Oedipus and Jocasta: Let Sleeping Ills Lie

In Oedipus Rex, Jocasta tells Oedipus, “Don’t seek it! I am sick, and that’s enough!” (Sophocles 38).   To what extent do you think that Oedipus and Jocasta should let sleeping ills lie?  Are there things that are not worth knowing for them?  Why or why not?  In a post of approximately 200 words, examine the following question using specific detail from the play, including quotations.  As with the last post, you will be given up to a total of /15 marks.  Use two quotations, properly documented, and refer specifically to other posts if you wish to work for full marks.  Deadline for this post:  FRIDAY 25th at midnight.  You can post any time before this date.  If you wish to post early, you can refer to comments in the previous Oedipus question.

~ by Ms. Cox on February 21, 2011.

59 Responses to “Oedipus and Jocasta: Let Sleeping Ills Lie”

  1. If knowledge is known then let it be heard by all that it involves. Jocasta says to Oedipus “Nay, never mind -never remember it- ‘Twas idly spoken!” (Sophocles 38). This only intrigues Oedipus to find out what information is being withheld. All those who know the past of Oedipus should come out and say it because they are only prolonging what is to come. The king has a right to know about his past and his parents, as does any other person. There are no things that are not worth Oedipus and Jocasta knowing because as Tiresias says “Well, it will come, keep silence as I may” (Sophocles 13). The truth will come out one way or another and it is better to come out sooner, so that the responding actions can be thought out reasonably and not done in the hast of the moment. Sleeping ills should never let lie as it only increases the severity of the consequences.
    Truth is knowledge and knowledge is power; by withholding this knowledge from his king, Tiresias has ultimately made Oedipus less powerful and sentenced him to the fate given by the prophets. dianad44 stated that “Oedipus is power hungry and his motives are in the wrong place”. I disagree, as Thebes has been trouble free for 15 years and only when this hidden truth starts being told do problems start. I believe Oedipus is a divine leader and is only lead astray by those who have hid the truth from him. When Oedipus finally finds out the truth it will be greater and have bigger consequences than when it was first discovered. If the servant had told Jocasta that Oedipus had slain his father, the former king, then Oedipus would not have married Jocasta, his mother. A lie that is left to rest does not sleep, it grows and breeds until it is finally uncovered and appears greater than what it was.

  2. After fifteen years of marriage, Jocasta and Oedipus are told of the many prophecies that say they are mother and son. This great and shameful incest was unknown to them for they had wed and started a family. Both are uncertain about such comments and are unwilling to take it as the truth for if they did it would make them endure the sickest of feelings. As much as they should completely forget such horrible assertions such as “And the woman from whose womb he came, both son and spouse” (Sophocles 17) were made, it would be highly impossible for them to do so. Nothing like hearing you might have slept with your mother can be easily forgotten and set aside so you can continue living as a family with said mother as your wife. Oedipus wants to seek the truth even though it is better not knowing because he cannot live the rest of his life just wondering, saying “ I will not hearken- not to know the whole” (Sophocles 38). As most beneficial to Jocasta and Oedipus if they do not seek the truth for they could continue life without shame and disgust, it is impossible for them to let it be. If the prophecy that Jocasta is Oedipus’ mother accurate that could also mean Oedipus killed Laius; his father. The killer which needs to be banished from the city so the are able to get rid of the plague that has fallen on its people. Sleeping ills should be let lie for sometimes ignorance is bliss but not when the lives of an entire city depend on the truth.

  3. “Truth” is really complicated. There are times when we think things are better off as they are and times we feel the truth should be revealed. Agreeing with Hannah, who said “Oedipus is a divine leader and only lead astray by those who hid the truth from him”, I believe the truth should be revealed as early as possible no matter how hard it may be to accept it.
    After fifteen years Oedipus is willing to solve the mystery of king Laius’s murder – like a good king should do. He is willing to find the truth so that his people will stop suffering, but Tiresias knowing the truth does not want to tell as he says “Well, it will come, keep silence as I may.” (Sophocles 13). Yes truth will reveal itself by time, but when it does it would be too late. Had Tiresias; who knew the truth for fifteen years, told Jocasta that her son was alive she would have not married him and nothing onwards would have been complicated. Oedipus might be living with the burden of killing his father but he would not have married his mother or would have been responsible for the drought and plague his people were suffering from. Everyone has the right to find the truth about their past and so does Oedipus; he says “Nay, it cannot be that having such clue I should refuse to solve the mystery of my parentage!” (Sophocles 38).
    Therefore sleeping ills should not lie, instead it should be revealed as quickly as possible. Hiding the truth can never result in good, and those who hide the truth are equally or even more responsible for the chaos than those who do the action.

  4. When Jocasta tells Oedipus not to seek out more information about his parentage it is a very impractical demand. Too many truths have already been revealed that it would be almost impossible to ignore the rest. Throughout the past fifteen years both Oedipus and Jocasta have been living a lie. Tiresias says to Oedipus earlier on, “Well, it will come, keep silence as I may” (Sophocles 13). This is a very accurate statement in that he is implying the truth always comes out; it is just a matter of time. Just as Hannah mentioned, Oedipus is too curious to let sleeping ills lie. He is ready to take responsibility for what has happened in the past and what is now happening to the town. On the other hand, Jocasta is very ignorant and selfish. She seems to have ulterior motives for not wanting the truth revealed. If the truth is acknowledged she will lose everything including her status, money, and life as she knows it. Jocasta’s ignorance is quite blatant when she says, “So that henceforth I do not mean to look left or right for fear of soothsaying! (Sophocles 31). She is being ignorant to the Gods and the truth of the prophecies because she does not want to believe such terrible things can happen.

  5. For any person who holds considerable power and responsibility over many people, they must think of their people, and not just them. Letting sleeping ills lie might be best for Oedipus and Jocasta, for the harm has already been done; the prophecy has already been fulfilled. I agree with Sultana who says it would be “…most beneficial to Jocasta and Oedipus if they do not seek the truth for they could continue life without shame and disgust…” (Sultana17). Until we factor all of Thebes relying on this pestilence being solved. As we learned earlier in the story, Apollo tells Creon that the only way to solve the city’s great pestilence is to “bring account certain his murderers” (Sophocles 4). As the leader of the people, it is Oedipus’ duty to find the murderer and execute or expel them from Thebes to save his people, even if he is culpable. Although Jocasta begs him “Nay, never mind – never remember it – twas idly spoken!” (Sophocles 38) and tries to belittle the Gods’ prophecies as she says “I do not look left or right for fear of soothsaying” (Sophocles 31). But in all cases, I think it is best for the truth to come out as soon as possible because eventually, it always does. Tiresias even says, “Well, it will come, keep silence as I may” (Sophocles 13). I think Hannah was insightful when she wrote “When Oedipus finally finds out the truth it will be greater and have bigger consequences then when it was first discovered” (Hannah) because then Oedipus would not have married and reproduced with his mother. But since it has been fifteen years and Oedipus has to look out for an entire city, the truth must be discovered, and the consequences must be dealt with for the good of the people of Thebes.

  6. I agree with jenna’s argument. Too much information has been acknowledged to ignore the truth. Oedipus reaches his peripeteia when Jocasta says, “He was tall; The first white flowers had blossomed in his hair; His figure was not much unlike your own.” (Sophocles 27) It would be unrealistic for Oedipus and Jocasta not to consider that Oedipus is in fact the son of Laius. Jocasta however, refuses to search for the truth when she says, ” Why ask who t’was he spoke of? Nay, never mind-never remember it-‘Twas idly spoken!” (Sophocles 38) She does not believe in the prophecy spoken about Oedipus; however, Oedipus’s curiosity overpowers Jocasta’s desires and beliefs. He sets out to discover the validity of the prophecy by talking to the messenger and the old man. He reaches his anagnorisis on page 42 after his discussion with the old man. I believe that discovering the truth would be the better path to go about the situationa and that is what Oedipus’s curiosity leads to. So much of the truth has already been revealed that it would be unrealistic not to find out for sure. It is better to know then to live and continue dwelling on the idea that you may have killed your father as well as married your own mother for 15 years.

