One of the most important characters in Sophocles’ play, Oedipus the King, is Jocasta. She is a complex figure who plays a variety of roles throughout the play.
Jocasta is Oedipus’s wife, queen of Thebes, and daughter of Menoeceus. She has four children with Oedipus—Antigone, Ismene, Polynices, and Eteocles—whom she loves deeply. Despite their tumultuous relationship throughout the play, they remain devoted to one another until the very end.
Throughout Oedipus the King, Jocasta is portrayed as a strong-willed woman who stands up for herself against her husband’s oppressive rule. She often speaks out against his decisions and refuses to let him dictate her actions or beliefs.
Jocasta plays an important role in driving the plot forward in Oedipus the King. Early on in the play, she attempts to dissuade Oedipus from pursuing Apollo’s prophecies by revealing her own past experience with prophecies that did not come true for her. This ultimately leads to her husband discovering that he has killed his father and married his mother—a realization which leads to him blinding himself out of shame and guilt at what he has done.
It is also Jocasta who discovers that it was Laios—not Polybus as everyone had believed—who was actually murdered by none other than Oedipus himself all those years ago. This discovery serves as a major turning point for both characters as they are forced to confront their darkest secrets and fears head on before coming to terms with them at last.