Jocasta as a Tragic Hero Essay

1223 Words Mar 29th, 2013 5 Pages
Kayla Holt
Professor Slattery
English L202
October 10, 2012
Upholding Jocasta as the Tragic Hero
What makes a tragic hero? Aristotle lays down groundwork of a tragic hero as being essentially good. They are neither villain nor saint because they have flaws. Several elememts are nevcesary to have a tragic hero, they are the tragic flaw, the reversal, recognition, and hubris. These generally make up the story of the tragic hero, and in the case of Jocasta, the wife and mother of Oedipus in Sophocles’ Oedipus the King, she posses all three. Yet she is not truly considered a “tragic hero,” but a tragic character by many. However seeing as it is the character of Jocasta that sets the story in motion, and she posses the qualities in a
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She believes that this worked. But fate intervenes and in the end the prophecy is fulfilled. It is a reversal of the events. In trying to prevent the prophecy, Jocasta brings it to pass. Another reversal occurs when the messenger arrives to announce King Polybus’s death. Jocasta believed that this shows that Oedipus has nothing to fear, she is glad for this news, but instead of affirming her beliefs, the messenger tells Oedipus that he was not the true son of Polybus (Sophocles 1.1.1117-1121). Instead he reports a shepherd took him and gave him to Polybus, a shepherd who served under King Laius. At this point Jocasta has her realization. This is the second reversal. It is her action to save them that is the very action that dooms them all. It is this tragic reversal that Jocasta brings upon herself that shows just how she is a truly tragic hero.
The final element in regards to the tragic hero is anagnorsis, or recognition. Meaning the moment when all is revealed, when truth comes to light, becoming aware of something. For Jocasta this moment is when the messenger tells of the shepherd who gives the baby to King Polybus, a shepherd who is one of King Laius’s. In this moment Jocasta has her realization that perhaps the prophecy has come true. She begs Oedipus not to look any farther; she tries to protect them both, begging him to call off the search if he loves his life. When Oedipus refuses to stop Jocasta tells him, “You’re doomed—may

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