  7. Both Hannah and Sultana17 claim that Oedipus and Jocasta have to learn the truth and that their sleeping ills cannot be let lie, because the truth has already started to come out. However, a person can always choose whether or not they are willing to hear the truth. Jocasta makes that choice when she chooses to tell Oedipus not to go searching for the truth anymore, saying “For Heaven’s sake, if you care for your own life, don’t seek it!” (Sophocles 38). She chooses to reject the truth and refuses to hear it, something Oedipus has the choice to do every time someone tells him not to seek the truth for his own good. Jocasta tells him this, as does Tiresias. Also, knowing the truth is not always what is best. In the case of Oedipus, the truth coming out leads Jocasta to kill herself and Oedipus to blind himself. This also leaves their children orphans, punished for the sins of their parents. Tiresias says “Alas! How terrible it is to know, where no good comes of knowing!” (Sophocles 12), making it clear that the truth is horrible and that knowing isn’t always better. Despite this, Oedipus continues to look for the truth, acting like it is too late for him to give up his search. It is never too late to forget and forgive, and to ignore the truth. Oedipus and Jocasta had that chance, but they chose to continue on their path. How is it different from lying to a friend so you don’t hurt them? Sometimes knowing the truth is worse than not knowing.

  8. The relationship between Jocasta and Oedipus seems very questionable and distant. The fact that these two characters fail to mention significant events in their lives to one other, after fifteen years of marriage, creates nothing but questions in the reader’s mind. During the unfolding of the action, Oedipus comes to his anagnorisis of what has truly taken place in his life. The realization that his life has been based on lies and false information makes Oedipus curious, and driven to find the brutally honest truth about his family. Oedipus says, “Break out what will, I shall not hesitate, low though it be, to trace the source of me” (Sophocles 38). This quotation shows his determination to find the truth; he is ready to accept the consequences that this action may put him through. Referring to Jenna’s post, I also agree that Oedipus is ready to face the truth and seek closure for many of the lies that have been told to him. She also mentioned that on the contrary, Jocasta does not want to face the truth. She becomes stubborn, cold and hesitant as she states “Don’t seek it! I am sick, and that’s enough!” (Sophocles 38). Jocasta cannot live with herself now knowing that she has married, and slept with her own son. Jocasta’s reaction to the hints, and information given by the messenger, and Oedipus himself, drive her to plead Oedipus to drop what has been said, and simply move on. The personalities, and words these characters speak lead me to believe that Jocasta wants sleeping ills to lie because the truth is simply too hard to live with.

  9. Sometimes there are secrets that people are better off never learning. Whether Oedipus and Jocasta know the truth about Lauis’s murder isn’t one of those cases because it’s a lose-lose situation either way. If they decided to let sleeping ills lie and ignore the truth even though they’re aware of the possibility then the plague continues for the rest of their lives and the people suffer. With Oedipus being the king, to allow that to happen would be extremely selfish. On the other hand if they find out that they’re at fault then they will have to act on that for the good of the city. I agree with Cassi’s post in that as king, Oedipus has a responsibility to put the city before himself and having to live with the pain of knowing what he’s done combined with the plague that is afflicting Thebes just wouldn’t be a life worth living anyway. Oedipus came to the same conclusion when he realized that all the prophecies had already come true and that his wife had committed suicide. He was in so much agony that he gouged his own eyes out because he could receive no pleasure from anything after what he had learned. He states this in this quote, “But the right hand that dealt the blow was mine, none other. How, How, could I longer see when sight brought no delight?” I liked Hannah’s post because she brought up the question of why Thebes was trouble free for 15 years even though Oedipus had already done all the things that the prophecy said he would do. I also agree with Maria’s post “Sleeping ills should not lie, instead it should be revealed as quickly as possible.” and I think this is the main lesson to be learned from this story.

  10. Oedipus’ hand was forced to investigate his parentage due to the extent of the truth that had already been unveiled. Katie makes a good point when she says, “So much of the truth has already been revealed that it would be unrealistic not to find out for sure “(Teng ). The credibility of the plot would truly have been compromised had Oedipus simply ignored the several seemingly coincidental circumstances that were presented to him. In fact, Oedipus himself said, “…it cannot be that having such a clue I should refuse to solve the mystery of my parentage” (Sophocles 38). With this statement, Oedipus expresses his feelings by saying how he couldn’t simply stop pursuing the truth given the clues that had presented themselves. After all, since hearing Tiresias’ accusation, “…how [could he] help dreading [his] mother’s bed” (Sophocles 35). Overall, I agree with Katie’s opinion that Oedipus has virtually no choice when it comes to letting unknown ills lie or choosing to investigate the truth, since so much of the truth had already been uncovered. Oedipus and Jocasta have essentially past the point of no return; it is impossible to claim ignorance now that such information has been exposed to them.

  11. At the point in the play when Jocasta tells Oedipus not to seek the truth (Sophocles 38), the two have already discovered the reality of their situation. As Jenna mentioned above with Tiresias’ statement, the truth will eventually come out anyways. Neither Oedipus nor Jocasta should leave the situation alone since they have already gathered plenty of evidence confirming Oedipus to be Laius’ murderer, “Me miserable! It seems I have but now proffered myself to a tremendous curse not knowing!” (Sophocles 27). This comment made by Oedipus, clearly shows his awareness of his acts, yet he continues to ask detailed questions, in hopes that he will be proved innocent. I also agree with Katie Teng who notes that Oedipus’ curiosity overpowers Jocasta’s desire to avoid the truth. Although both Oedipus and Jocasta want to believe they have escaped the oracle’s predictions, they have already uncovered their overlapping prophecies. The truth is always worth knowing. In this particular case, there are things Oedipus must learn that will be extremely difficult to fathom, however it will benefit his country. In the beginning Creon states, “Exile or recompense of death for death; since ‘tis this blood makes winter to the city.” It is therefore shown that in order to save the citizens of Thebes from the plague, the murder must be solved. This is essentially why it is important they discover Oedipus’ lineage and the entire truth.

  12. The truth is a powerful thing, one that can either mend or destroy a situation. In Oedipus’ case I believe that they should not let sleeping ills lie. Speaking the truth has the potential to save all of the subjects of Thebes, yet Jocasta fights so passionately to suffocate reality. I wholeheartedly agree with Sultana17 who stated, “Sleeping ills should be let lie for sometimes ignorance is bliss but not when the lives of an entire city depend on the truth,” (Sultana17). In many situations it is ideal for the truth to remain under wraps, though Thebes will only be freed of their pestilence if Oedipus is informed of the gruesome truth regarding his situation. Jocasta is petrified by the truth and yearns for the subject to be dropped from conversation. She insists this by saying to Oedipus, “Let none of these predictions any more weigh on your mind,” (Sophocles 35). However, as Jocasta shuns away from the truth, Oedipus craves it, pleading for information. While speaking with the Old Man of his past Oedipus cries, “How so, old man? In Heaven’s name tell me!” (Sophocles 36). In the end Oedipus’ pleads outweigh Jocasta’s hope for ignorance, which is the proper outcome in this situation. By not allowing sleeping ills to lie, Oedipus rids Thebes of their misery and ends a life filled with incest and bloodshed.

  13. Jocasta is being ignorant in expecting Oedipus to stop looking to understand the secrets of his past. I am in full accordance with Jenna. There is no way one can expect another to stop the search that has been driving their decisions for a while. Jocasta says “But I beseech you hearken! Do not do it!” (Sophocles 38). I understand why she is pushing so hard for Oedipus to stop looking for the truth because she has already realized it. However Oedipus’ response is more then reasonable “I will not hearken- not to know the whole.” (Sophocles 39) Later on, when the whole truth was revealed Oedipus gauged his eyes out. He tells the senator “ What was there left for sight?…. Lead me to exile straight; lead me, O friends, the worst of murderers, of mortals most accurst, yea and to Gods chief object of their hate.” (Sophocles 48) Jocasta was self-serving when she pleaded Oedipus not continue his search for the truth. Though her motives were wrong the truth was, it would have been better for Oedipus not to know. He would not been fearing his life on earth and the world after. He can never escape this anymore. Ignorance is bliss.

