Oedipus Complex In Oedipus Rex Essay

1033 words - 4 pages

Human psychology has changed very little over the years, people experienced the same conscious and sub-conscious emotions in that past as people experience today. There have been a few pieces of literature which were written many years ago, but still manage to captivate an audience today. Among these pieces of literature is Oedipus the King, by Sophocles. Not only does the story of Oedipus still engross an audience in its plot, but it still brings forth the gut-wrenching feeling of sorrow for Oedipus when his true destiny and downfall are revealed. This play still brings out so much emotion in audiences today because the play is deeply based in psychological roots. In writing this play, Sophocles was well aware of human psychology and how it would affect the audience reading his play. Therefore, he based the plot around a feeling all young males have as growing up, the feeling that their father is an adversary for the sole attention of their mother. It is Oedipus' unconscious reaction to this complex that allows the reader to feel such emotion for Oedipus. Freud based some of his theories on this book, and popularized the theory of the "Oedipus Complex." Understanding this theory gives insight to Oedipus' subtle actions and the decisions he makes to try and avoid what he views as conflicts.The "Oedipus Complex," as described by Sigmund Freud, is the stage of psychosexual development where young males have unconscious sexual attraction towards their mother, and therefore view their father as an opponent for their mothers love. This complex stems from the young child having been so close to the mother, both emotionally and physically, during its development up to that point. The "Oedipus Complex" is common to children between the ages of 3-6, and often culminates in a desire of the young child to murder his father and seduce his mother. The arousal of this emotion in the children also causes guilt and a fear that they will be punished from what they are thinking, and so it is also common for the children, as they grow older, to consciously be repulsed by this thought. Sophocles realized this impulse of humans and wrote his play around it, which is why the audience feels so connected and sorrowful for Oedipus.Not only does the "Oedipus Complex" bring out emotion in the audience, but it also allows us to see into some of the major conflicts of the play. One of the conflicts in Oedipus the King was Oedipus versus Destiny. In the play, Oedipus is brought up by the King and Queen of Corinth, and only when he is past his boyhood does an alcoholic man tell him that they are not his real parents. Furthermore, when Oedipus goes the oracles to find out who his real parents are, it is prophesized that Oedipus is destined to kill his father and marry his mother; the same fantasy young boys have as a result of the "Oedipus Complex." Because he has had these...

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