JOCASTA Oh, as thou carest for thy life, give o'er This quest. Enough the anguish I endure. OEDIPUS Be of good cheer; though I be proved the son Of a bondwoman, aye, through three descents Triply a slave, thy honor is unsmirched. JOCASTA Yet humor me, I pray thee; do not this. OEDIPUS I cannot; I must probe this matter home. JOCASTA 'Tis for thy sake I advise thee for the best. OEDIPUS I grow impatient of this best advice. JOCASTA Ah mayst thou ne'er discover who thou art! OEDIPUS Go, fetch me here the herd, and leave yon woman To glory in her pride of ancestry. JOCASTA O woe is thee, poor wretch! With that last word I leave thee, henceforth silent evermore. CHORUS Why, Oedipus, why stung with passionate grief Hath the queen thus departed? Much I fear From this dead calm will burst a storm of woes. OEDIPUS Let the storm burst, my fixed resolve still holds, To learn my lineage, be it ne'er so low. It may be she with all a woman's pride Thinks scorn of my base parentage. But I Who rank myself as Fortune's favorite child, The giver of good gifts, shall not be shamed. She is my mother and the changing moons My brethren, and with them I wax and wane. Thus sprung why should I fear to trace my birth? Nothing can make me other than I am. (1077-1086)
Stubborn Oedipus is unwilling to heed Jocasta’s wise advice to abandon his search for Laius’s murderer and for his own identity.
JOCASTA Then thou mayest ease thy conscience on that score. Listen and I'll convince thee that no man Hath scot or lot in the prophetic art. Here is the proof in brief. An oracle Once came to Laius (I will not say 'Twas from the Delphic god himself, but from His ministers) declaring he was doomed To perish by the hand of his own son, A child that should be born to him by me. Now Laius--so at least report affirmed-- Was murdered on a day by highwaymen, No natives, at a spot where three roads meet. As for the child, it was but three days old, When Laius, its ankles pierced and pinned Together, gave it to be cast away By others on the trackless mountain side. So then Apollo brought it not to pass The child should be his father's murderer, Or the dread terror find accomplishment, And Laius be slain by his own son. Such was the prophet's horoscope. O king, Regard it not. Whate'er the god deems fit To search, himself unaided will reveal. (707-725)
Despite her determination to do so, Jocasta is unable to convince Oedipus that prophecies are false.
OEDIPUS And on the murderer this curse I lay (On him and all the partners in his guilt):-- Wretch, may he pine in utter wretchedness! And for myself, if with my privity He gain admittance to my hearth, I pray The curse I laid on others fall on me. See that ye give effect to all my hest, For my sake and the god's and for our land, A desert blasted by the wrath of heaven. (244-253)
Oedipus’s intense determination to uncover the mystery of Laius’s murder ironically leads him to inadvertently curse himself.
OEDIPUS Yea, I am wroth, and will not stint my words, But speak my whole mind. Thou methinks thou art he, Who planned the crime, aye, and performed it too, All save the assassination; and if thou Hadst not been blind, I had been sworn to boot That thou alone didst do the bloody deed. (345-350)
Oedipus’s determination to force the unwilling prophet Teiresias to speak blinds him to Teiresias’s potential reasons for reluctance and leads him to falsely accuse the prophet.
OEDIPUS From whom of these our townsmen, and what house? HERDSMAN Forbear for God's sake, master, ask no more. OEDIPUS If I must question thee again, thou'rt lost. (1164-1167)
Oedipus’s determination blinds him to the signs of reluctance and impending disaster around him.