  14. I think that this truth is much too personal to be left alone. This truth about Oedipus’ childhood and parentage is something that I believe should be know to Oedipus. Agreeing with Jenna and Katie, Jocasta is being very selfish by trying to convince Oedipus to not seek out the truth. If he does find out and word spreads that she is his mother and wife then her status will fall from queen to nothing, and she doesn’t want that. When she says “Nay, never mind-never remember it- ‘Twas idly spoken” (Sophocles 38) she already knows/has figured out that Oediopus is her son from the stories the messenger has told them. Oedipus has the right to know his parentage as every other person does, it’s one of those things that you should know in your life. Plus his curiosity has made it so far in his search for his parentage “Nay, it cannot be that having such a clue I should refuse to solve the mystery of my parentage!” (Sophocles 38). He was brought so far and shown so many clues as to who his parents were, therefore he has the right and the motive to figure out his parentage.

  15. The main conflict of Oedipus pursuing the truth is really a case of the good of the one versus the good of the many. The best interest in this case for Oedipus is to not pursue the truth, as difficult as it may be. As Tiresias said: “I will not bring remorse upon myself and upon you. Why do you search these matters?” (Sophocles 13) Nothing good can come from Oedipus learning the truth; it is better for him to let the issue be than to pursue it. Instead, Oedipus seeks the truth for his own personal gain, selfishly. However, when considering the good of the many, I concur with Sultana: it is vital that Oedipus seeks the truth as quickly as possible, regardless of his own well-being. As Creon said “The man (Laius) is dead; and now we are clearly bidden to account certain his murderers” (Sophocles 4) Oedipus has brought misfortune upon his kingdom and only by finding the truth can the misfortune of the city be negated. In this case, the good of the many outweighs the good of the one: it is important that Oedipus seek the truth to solve Laius’ murder, but not for his own satisfaction.

  16. In Oedipus Rex, Jocasta and Oedipus have a very secretive marriage, keeping large events that have occurred in the lives in the dark. As things start to unravel the mystery of who was the murderer of Laius, I believe these ills are unable to lay at rest, as all the information that has been revealed is all worth knowing by the couple, as if they stopped at any certain point of not knowing, the city of Thebes would perish, and Oedipus would be at fault. Also, too many questions would be pondering over head between the couple of what if, but Oedipus is able to accept the oncoming knowledge of his heritage when he says, “Nay it cannot be/ That having such a clue I should refuse/ To solve the mystery of my parentage!” (Sophocles, 38). I do agree with KatieC, as Jocasta is unable to accept this knowledge of marrying her son she long ago left to die, and she speaks fast and uncertainly when she says, “Don’t seek it! I am sick, and that’s enough!” (Sophocles, 38). She says this to Oedipus just as he is about to find out the truth, but at this point in time I believe she knows the truth, but is not able to approach the faults that have occurred. Although this information and events are upsetting, it is better for Oedipus and Jocasta to know the truth than to be living a lie.

    Susie Wassill, Period 4

  17. In the case of Jocasta and Oedipus I think it would have been better for them to let sleeping ills lie. For their sake it was not worth knowing that they are son and mother, and married. They took the truth to such extremities that Jocasta hung herself “There we beheld his wife hanging, entwined in a twined noose” (Sophocles 45), and Oedipus stabbed out his eyes. Oedipus should have listened to Jocasta and not sought the truth out any further when she said “but I beseech you, hearken! Do not do it! I mean well; and I tell you for the best!” (Sophocles 38). Even the Old Man, who held the answer to the mystery, struggled to tell Oedipus the truth, but Oedipus persisted leaving the Old Man no choice. Although it would have been better for Jocasta and Oedipus to have let sleeping ills lie, if they never found out the truth Thebes would still be in chaos “in order to save the citizens of Thebes from the plague, the murder must be solved. This is essentially why it is important they discover Oedipus’ lineage and the entire truth” (Sukkau). When only taking Jocasta and Oedipus into consideration it was not worth knowing that Oedipus murdered his father and married his mother only because it led Jocasta to kill herself, and Oedipus to gouge out his eyes. However, we know that it was necessary for the whole truth to come out for the sake of the people in Thebes, so the plague would be gone once the murderer was revealed and banished from the city. Although the truth led to the tragic end of Jocasta and the suffering of Oedipus, how could one compare the worth of two lives to the worth of an entire city.

  18. There are things in life that are not worth knowing, but for Oedipus and Jocasta, most of the truth has already been laid out in front of them. Yes, the matter may be from 15 years ago, but such important factors must not be ignored. It seems that Jocasta is being ignorant in the sense that she expects Oedipus to forget about something as significant as this — which has everything to do with his life as a king and his very own conscience/virtue. It is unsure to me whether or not Jocasta had already known about the ugly truth behind this, especially when she exclaims, “For Heaven’s sake, if you care for your own life, don’t seek it!” (Sophocles 38). Maybe she had already known at the time that once Oedipus had found out about his past, he would be unable to survive in the world, as king. Regardless of what her true intensions were, I would argue that she made the wrong choice in trying to ‘Let Sleeping Ills Lie’.

  19. didn’t read part of you are one of first ones you still have to comment on last posts so going to add to my point with a point form class—-> I agree with Jenna when she states “When Jocasta tells Oedipus not to seek out more information about his parentage it is a very impractical demand” (jennaleask). When you are given hints that your life may have possibly been a lie, you can’t do much else than seek for the truth. Jocasta’s hopes of Oedipus listening to her are unlikely because a man in search for the truth cannot stop half way and be left to always wonder.

  20. Oedipus should seek out the sleeping ills despite the pleads to stop from Jocasta. Oedipus proclaimed to his country that ” ’tis not for my neighbours’ sake, but mine, I shall dispel this plague-spot; for the man, Whoever it may be, who murdered him, Lightly might hanker to serve me the same.” (Sophocles 6). Oedipus told his country that it is his job to save their country from illness and destruction and no matter who the murderer may be, justice must be served. Jocasta wishes to remain blissfully ignorant to their situation but as Chloe mentioned above “The two have already discovered the reality of their situation.”. The truth Oedipus seeks can save the lives of everyone he rules over but having the truth remain a mystery both Oedipus and Jocastas lives would change drastically knowing Jocasta is likely to be both a wife and mother to Oedipus, “the woman from whose womb he came, both son and spouse” (Sophocles 17). It may be emotionally beneficial for Oedipus and Jocasta to remain unaware of their sleeping ills but as a leader of a country it is Oedipus’ duty to do everything he can to save his country. For every minute he chooses to ignore his fait his people suffer. Oedipus must stay true to his word and bring Laius’ murderer to rest.

  21. Oedipus’ story remind me of the saying “curiosity killed the cat.” It’s hard to not be curious at times and want to know the full truth about your situation, but when it comes right down to it, it’s not always a good idea to seek the truth. Hannah said that “Truth is knowledge and knowledge is power;” but I disagree with that, especially in this case because as we can see, knowing the truth did no good for the characters in Oedipus Rex. Maybe Oedipus’ whole story could have been prevented if one person at the very beginning had either done what they were told or just told the truth. It’s because neither of those things happened that everything else came to pass, and once everything had happened already they should have just dropped the subject entirely. When Jocasta says “For Heaven’s sake, if you care for your own life, Don’t seek it!” (Sophocles 38) she has the right idea. It will do no good at that point to know the whole truth, and she understands that knowledge can be nothing but their downfall now. Oedipus is to headstrong to let something like this drop though, and he says to Jocasta, “Nay, it cannot be That having such a clue I should refuse To solve the mystery of my parentage!” but this need to seek the truth is what causes his downfall. If he had just let it be and not felt that curiosity towards what was true, he would still be married to Jocasta, have his eye sight etc. The truth is a good thing to know, at the very beginning. Trying to let the truth out after the fact doesn’t often lead to anything but suffering, which is why it is better to let the past be in the past, and just live in the present.

  22. As I was reading the other posts, I see that most of the people are saying that truths need to be revealed. Mariausman talks about how, “’Truth’ is really complicated. There are times when we think things are better off as they are and times we feel the truth should be revealed.” I agree with this statement completely because with ‘truth’ there isn’t a black and white; there’s a grey. The reason most people lie is to cover up something that shouldn’t have happened in the first place. Lies make things ‘disappear’, and at least one person is happy in the situation instead of everyone being unhappy and knowing the truth.
    In Oedipus Rex, the big lie that’s being hidden is that Oedipus killed his own father and his wife is actually his mother. The catch is that every character in the play except Oedipus believes that the truth doesn’t need to be revealed. An example of this is when Tiresias expresses “How terrible it is to know, where no good comes of knowing!” (Sophocles 12). Knowing the truth doesn’t do any good for anyone in this situation. For the past 15 years Thebes has been doing fine, and everyone has been happy. There have recently been problems which need to be fixed, and without a King and Queen of Thebes there will be even more problems. The way I see it is that the truth is well and good, but when it makes the situation worse and not better; why risk it? Jocasta and the Senator have the right mind, for the Senator says, “to leave this where it lies.” (Sophocles 25). In all of his intellect he knows the truth is going to ruin everything good that has happened to Thebes, which isn’t good for the people of Thebes or Oedipus and Jocasta respectively.

