Free Essays - Jocasta is Not to Blame in Oedipus the King (Oedipus Rex)

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Jocasta is Not to Blame in Oedipus the King

In the play, Oedipus the King , written by Sophocles, it is Oedipus, not Jocasta, that deserves our criticism. Oedipus made some `errors in judgement' that caused him dire consequences and is therefore going to be inevitably condemned for them.

Many could argue that Jocasta is responsible for the downfall that Oedipus encounters due to an unsuccessful attempt to have Oedipus murdered as an infant. It could be said that she therefore deserves our criticism for her actions in the play although we cannot over look the choices the Oedipus makes himself. Oedipus chose to leave Corinth when told the news of the terrible prophecy that had been foretold about him. It was this choice that led Oedipus to kill what he thought to be a wanderer on a foreign road. In leaving Corinth he fulfilled the prophecy to kill his father. It was Oedipus' choice that accounts him responsible for the criticism he eventually endures, not Jocasta.

Oedipus choses to seek the truth about the murderer of Laius, honourably indeed to save the people of Thebes, but through this choice he in a sense administers his own lethal injection. Oedipus is warned about the consequences of his actions by Teresias when he prophesises the outcome of the search for truth. Due to Oedipus' ego which is built up by the pedestal that the people of Thebes have put him on, he does not accept the help of Teresias and continues to search. His opinion of himself being above the Gods leads him to then again shun the help of Jocasta who once again warns him of the consequences of the search for truth. Oedipus' persistence lands him our criticism, at this point we cannot criticise Jocasta as she tries to help him, and warn him about what will happen is he persists.

Although Jocasta tried to murder her son, Oedipus, to save her husband and herself from the terrible prophecy foretold at Oedipus' birth, Oedipus still deserves most of our criticism. He chose to murder another human being, through no fault of Jocasta's. She honourably tried to save her husband by having her son murdered although the person meant to do it couldn't go through with it.
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