period: Greek myths – Jocasta

Period makeups: Greek myths – Jocasta

In Greek mythology, Jocasta was Queen consort of Thebes, first as the wife of Laius, and then of their son Oedipus. She was both mother and grandmother of Antigone, Eteocles, Polynices and Ismene. She was also sister of Creon.

Laius is warned by an oracle that he must not have a child with his wife as the child would later kill him and marry Jocasta.When Oedipus is born Laius pierces his ankles and instructs his chief shepherd to expose the infant on Mount Cithaeron. But the shepherd takes pity on the infant and gives him to another shepherd in the employ of King Polybus of Corinth. Childless, Polybus and his Queen raise the boy to adulthood.

Oedipus, in his turn, is informed by the oracle that he is fated to kill his father and to marry his mother. Fearing for the safety of the only parents known to him, Oedipus flees from Corinth before he could commit these sins. He then encounters Laius on the road and kills him. He continues on his travels to Thebes were he becomes king and marries Jocasta; thus unwittingly fulfilling the prophecy.

When the city is struck by a plague, Oedipus learns that it is a divine punishment for his patricide and incest. Oedipus gouges out his own eyes and goes into exile; Jocasta hangs herself.

The movies

Edipo re (1967): Pasolini’s version of the myth featuring Silvana Mangano as Jocasta. Giulio Natalucci & Goffredo Rocchetti were the makeup artists.