  23. Facts do not go away simply because they are ignored. All truths eventually come out, and agreeing with Hannah, “Sleeping ills should never let lie as it only increases the severity of the consequences” (Hannah). The longer the truth about Oedipus and his past is kept a secret, the more severe the reactions and consequences are going to be. Although Tiresias is simply trying to look out for his friend, and argues, “Well, it will come, keep silence as I may” (Sophocles 13), he should consider the big picture, and think about what will be best in the long run for everyone, including the city of Thebes. If Tiresias had decided to reveal the truth, rather than keep it hidden for fifteen years, Jocasta would have known her son was alive, and would not have married Oedipus, the plague over Thebes would be no more, and Oedipus would only have to deal with the shame of killing his own father. Oedipus has every right to wonder and seek information about his past. He says “Nay, it cannot be that having such clue I should refuse to solve the mystery of my parentage!” (Sophocles 38). Granted, if Oedipus had foreseen what he was going to find out, he may have let it lie, the truth was going to come out eventually, and in the long run, Oedipus was going to have to deal with it. It is better for the people of Thebes that the truth is dealt with sooner rather than later.

  24. As husband and wife, whom have nurtured children of their own, it would be best to let sleeping ills lie; however, as king and queen, whom are depended upon to fix the country, they must consider the horrid facts they have encountered. Jocasta is not strong enough, nor willing enough to dig any deeper for the truth. She begs the same from Odeipus when she says to him, “Let none of these predictions any more weigh on your mind,” (Sophocles 35). Nevertheless, as a loyal and quick-thinking leader, Oedipus must find out the truth for his people, regardless of the consequenses. Cassi made an excellent point when she said “I think it is best for the truth to come out as soon as possible because eventually, it always does” (cassistarc). This is very true. Knowing half the story would only create a doubtful life for Oedipus and Jocasta that they would always question. The wisest and most insightful character, Tiresias, insists that they should let sleeping ills lie. Tiresias says to Oedipus, “Well, it will come, keep silence as it may” (Sophocles 13). By Oedipus ignoring Tiresias, he saves his people from the pestilence. Therefore, maybe Tiresias should have come forward with that he knew. It would have been much easier, and perhaps Oedipus could have chosen whether he wanted to tell Jocasta or not, which would prevent a death. Everything that is living will wake up eventually.

  25. Curiosity and the pursuit of knowledge should never be considered a flaw. In this specific case of the book, knowing the truth caused Oedipus and Jocasta extraordinary grief, however it is near impossible to know what truths would go better unknown. Without the pursuit of knowledge, humans would not survive as a species. Knowledge of a situation is almost always advantageous, and the negative effects of the truth can hardly be predicted. In the specific case of Jocasta and Oedipus, their recognition of the situation caused unrelenting despair, but ultimately did good for the city of Thebes. By realizing what he had done and exiling himself, Oedipus had lifted the curse from the city of Thebes. Since the motive for his inquisitions was to lift this curse, Oedipus continued to search for answers despite the warnings given to him about the pain that he would experience personally. He was even told by Tiresias “The man you have been seeking…he is here…and from the woman whose womb he came both son and spouse”(Socrates 17). Regardless, he continues to seek the truth. He realizes the importance of knowing it for the city, and replies to Jocasta’s pleas to not purse it “I will not hearken, not to know the whole”(Socrates 38). Therefore, seeking the home truth was good for Oedipus as a leader, but destroyed him as a person. For this reason, I agree with mariusman. If the truth had been revealed earlier, it would have been much less painful as he could have avoided marrying Jocasta altogether. In addition if it had been revealed later, the curse would continue to ravage Thebes and the fates of Oedipus and Jocasta would have been the same. The truth should not be restrained, but rather be revealed as early as possible to minimize damage and allow people to make clear, informed decisions. The home truth is an important thing in everyones life, and we should all be less hesitant to hear it.

  26. As the old line goes; “the truth will set you free,” so to can be seen in Oedipus. Chained down by the truth Jocasta and Oedipus both take dramatically different paths in the search for honesty. Jocasta evolves throughout the book; she handles the truth in three stages. First she acknowledges the truth, then she does everything in her power to deny it, and finally she accepts it and in doing so takes her own life. Her acceptance can be seen in the lines; “ Woe, woe, unhappy! This is all I have to say to thee, and no word more, for ever” (Sophocles 38) In these lines she finally accepts the reality of her situation and can no longer take it. In reference to Katie’s post I conquer, as I too believe that Jocasta could not handle the truth and therefore in her case the truth may not have been worth searching for. As for Oedipus the truth can be argued as fate. Before even exiting his wife/mother’s whom he was for-told to kill his own father. He even admits this by saying, “ I deem myself the child of Fortune! I shall not be ashamed of her…” (Sophocles 39). He however unlike Jocasta willingly chases the truth, unwilling to leave it lie. In Oedipus’s case although the truth may have been his downfall, he wouldn’t allow it to be any other way.

  27. Some lies should not be uncovered. Have you ever heard the saying ignorance is bliss? The saying is quite true. I disagree with Allisonfehrman, in respects that truth should always be uncovered (especially in this situation). She says that “Jocasta tries to suffocate reality” (allisonfehrman), but I say some truths are just not worth knowing, because knowing things can affect your decision making, which affects not only the course of history but people around you and what they will do with their lives, for example Jocasta’s last line: “Woe, woe, unhappy! This is all I have to say to thee, and no word more, for ever!” (Sophocles 38). With knowledge comes great responsibility, what you do with the information given to you is very important. What if Oedipus and Jocasta let sleeping ills lie? How would have things turned out? (for one thing there would be no tragedy). Oedipus declares that he needs the truth, while Jocasta wants to leave whats in the dirt, buried. The quest for truth and knowledge is important and a valid point at that, but how far is too far? Many times during the play (from soothsayers to shepherds) people warn Oedipus, nay they beg him! Pleading, and even lying in trying not to reveal this gruesome secret for example when the Old man says: “He says he knows not what! He is all astray!” (Sophocles 41), he ( the shepherd) is trying to get out of being the bearer of the ultimate bad news, and to save Oedipus’s honour.

  28. Hannah makes a very considerable remark when she says that there is no point in prolonging the exposure of the truth when it will happen eventually anyway. Do I agree? No. I strongly believe that there are some truths that do nothing but cause harm and grief to those who discover them. Oedipus was a great King, revered as courageous and wise. Jocosta, while being his mother, was contented. Why cause them to harm or kill themselves? I think they should let ill things sleep if they are no longer relevant to their lives in the sense that they will only cause further damage. Ignorance can be key if the knowledge being sought is no longer important. Furthermore, both mauriusman and Hannah stated that, if the truth had been revealed earlier, the magnitude of the consequences would have been far less. In assuming that the events prior to the play cannot be changed, it is simply better to say that knowledge is all but suitable. Tiresias being “a seer next Phoebus, king with king” (Sophocles 11), stated that, “How terrible it is to know, where no good comes of knowing!” (Sophocles 12). From the mouth of the all-wise seer, is it not here clearly stated that there is no good to come from the revealing of the truth? By uncovering the truth, Thebes loses its great King and Queen, their daughters are orphaned, and the pestilence will no doubt continue. Great! Oedipus was right when he said, “My measure of ills – fills my measure of woe; author was none, but I…” (Sophocles 47). I believe Sophocles wrote this as an ironic statement suggesting that Oedipus brought this horrible fate upon himself and his family by uncovering the truth, and not by committing the deeds themselves.

