truth and when it catches up to her, she commits suicide.