Oedipus Rex

A comparison of the two characters, Oedipus and his mother Jocasta, in Sophocles’ tragic play, Oedipus Rex.

The paper discusses ancient Greek playwright Sophocles’ “Oedipus Rex” which contains not one but two tragic protagonists. This paper considers the claims of Oedipus and his mother Jocasta to the role of the play’s most tragic figure. The paper shows that as a result of their actions, both suffer a drastic downfall from the throne; Oedipus to exile, Jocasta to death. It is therefore equally easy to make a case for either character as being the more tragically fallen, but the paper determines that in the end, Jocasta is the more tragic of the two.
Though Oedipus is one play, its tragedy is twofold. Although there is no argument that the main character of the story Oedipus Rex is Oedipus himself, it is a moot point as to whose tragedy is the more pathetic within the framework of the play, Oedipus’ or his mother Jocasta’s. Oedipus is guilty of incest; but so is Jocasta. He is both father and half brother to his children; Jocasta is both mother and grandmother to these same children. Oedipus murders his father; but in doing so, it is Jocasta he widows. Both suffer blows to their hubris: Oedipus in realizing that although he is the great riddle solver, he is ignorant of his own identity, and Jocasta in failing to thwart the prophecy.