  29. Although some may argue that ignorance is bliss, and what one doesn’t know cannot hurt them, I believe –and therefore am disagreeing with Colleen’s point, that in regards to Oedipus’ parentage, it is to the benefit of not only himself, but to his city’s people to know the truth. A great leader, as he has proven himself to be, is someone who cares for the people they have power over, and in ignoring the truth about his past, he would be doing the exact opposite. In unveiling the truth, Oedipus can now claim responsibility for the city’s pain and suffering and can help them move forward. Jocasta’s ignorance and selfishness is portrayed through her begging for Oedipus to leave it be, and forget about it. “Why ask who ‘twas he spoke of? Nay, never mind—never remember it– ‘Twas idly spoken!” (Sophocles 38). During this time, Jocasta has realised that the prophecy is true, and for her own sake– for if the truth was revealed, she would lose everything, begs Oedipus to forget the whole thing, and move on. It is also then made clear, that Oedipus’ curiosity about his past is much more overpowering than his wife’s wishes. “Nay, it cannot be that having such a clue I should refuse to solve the mystery of my parentage!” (Sophocles 38). I believe that Oedipus made the right decision, in letting none of the truth be hidden from him, or his people.

  30. During a time of great despair in the city of Thebes truths about Laius’ murder are finally revealed. I believe that it is not only necessary but more so inevitable that Oedipus and Jocasta learn the whole truth in order to restore balance in the kingdom. As Jenna mentioned, Tiresias knew that the truth would come out in time even if he did not provoke it. Katie (katerc4) brings up a very good point about Oedipus and Jocasta’s distant relationship; they have already been letting sleeping ills lie for the past 15 years, never questioning the series of events that brought them together. It seems natural that they are finally being forced to face the facts. Still Jocasta tries desperately to hold onto her ignorance. In order to convince herself of the importance of the witness’ original account of the murder she states “…that was the word, quite plainly! And now he cannot blot it out again” (Sophocles 30). Even after she acknowledges the truth she cannot face it and turns to suicide instead. Contrarily, Oedipus accepts the fact that there is a chance he is Laius’ murder early on. He hopes to be proved wrong but he is no longer reluctant to hear what the messengers have to tell him. Oedipus admits that he is afraid to listen to the old man’s story “But I must hear – no less” (Sophocles 41). Often, the truth may not be something we want to hear but in the end it something we need to hear.

  31. Sleeping ills are not meant to be left alone and forgotten. It is evident from the beginning of the play that Oedipus’ true identity must be revealed, as it is the only way to redeem Laius’ murder and to lift the suffering that the city people endure.
    The truth alone has the power to please the Gods, but Oedipus and Jocasta must first embrace that while the truth is not of any benefit to them, it must be revealed for the benefit of Thebes.
    When Tiresias is forced to accuse Oedipus as Laius’ murderer, he phrases the difficulty of the situation perfectly: “Alas! How terrible it is to know, / Where not good comes of knowing!” (Sophocles 12). From this quote, we come to understand why Jocasta so desperately begs to keep the sleeping ill hidden.
    I have to agree with Hanna when she says that “Truth is knowledge and knowledge is power” but not in that the power is Oedipus’. The truth does not make Oedipus any more powerful than he is; it only gives him the power to set everything right.
    Once again, Tiresias shows meaning within his words: “I am / Free! for I have in me the strength of truth” (Sophocles 13). Oedipus and Jocasta may find the truth difficult to embrace, but the city of Thebes is suffering, and the power of the truth is hard to draw on if it lays forgotten.

  32. For the city of Thebes the truth could free the people from the wrath of the terrible plague yet, for the characters Oedipus and Jocasta no good will come from the truth. If it is from Oedipus and Jocasta’s perspective that we are to answer this question, there is no doubt that they should protect themselves from the terrible consequences of the truth being known. As the wise Tiresias stated, “Alas! How terrible it is to know, Where no good comes of knowing! Of course these matters I was full well aware, but let them slip me …” (Sophocles 12). This highly regarded man knew that no good would come of knowing the truth. Laius had already been dead for years and the unfairness of the events that have unfolded were not caused by the conscience decisions of Jocasta and Oedipus. As well, their children should not have to live with the legacy of incest and shame. As Oedipus himself sates, “To years of marriage, who—ah, who will be The man to abide the hazard of disgrace Such as must be the bane, both of my sons, And you as well?” (Sophocles 52). Thus, for their children’s sake the truth should be left alone. Even though I seem to be disagreeing with all those that I have read, including Hannah’s post which stated that, “they are only prolonging what is to come” I believe that this is exactly what is best for them. The whole family could have many happy years before the truth ever came out and the consequences would not be any different in the future.
    Alana( Period 2)

  33. At this point in the play, Oedipus and Jocasta have already learned too much of the truth to turn back. Oedipus has been intent on finding the truth behind Laius’ murder, and as the old idiom goes “curiosity killed the cat”. Although I agree with John’s point that “Without the pursuit of knowledge, humans would not survive as a species”, it would have been in Oedipus’ best interest to let the truth lie and for him to remain ignorant to the facts. The truth about Jocasta and Oedipus being mother and son has caused much grief for them and if the truth had not come out for some time, maybe the troubles in Thebes could have been solved by Oedipus. I believe that Oedipus is a good leader as I stated in my previous post, and if he had taken more time to think things through he could have solved the situation in Thebes. As the truth has already been mostly brought to light, it is selfish of Jocasta to try to stop Oedipus from learning more. When she says “Why ask who ‘twas he spoke of? Nay, never mind—never remember it– ‘Twas idly spoken!” (Sophocles 38) we know that she is aware of the truth, yet she wishes Oedipus not inquire more. Before anything had been revealed letting sleeping ills lie would have been the best choice, but now that truths have come to light the whole truth should be revealed.

  34. Jocasta says, “Woe, woe, unhappy! This is all I have To say to thee, and no word more, for ever!” (Sophocles 38). When Jocasta says this she literally means it. She means that now that she has discovered what happened in the past, she cannot live with herself anymore. Jocasta knows that she has bared children with Oedipus and he has killed his father. This pain is too much to bare. The state of Thebes has been in great shape for fifteen years, and the state has had no problems and nothing to worry about. If the state wasn’t crumbling now no one would know about these lies and secrets, which are just being revealed. As Oedipus says “Woe! Woe! It is all plain, indeed! O light, This be the last time I shall gaze on thee…” (Sophocles 42). This statement is close to what Jocasta said earlier. Except instead of saying that she will not say anything ever again, he states he will never see again. In addition he says this after he finds puts the puzzle pieces together, and figures out the truth. These secrets are about the people who are suppose to be responsible for the state of Thebes. They should not let sleeping ills lie because if the rulers of a state has secrets as such, they may not be fit to rule. It is better to get everything out in the open for them as rulers of a state.

  35. Even though the truth has already started to come out; I concur with tshnoble that “a person can always choose whether or not they are willing to hear the truth.” (tshnoble).Unlike Jocasta who refuses to discover the truth any further by saying; “For Heaven’s sake, if you care for your own life, don’t seek it!” (Sophocles 38), Oedipus chooses to pursue the truth about his childhood and parentage. Instead of heeding Jocasta’s and Tiresias’s warnings; Oedipus believes that through seeking the truth he may be able to benefit the city and himself. In the beginning, Tiresias states that, “Alas! How terrible it is to know, where no good comes of knowing!” (Sophocles 12), clearly telling Oedipus that seeking out the truth will bring nothing but despair to him, and that it’s better not knowing. Afterwards Jocasta warns Oedipus several times to not pursue the truth. She says, “ But I beseech you, hearken! Do not do it!” (Sophocles 12) telling Oedipus that it’s better to not look for the truth. She also says, “ I mean well; and I tell you for the best!”(Sophocles 12) which basically rewords what Tiresias said before, it is better not to see the truth because it will only hurt you in the end. Therefore, seeking the truth is not always what is best because in the end it leads to pain and suffering for Oedipus since Jocasta commits suicide by hanging herself, and he blinds himself because he has discovered the truth and no longer wants to see it. This all could have been avoided if he left the sleeping ills to lie.

  36. Throughout the play various facts are constantly revealed portraying the possible guilt of Oedipus; once such an abundant amount of information has been revealed I think it is impossible to let ‘sleeping ills lie’. In the end, the truth always finds a way to reveal itself as Tiresias announces in the play, “Well, it will come, keep silence as I may” (Sophocles 13). I admire Oedipus’ strength and courage within the play; he is determined to unravel the details of the situation even though he knows it may not be to his advantage. I strongly agree with Zach’s point of view about curiosity; if I were to be placed in Oedipus’ shoes, the unknown would would haunt me forever. I respect that Oedipus can make the harder decision, unlike Jocasta. Throughout the play she is constantly ignorant and disrespectful of the situation and the gods, an example of this is when she says: “Why ask who ‘twas he spoke of? Nay, never mind—never remember it– ‘Twas idly spoken!” (Sophocles 38). Here she discovers the real truth of the situation, however, she is too cowardice and ashamed to admit her wrongs. Trouble should never be sought, however, once so many facts are unveiled and conflicts arise, it is best for the truth to be set free.

