Question: Comment on how the major characters (Oedipus, Jocasta and Creon) either increase or decrease in power through the drama.
Oedipus is the king of Thebes and is the most powerful character at the start of the plot. He came into power in “Oedipus at Colonus” (the story before “Oedipus Rex”) when he saved the city of Thebes by solving the riddle of the sphinx. A plague sweeps through the city at the start of the plot yet he is empowered by the citizens who look to him for help and leadership. As the plot unravels and Oedipus realises that he has fulfilled the dreadful prophecy his power starts to dwindle. He loses all power at the end of the story when he stabs his eyes out and begs Creon to hide him away for the rest of his life.
Jocasta is the queen of Thebes and is therefore a powerful character. She is less powerful than Oedipus at the start because women were treated as second-class citizens yet she was of royal blood and a mother. As Oedipus begins to realise that he has fulfilled the prophecy and brought a plague on Thebes, Jocasta’s power starts to decrease. When she finds out that Oedipus has fulfilled the prophecy and that he is her son and husband, Jocasta loses all power when she runs into the palace and hangs herself.
Creon is the brother of Jocasta and the second most powerful character in the story. Early in the plot he claims that he has no desire to be the king of Thebes. Yet, when Oedipus presents the opportunity for Creon to rule when he knows that he has fulfilled the Prophecy, Creon is eager to take control. Creon starts the play as a relatively powerful character and increases in power when Oedipus is disgraced by sleeping with his mother and killing his father.
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