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Why does Jocasta punish herself in Oedipus Rex?

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Once Jocasta realizes that the prophecy came true and recognizes that she married and slept with her son, she runs to her chamber and hangs herself using her bed sheets. Jocasta is overwhelmed with disgust, embarrassment, and shame and feels like she cannot continue living. Her incestuous relationship with Oedipus is too much for her handle, and she recognizes that she will never be able to fully emotionally heal or recover after challenging the gods. The bed sheets she uses as a noose symbolically represent her despair regarding her incestuous relationship with Oedipus. The bed sheets represent her marriage and intercourse with her son, which are the primary factors influencing her decision to commit suicide.

Initially, Jocasta instructs Oedipus to not concern himself with Teiresias's unflattering message and explains to him how she and King Laius initially reacted to hearing the unsettling prophecy. Jocasta assures Oedipus that she left her son to die in the elements and trusts that King Polybus of Corinth is Oedipus's biological father. Similar to Oedipus, Jocasta believes that she could outsmart the gods, alter her fate, and change her destiny by getting rid of her son. It is only after Jocasta learns that King Polybus was not Oedipus's biological father that she begins putting the pieces together and recognizes the truth. Once Jocasta realizes the awful truth, she begs her son/husband to stop examining his past and ends up hanging herself with their bed sheets as punishment for her actions. Similar to Oedipus's self-inflicted wounds, Jocasta's punishment appropriately fits her transgression, which was engaging in an incestuous marriage.

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