  37. Well i Believe Zach H nailed it by refering the question to the old saying “curiosity killed the cat”. Due to Oedipus and Jocasta`s curiosity to figure out who killed Laius they pretty much dug themself a huge hole and eventually ended up ruining Oedipus. They should have left it alone because it was over 15 years ago, and even though the plague was ruining their peoples health it would not have effected himself, and even if that sounds selfish i would have left the city and just went and lived a happy life, just running away from my problems. “Seek this, you seek my death or exile!” (Sophocles 24) this is a direct quote from Oedipus when talking to the Senator and it is ironic because it is actally Oedipus seeking the truth and he is the one that eventually ruined himself. Oedipus had many warnings from everyone to let it be and he did not listen, “Even you might trust what the Gods answers, now.” (Sophocles 51) Creon tells Oedipus this and it comes off as a little sarcasim, because even Creon understand that Oedipus Should have left it alone. So overall i think Oedipus should have let everything work itself out and maybe even leave if things got worse and because he got to deep in his own issues Oedipus ended up screwing himself over.

  38. I agree with Cassi when she says that it is sometimes beneficial to let sleeping ills lie. Sometime the truth can make someone too vulnerable and can have bad effects on them. For Jocasta and Oedipus it would have been better for them if they had not seeked truth, especially when Jocasta realized that Oedipus was her son. She tells him “For Heaven’s sake, if you care for your own life, Don’t seek it! I am sick, and that’s enough!” (Sophocles 38). She begs him to let the sleeping ills lie. Then when he refuses, she goes and kills herself. However, I also agree with Oedipus decision to seek out the answer to who killed Laius. I agree with him because in the beginning Creon tells Oedipus, “The man is dead; and now, we are clearly bidden To bring to account certain his murderers” (Sophocles 4). Creon says that in order for the city to be restored from the plague they must find the murderer. Even though Oedipus is trying to find out if he killed Laius, he is also doing this for the people of Thebes. I agree that sometimes it is better to let sleeping ills lie but I also agree with Oedipus decision to find out who the killer is to help the city.
    Charlie Izaguirre

  39. Although there are some things in life that are better left unrevealed, it must be left alone to a certain extent. In Oedipus’ case, he must make a decision as to whether or not the truth is unveiled. Jocasta strongly advises him to leave the truth be: “For Heaven’s sake, if you care for your own life, / Don’t seek it! I am sick, and that’s enough!” (Sophocles 38). She has already discovered the truth of his situation for herself and knows that it is best for Oedipus not to believe the messenger. If I were Oedipus, I would never want to realize that I was the murderer of my own father and that I took his place as king of Thebes and husband of Jocasta. But if this realization was necessary for me to save the lives of hundreds of people, rather than being selfish by leaving the whole truth undiscovered for my own sake, I feel that it must be uncovered for the sake of the people. “Even though he [the murderer] is afraid… I bid that man shew the whole truth to me” (Sophocles 9). Though uncovering these “sleeping ills” may cause a reversal of fortune or peripeteia, he knows that, as Maeghan said, “it is Oedipus’ duty to do everything he can to save his country” (maeghangood). As a good king, he must sacrifice his fortune to find the murderer of Laius and to restore Thebes back to its original state.

  40. Although it was inevitable for the truth to eventually become apparent, Oedipus and Jocasta would have been better off had it been kept hidden. In Oedipus Rex, ignorance is more than bliss; it is the difference between life and death for Jocasta, and blindness and vision for Oedipus. If they had remained ignorant to the truth about their relationship, they could have lived happily ever after: “Wretch, what thou art O might’st thou never know!” (Sophocles 38). Jocasta’s intentions were in the best, most rational interest of herself and her husband, and certainly not for the people of Thebes. On the other hand, reality must be realized for the greater good of the kingdom. The people who are dying and suffering bring about the situation. As Alison mentioned, Oedipus’ recognition benefits Thebes as a whole, even though it is clear he only seeks the truth for self-gain. Once Tiresias plants the notion in Oedipus’ head he gets greedy for more information and perhaps does not realize how the knowledge will affect him or his people: “Venging this country and the God together./ Why, ‘tis not for my neighbours’ sake, but mine,/ I shall dispel this plague-spot…I benefit myself in aiding him” (Sophocles 6). In the end, the Gods will not rest and leave the Kingdom in peace until the truth is awakened and justice is served.

  41. Because Oedipus must find the murderer of Laius in order to free the villagers of the plague, Oedipus learns information that he should have never known about himself and his prophecy. The truth begins to slowly unravel, making Oedipus and Jocasta hungry to learn if their prophecies are true. At this point, both Oedipus and Jocasta do not know enough about this murder for there to be any harm. Alana Fraser believes that they should continue to stay ignorant, like they have for the past fifteen years. Although practical for Oedipus and Jocasta, who will not be affected by the plague, this theory is flawed because the entire town will suffer. Instead of doing as Alana suggests, they continue to find out more about their prophecies and the murder of Laius. As they begin to approach the truth, Oedipus believes that he should not “refuse to solve the mystery of [his] parentage” (Sophocles 38). Jocasta tells him, “if you care for your own life, don’t seek it” (Sophocles 38), which shows that they have completely different viewpoints. In the end, Jocasta chooses to evade the truth and commits suicide while Oedipus learns everything, which causes him to go blind and exile himself. Although the ending is tragic, Oedipus was right to not let sleeping ills lie because his sacrifice is worth the lives of the Thebians.
    Joe Cappelletti Period 2 Section 5

  42. As Katrina and Hannah previously noted, all truths eventually come out (especially, in the case of Jocasta and Oedipus, truths of importance and magnitude), and leaving them unsaid only increases the severity of the consequences. If we then examine Jocasta’s reaction to realizing the truth and apply this thought, we can conclude that her failure to transmit her own knowledge to Oedipus does indeed negatively amplify his subsequent response to the truth. It is nonsensical to think that the two would just let sleeping ills lie; the solution to Thebes’ issues lies in the knowledge of Laius’ death. It is therefore inevitable that ill truths be brought to attention; the issue is not whether Oedipus and Jocasta should or should not let sleeping ills lie, it is in Jocasta’s response to the truth. As I said previously, Jocasta increases the negative severity in Oedipus’ subsequent response by keeping the truth from him. She says, “…if you care for your own life, don’t seek it [the truth]!” (Sophocles 38). This quotation captures Jocasta’s adamancy. We can speculate that she prolongs Oedipus’ ignorance and thus builds his anxiety, which could have been avoided, had she told him the truth upon her own realization. Oedipus is left alone to deal with realization of the truth after Jocasta commits suicide and the result is calamitous: “…snatching from her dress gold pins wherewith she was adorned, he lifted them, and smote the nerves of his own eyeballs…” (Sophocles 45). Jocasta’s inability to produce the truth and commitment of suicide weigh heavily on Oedipus.

  43. Even though the truth about Oedipus and Jocasta’s relationship is quite disturbing, the truth must be known. They cannot let the sleeping ills lie, not any longer than they already have. I agree with Morgan’s point of view about how the truth always ends up being revealed. They had fifteen years of marriage and had two children, but the truth is finally surfacing. The truth is always hard to hear; in this situation Jocasta cannot handle the truth and does not even want to talk about it. Jocasta says to Oedipus, “For Heaven’s sake, if care for your own life, Don’t seek it! I am sick, and that’s enough” (Sophocles 38). Jocasta is trying to protect Oedipus from the truth, because she finds the truth so unbearable. She wishes it wasn’t truth and she is trying to protect Oedipus by getting him to stop talking about it. Oedipus’ curiosity causes him to find the truth about where he came from. Oedipus says “Woe! woe! It is all plain, indeed! O, Light, This be the last time I shall gaze on thee” (Sophocles 42), Oedipus is shocked at the truth and says that he can not lay his eyes on Jocasta again. This is a sad and weird situation, but it is better to find out now than to go the rest of your life married to your mother. They both need to know the truth, its just unfortunate it caused Jocasta’s death.

