Surrounded by powerful and royal men, left in the background as if she; Jocasta Queen of Thebes was not important. In Sophocles’ play Oedipus the King, Queen Jocasta endures a tragic fate of her own. Queen Jocasta is not only imperative to the aiding of the story, but gives an more in depth look into Sophocles tragedy. To many people Oedipus is deemed as tragic individual within the play, but not only he should be focused on, Jocasta has encountered just as many tragedies if not more. She receives news about the murder of her husband king Laius, marries her son Oedipus and commits suicide when she finds out the prophecy from oracle has come true. Many people know the story of Oedipus the king, Oedipus who is prophesized to murder his father and marry his mother. At birth Oedipus is taken up to the mountains with his feet bonded to die, to protect the king and queen from the prophecy of the oracle. Perhaps if the story where told in Jocasta’s point of view, then readers would understand the amount of devastations she has really suffered. Readers will see that more then anything else; Jocasta is an innocent a victim of circumstances.
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Pregnant with her first child, Jocasta receives the prophecy from the oracle of Delphi that if she bores a son, he will kill the king and marry her. What would any young and impressionable mother do in that situation; but listen to the wise words of her husband and king. King Laius tells her that they must get rid of the baby. “I am fifteen and afraid to resist and tell myself it is my husband’s right; the gods decree a wife obey her spouse (Jocasta)”. Jocasta, not much of a woman yet, can not do anything more then listen to her husband. She must give up her only child, although it is not what she wants to do, she must because it is her only option. “The only choice a woman has is that she wed accepting what the gods and men decree (Jocasta)”.Women in Jocasta’s time had no say no say in thing at all. All decisions were made by the men in their lives, their fathers, husbands and the gods. Women could not complain about the decision made, they could only accept the decision and live with them.
In Ruth F. Eisenberg’s “Jocasta”, Sophocles’ play is told in Jocasta’s point of view. Eisenberg retells the story by giving a deeper insight on the struggles Jocasta faced as the young wife of Laius and also as the Queen of Thebes. “The baby cries, and Laius turns away. He summons a servant and orders me to hand my baby over, threatening me when I cry. The king will keep his own hands clean (Jocasta)”. Young and naive Jocasta must do what she is told by her husband or like Oedipus he might get rid of her. Jocasta could not question the great King Laius, she was not his equal. She was considered below him, like all the women other in Thebes during that time.
Secondly, she fell in love with the man that solved the riddle of the sphinx, which happened to be her own son, Oedipus, who she has four children with. After many years of an unbearable and loveless marriage, Jocasta finally finds a man that she truly and deeply cares about. He is everything a woman would want smart, a good leader and loving. “He was at first my headstrong bull, but now he is what a man, a king, should be. Our love has brought to me the joy that I missed when I was young and thought I’d never know (Jocasta)”. Her first marriage was so horrible she never though she would find real love. She is really happy with the man that her second husband is, he was everything King Laius was not. Her second husband gives her four beautiful children, children who she thought she would never have again. Two wonderful daughters and two strong sons, the four children she thought she would never have to give up. Everything was going perfect for Oedipus and Jocasta until the land started to come be dry and would not bare any crops. The people of Thebes began to suffer greatly and Oedipus decides to consult the oracle.
Consequently, she finds out that everything oracle had predicted in fact did come true. A messenger from Corinth comes to tell Oedipus about the death of his alleged father Polybus, and asks him to come back to Corinth as the new king. Oedipus refuses because he fears he oracles prophecy will come true. The messenger reassures him that Merope his alleged mother did not have any children, and Oedipus was not their real son. Queen begged Oedipus not to continue to question the messenger but he does not listen. “In the name of the gods, no! If you havesome concern for your own life, then stop! Do not keep investigating this I will suffer-that will be enough (Sophocles)”. Queen no realizes that the prophecy may have actually come true, she tries to protect Oedipus form the truth but he does not listen to her.The messenger goes on to say that in fact Oedipus is the son of King Laius and Queen Jocasta. Queen Jocasta just as shocked as Oedipus if not more, is overwhelmed with astonishment and pity. “I can’t believe. I can’t believe. Oh God. He is my son. I’ve loved my son but not as mothers should, but in my bed, in me. All that I loved most, his youth that made our love the summer sun, wrong, all wrong. Vile…(Jocasta).” Jocasta is so overwhelmed with guilt, shame and pity. After loveless years of marriage to find someone she really loved and to find out that he is her own son was extremely appalling to Jocasta. Jocasta realizes she was cursed form the day she married King Laius and that it is his entire fault, and because of him she is getting punished. Jocasta ashamed and disgusted cures the god and goddess that she prayed to her whole life. With the truth of the oracle being too much to bear, she could no longer live another day and commits suicide. Victimized by the gods and by her first husband, Jocasta was cursed from the day she was born. Her fate was already decided for her and there was no way around it. Everything she every loved was a curse, the five children she more were all curses destined to cause her deep pain.
Jocasta Queen of Thebes was surrounded by powerful and royal men, and was left in the background as if she was not important. Queen Jocasta was not only imperative to the aiding of the story, but she gave a more in depth look into Sophocles tragedy. Jocasta should also be as a tragic hero, she had encountered many tragedies. After receiving news about the murder of her husband king Laius, she marries her own son; which was all too much for Jocasta to bear thus prompting her to commit suicide. Consequently, now that the story has been told from Jocasta’s point of view, readers will have a better understanding of the devastation that Jocasta has endure. Jocasta is in fact really the victim in the play; she is a victim of circumstance and truly has suffered as a result.
“Jocasta.” https://teacherweb.com/FL/SAS/Cabrera/Jocasta.pdf. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Dec. 2009.
“Jocasta by Ruth Eisenberg.” Jocasta by Ruth Eisenberg. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Dec. 2009.
Apollo!. “Sophocles: Oedipus Rex.” Poetry In Translation – A.S. Kline’s Free Poetry Archive – Main Site. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Dec. 2009.
Sophocles Oedipus the King. Sophocles Oedipus the King. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Dec. 2009.
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