What is Jocasta's reaction to the divine prophecy?

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pmiranda2857 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Jocasta does not believe in the divine prophecy and tells Oedipus not to trust in the words of the oracle.  She is less inclined to believe in the prophecy, first because she says that whatever happens is not the fulfillment of fate, but occurs by chance through a series of events that are unforeseen.

Second, Jocasta has the most to lose by the revelation of the prophecy, she does not want to delve into understanding it, she prefers to ignore it, leave it alone.  She is married to Oedipus, has four children with him, he is the king, she does not want the life to be disturbed, disrupted or ended. She is suspicious of the prophecy, and fears it enough to appeal to Apollo, making a sacrifice to him, praying that the prophecy is not true.

"She assures Oedipus that the oracle proclaiming Laius's murder by his own son was false, since Laius was killed by highwaymen, and his son had been left "to die on a lonely mountainside." Rather than placating Oedipus, her words haunt him, he recalls "a shadowy memory,'' and asks her to give details about Laius's death."

When Jocasta realizes what the truth is, she begs Oedipus to look no further,

"May you never learn who you are!" In her final speech she calls Oedipus "miserable and says she will have no other name for him."

 he of course must find out the truth for himself, when all is revealed, it is more than she can bear, and she commits suicide.