  44. “Some things are better left unknown”, but when it comes to the situation with Jocasta and Oedipus this isn’t the case. Jocasta, more so than Oedipus, is in denial of the situation saying “Don’t seek it. I am sick, and that’s enough” (Sophocles 38). Living in denial means that Jocasta isn’t really living in reality, but she is living with a false perception of reality. This is especially bad because not only is Jocasta aware that Oedipus is her son but not pursuing the truth is leaving the people of Thebes in crisis. The curse brought by Oedipus unknowingly murdering Laius will go unchanged if the truth isn’t revealed. Like Leon said,it really is up to Oedipus to solve the crisis by any mean necessary, quoting himself “If with my knowledge he should become an inmate of my dwelling, that I may suffer all that I invoked on these just now” (Sophocles 10). That being said the same view might not necessarily be shared by the people who are in the situation because they can also argue that “What you don’t know won’t hurt you”, even if this is a more selfish point of view.

  45. I mostly agree with madisonnoelle’s response. Truths emerged that ruined Oedipus’ life. He was much happier before he knew everything so why was it necessary for him to learn the truth? I believe that sometimes, like in Oedipus’ case, not knowing everything is a good thing. Tiresias says, “I will not bring remorse upon myself and upon you.” (Sophocles 13). He understands that the truth can be very painful so it is not always worth knowing. He tries to explain this to Oedipus to save him from harm but Oedipus doesn’t listen. It wasn’t really necessary for him to know he was in fact married to his mother. The discovery of that truth only caused hurt. It ruined Oedipus’ life and killed Jocasta but it didn’t hurt anyone when it was unknown. Furthermore, the truth only really affected them, they caused it and they didn’t mean to hurt anyone when they did. The other truth that Oedipus learned is that he killed his father. I believe that he fair for him to know this truth. Even though he didn’t know that he was killing his father and the king he still knew he was killing someone. In taking their life from them he knew he was hurting not only that person but also many others who were close to them. This act was deliberately meant to hurt and it affects many so the truth should be known. Near the end of the play the chorus says “O sorrow, lamentable for eyes to see! Sorest of all past ills encountering me!” (Sophocles 46). The truths have caused much pain and little or no good so overall I believe that for Oedipus it would have been far better to let ills lie.

  46. Though it would be much easier for Oedipus to have let sleeping ills lie, I agree with Hannah when she stated that “if knowledge is known then let it be heard by all that it involves”. Though Oedipus was forewarned many times, for example by Tiresias who said “Well, it will come, keep silence as I may” (Sophocles 13) and also by his wife/mother who states “Nay, never mind – never remember it – T’was idly spoken!” (Sophocles 38) he continued asking questions on his search for the truth. Everyone has the right to know the truth. Also I think that Oedipus started off his search with all the right intentions – to help his city, and little by little truths about his own past started to come up and he discovered truths of his past as well as his present. Everyone has the right to know where he or she came from, and Oedipus was just trying to piece together a piece of himself that he didn’t even know was missing. Yes, it would have been much easier for Oedipus to have let sleeping ills lie, he would not have had to suffer those same consequences, however, the truth always comes out eventually, at least in this case Oedipus got the chance to control when and where so yes I do believe that this truth was worth knowing.

  47. Often times people refuse to accept or discover the truth because they are afraid of losing their own important things such as relationship with family, friendship, money, and reputation. In the play Sophocles presents an excellent example using Oedipus and Jocasta. I agree with Deborah’s point, if revealing the truth seems like a best way then it should be. When Jocasta says, “For Heaven’s sake, if you care for your own life, Don’t seek it! I am sick, and that’s enough!” (Sophocles 38) Jocasta is being very selfish because she does not want to accept the truth. In my opinion, at this point, all the pride and self confident that Oedipus felt at the beginning of the play fades away by revealing the truth of his father and his mother. If I was Tiresias, I would tell Oedipus the truth and ask him to recompense for his father’s death because it is ethical. Also If I was Oedipus I would accept the fact that I have killed my own father because otherwise I would have to live feeling guilty for the rest of my life. Most of the times home truth can rip apart one’s heart but it is the only way to heal if you choose to accept and recompense.

  48. The extent to which Jocasta and Oedipus should ignore the past does not matter. Tiresias says “Well, it will come, keep silence as I may” (Sophocles 13). This means that no matter what they do, the truth will eventually surface, making it pointless to resist. “Nay, never mind -never remember it- ‘Twas idly spoken!” (Sophocles 38) I agree with Hannah, regarding this quote, in that by saying it, Jocasta has piqued Oedipus’ interest in what she was trying to forget. Anyone attempting to forget will just inspire more interest, gradually resulting in a downward spiral of unfortunate enlightenment. For Jocasta, it is also pointless to resist because of the original prophecy. People spend considerable amounts of time trying to make prophecies come true or never happen and the truth is that it doesn’t matter. A prophecy tells of something that will happen in the future, therefore the future is already planned out and there is no point in trying to change it. For both of them, trying to leave the past undiscovered is a hopeless endeavor.

  49. As Chloe S. mentioned earlier, Oedipus, ruler of Thebes, cannot let these sleeping ills lie, as doing so would put his wife’s life, and the lives of many citizens at risk of succumbing to the plague. Right from the start, Oedipus is stuck in an impossible situation as he must find the late Laius’ murderer in order to rid Thebes of the plague. As the truth begins to unravel, more specifically his incestuous relationship with his mother, Jacosta, and his slaying of Laius, his true father, we, the audience soon realize that Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex will end tragically. It is this conclusion that makes me realize that as the great and caring ruler Oedipus is, he must do the most honourable thing, even if it means that he discovers his tragic fate. “But my heart at once groans for the city, and for myself, and you.” (Sophocles 3) Oedipus says this as he is a caring and honourable leader to his people. It is also his love for Jacosta that forces him to search for answers in order to solve the riddle of Laius’ death. When Jacosta says “Don’t seek it! I am sick, and that’s enough!” (Sophocles 38), this only makes Oedipus want to solve his city’s enigma before it is too late. In the end, I feel Oedipus couldn’t have let his ills lie because in this case, had he done so, Jacosta, his love, half the city of Thebes, and his honour would be lying in the underworld.

  50. As humans we are faced with many decisions in life. One must take action with each decision they make. Therefore, with every action there comes a consequence. In my opinion, Oedipus and Jocasta pay the consequences because they chose to not let sleeping ills lie. When Jocasta finally discovered what had happened she cried out, “Woe, woe, unhappy! This is all I have To say to thee, and no word more, for ever!” (Sophocles 38). This quotation demonstrates how unhappy she is with the actions she made, which came with horrible consequences. I agree with Vera’s statement when dealing with the actions of suicide. Jocasta could not deal with the consequences and took the easy way out and committed suicide. Like any great leader, Oedipus understood his responsibility of protecting his city and did his best. Although what he discovered led to his downfall. His actions to determine who had murdered Laius ended up in dire consequences. Even though Jocasta already knew who the murderer was, she did everything she could to make Oedipus silence his search. Oedipus returns with, “I will not hearken- not to know the whole” (Sophocles 38). Oedipus’ determination to seek out the murderer backfired and only dug him deeper into his misery. He also pays the consequence. I find that Jocasta and Oedipus should have let sleeping ills lie to the extent of never looking further into this matter because with every action came a dire consequence.

