Dispute mediator 

Jocasta is the queen of Thebes in Sophocles’ play Oedipus The King. After the death of her husband Laius and after Oedipus had freed the city from the curse of the Sphinx, she marries Oedipus, making him king. She has four children with Oedipus, two girls and two boys: Antigone, Ismene, Polyneices and Eteocles. She does not know that she is also Oedipus’ mother.

Jocasta places herself between her husband, King Oedipus, and her brother Creon when a heated argument breaks out between the two. Both seem to accept her as a mediator of disputes, for she treats the grown men as if they were her children and tells them they should be "ashamed" to put their own goals above the health of the people (l.772). She then tells Creon to go home and asks her husband to come to the palace. In this way, she proves how important the suffering of the population is to her and that she understands they have to be her priority. 

When Tiresias, Creon, and Oedipus are arguing, Jocasta does not let herself be blinded by sympathy for her brother or by feelings for her husband. Instead, she wants to "learn what happened here" for herself (l. 823); it is important to her to know the facts. 

The legend 

Oedipus describes to J...

The text shown above is just an extract. Only members can read the full content.

Get access to the full Study Guide.

As a member of, you get access to all of the content.

Sign up now

Already a member? Log in