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This essay is from R Flagg
Published on December 14, 2000

The Etymology of Jocasta

For more information on who Jocasta is, please click here.

Interesting choice of a name for a Jedi librarian, me thinks. Jocasta is where we get the term Oedipal Complex. In Greek mythology, Jocasta was the wife of Laius, king of Thebes, and the mother of Oedipus. When an oracle foretold that Jocasta's son would kill his father, Laius abandoned the child on a mountain.

The infant, rescued by a shepherd (moisture farmer? ;) and given the name Oedipus, was adopted by Polybus, king of Corinth. Later, when an oracle proclaimed that he would kill his father, Oedipus, not wanting any harm to come to Polybus, left Corinth. On the road to Boeotia, Oedipus quarrelled with and killed a stranger he mistook for a robber. The victim was his true father, Laius.

Believing her son dead, Jocasta did not recognise Oedipus when he reappeared in Thebes as a young man. The youth saved the city from a dreadful monster called the Sphinx, and as a reward, the Thebans made him their king, and gave him queen Jocasta as his wife. When she learned that Oedipus was her son as well as her husband, Jocasta committed suicide in horror and despair at their incestuous relationship. Oedipus carved out his own eyes.

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