  51. The argument here is an ethical one; should one seek knowledge, when knowledge would bring only suffering? I believe the question that should be asked is instead, should the shore resist the tide, knowing that the tide will change it? No, the shore does not resist the ocean, nor can it. Knowledge should never be shied away from, though it may not be pleasant. Knowledge transforms the enlightened, as the sea transforms the shore. These transformations are not always positive, and yet, through aeons untold, the universe has changed, with each new stimulus, each new manipulation, and each new derivation of chaos. “stu295” posits that it is a question of benefit, does the benefit of knowledge outweigh the cost, and from this infers that Oedipus decision to “account certain his murderers” (Sophocles 4), was ultimately the most beneficial choice. This was so, and yet, I find that the question I see is not a question of benefit, but a question of cowardice. Do we seek the truth, regardless of what may come, and embrace the change that we may progress, or do we hide from what is in an ultimately futile attempt at resisting change? Knowledge is a initiator of change, as are all things. Change brings about difference, and difference is always progress, regardless of the positive/negative connotations of certain varieties imparted by a biased mind. Progress, in my opinion, should always be strived for. Jocasta tells Oedipus to “never remember it” (Sophocles 38), in reference to a statement she made, that brought about the development of Oedipus anagnorisis. Jocasta is telling Oedipus to forsake knowledge, to forsake progress, and to thus forsake reality. The expression of my beliefs previously in this post can be summarized as such: not one sleeping ill should be left to lie, for blindness to truth is far worse than blindness of eye. (CJ Per II)

  52. As most stories go, Oedipus and Jocasta are at a crossroads and must make a decision. One easier than the other but not necessarily the best for everyone. I agree with kkrysss and cassistarc, as husband and wife it would be better to let sleeping ills lie; however, it is not that simple. The lives of a whole city are depending on the truth to be found. Jocasta relises that the awful prophesies that they were once told have come true; she has wed her son. Upon finding this out she knows that it will be best for her and her family for Oedipus to let sleeping ills lie. Jocasta tries to convince her husband “Nay, never mind – never remember it – ‘Twas idly spoken!” (Sophocles 38). Jocasta wants her husband to let things be, she tries to tell him to forget it, she says it is not important. She tell Oedipus that it was spoken lightly and is not fact. At this point the couple would be better off to listen to Jocasta and let sleeping ills lie. On the other hand Oedipus needs to find the truth, it is his responsibility as King to do so. “I will not hearken – not to know the whole.” (Sophocles 38). Oedipus is adamant that he will seek the truth no matter what it takes. He is responsible for the town and the only way to solve the plague is to seek the truth The truth is not always what is desired but always needs to be found.

  53. Humans struggle between the tough decision of whether to lie or tell the truth every single day. It has been said that honesty is the best policy, so why doesn’t everyone follow that rule? Well, it’s not that simple as is shown in Oedipus Rex. Although Oedipus is not a cat, he is provoked by curiosity. He tries desperately to find out if the prophecies about sleeping with his mother and killing his father, are true: “Nay, it cannot be, that having such a clue I should refuse to solve the mystery of my parentage” (Sophocles 38). Even being surrounded by others telling him to stop searching for the truth, he never gives up. He is so certain in finding the truth, that he even sends Jocasta in a rage of disgust: “For Heaven’s sake, if you care for your own life, don’t seek it! I am sick, and that’s enough” (Sophocles 38). At this point in the story, Jocasta realizes that she has slept with her son, which sends her into depression and regret. She was happy and in love with Oedipus prior to unveiling of the truth, but afterwards, she cannot go back to living her old life. Knowing how much misery the truth has brought unto her, she does not want the king to feel the pain she does. Personally, I have an easier time declining knowledge of the truth, than keeping the truth from others. I believe that happiness is the most important thing in life, and as Ashton referenced in an above post, ignorance is bliss. We are on opposite sides of the argument, but this quote is definitely worth a mention. The main focus of Oedipus Rex is about truth, but as I mentioned above, maybe it relates just as much to curiosity. Those who seek the truth are those who are curious. Curiosity will eventually go away, but the sting of unforgivable truth is a tattoo that will never come off.

  54. Yusef asks, ‘Why does Tiresias tell Oedipus to let things alone when the plague would still ravage the city?’ You’ve made an excellent point. I hope you can bring it up in class tomorrow. Here Tiresias is talking about both the civic (as in what is good for the whole society of Thebes) versus the private (as in Oedipus and his immediate family) problem that Thebes is facing and one that would be alleviated by revealing the truth and punishing the offender. Here, I think he is talking only to Oedipus. You’re exactly correct in saying that the plague would be ended by “knowing.” It just won’t turn out so well for Oedipus. It’s a double-edged sword, I think.

  55. I agree with Stuart. It seems this battle of ‘one vs many’ is the ultimate theme of the discussion. I agree with the quotation from Jocasta where she claims, ““For Heaven’s sake, if you care for your own life, Don’t seek it!” (Sophocles 38). Although I’ve read a lot of responses saying that ‘the truth will eventually come out’ and so forth, I still firmly believe that this is one of the scenarios where the mystery is better left unsolved. Despite the argument that states the plague will not leave the city until Laius’ killer is killed/exiled, it’s extremely hard for the cynic inside of me to believe this will happen. As with epidemic in the past, they arrived, killed off several people and then they were gone. They did not arrive or leave because of someone being killed or exiled it was simply because the disease could not sustain itself to wipe out everyone. Thus, the truth would have been much better if it were unknown in this case because Oedipus would not have learned of his horrible truths and the disease would have eventually been erradicated from Thebes in good time.

  56. The saying ignorance is bliss is said for a reason. Oedipus should have let the sleeping ills lie. As Madison said “It’s hard to not be curious at times and want to know the full truth about your situation.” However, Oedipus’ fatal fall was his yearning to figure out the past. If Oedipus would have listened to Tiresias’ words “ Let me go home; so shalt thou bear thy load most easily if thou wilt take my counsel- and I mine.”(Sophocles 12) and Jocasta’s words “For heaven’s sake, if you care for your own life, don’t seek it! I am sick, and that’s enough!”(Sophocles 38) Oedipus would have not been exiled from Thebes and Jocasta wouldn’t have committed suicide.

  57. I also agree with Jenna’s statement. So much information has already been let out; Oedipus has the right to hear the rest of it all. I think that the longer you wait to hear the truth about something, will only hurt you more in the end. Oedipus deserves to know about his childhood and parentage and it is only fair that they are honest with him. I concur with the quote that Jen posted when Tiresias says to Oedipus at the beginning of the play, “Well, it will come, keep silence as I may” (Sophocles 13). This statement is suitable for the scenario because he is explaining how the truth will eventually come out but it most likely will take time before it does. For the last fifteen-years, Jocasta and Oedipus have been letting sleeping ills lie. It was only for the best that they learned the reality of their lives. Once the old man is ready to tell his story, Oedipus says “But I must hear-no less” (Sophocles 41). From the previous quote, it is clear that he does not want to hear the truth, but knows it is for the better. I truly do admire how strong Oedipus is through out the play especially when the large amount of information had been revealed. There are many challenges in life that we all go through. No matter how bad the situation is, we should have the right to know the truth. In this case, Oedipus was not intentionally sleeping with his mother, and did not mean to kill his father, so I think in all fairness it is about time that he knows the sins he has committed.

  58. I agree with Jenna Leask when she she said that too many of Jocasta and Oedipus’ truths had already been revealed. While the married couple secretly knew nothing good could come from seeking the rest of the mystery, Oedipus was determined to uncover the rest. It seems at though he was a bit oblivious to the situation as he began to discover more and more evidence. Jocasta wants to let the sleeping ills lie because she fears the Oedipus’ fated fortune will be true. Obviously both Jocasta and Oedipus did not plan for their lives to turn out this way. When Oedipus questions Jocasta about the time of Laius’ disappearance, she says “It was just before You were installed as ruler of the land, The tidings reached the city” (Sophocles 27). In other words, she was saying that it was about the same time that Oedipus became king. This is their first clue. Immediately following this Jocasta says, “He was tall; The first white flowers had blossomed in his hair; His figure was not much unlike your own (Sophocles 27). This is Oedipus’ second clue because Jocasta is saying that Laius looked very similar to Oedipus. Perhaps they were better off not knowing the rest of the truths, but once some of them began to be revealed, they couldn’t ignore it.

  59. I believe that Jocasta’s discouragement of Oedipus further seeking the truth of his parentage and heritage was both unreasonable and selfish. In my opinion, this demand was mostly fueled by the fact that Jocasta is aware of the truth at this point in the play. Enough of story has been revealed, that she has connected the dots, and is starting to realize that Oedipus is in fact her son, husband, and slayer of her former husband. It is for this reason that she demands Oedipus not to dig any deeper, and not let it lie. It is unreasonable that she ask Oedipus not to desire the truth of his parents and heritage. Unfortunately, she now knows the truth, and is trying to protect him from it. Oedipus closes this scene, with a statement that verifies my opinion on his emotion. Oedipus declares, “How could I ever in the issue prove other – that I should leave my birth unknown?” (Sophocles 39 ).

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