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Sigmund Freud's Oedipus Complex Essay

1349 words - 5 pages

Oedipus Complex
"It is the fate of all of us, perhaps, to direct our first sexual impulse towards our mother and our first hatred and our first murderous wish against our father." - Sigmund Freud(Clark, 122)
The Oedipus conflict or complex is a concept developed by Sigmund Freud to explain the origin of certain psychological disorders in childhood. It is defined as a child's unconscious desire for the exclusive love of the parent of the opposite sex. This desire includes jealousy toward the parent of the same sex and the unconscious wish for that parent's death. Horney states that it is not a “biologically given phenomenon” but rather a response to the “provocation’s” of the outside world.(Horney)
The “Oedipus Complex” was started from Simund Freud. Freud was born on May 6, 1856, in Freiberg, Moravia, a region now in the Czech Republic. His father was a wool merchant and was forty when he had Sigmund, the oldest of eight children (Gay, 78) and lived till 1939. (Gay, 112)
The term Oedipus complex gets its name from Oedipus Rex. The story of Oedipus can be found in the recount authored by Sophocles. In the story Oedipus has been made King of Thebes in gratitude for his freeing the people from a plague brought on them by the presence

of the riddling Sphinx. Since Laius, the former king, had shortly before been killed, Oedipus has been further honored by the hand of Queen Jocasta.
Now more deadly famines and diseases are raging and the people have come to ask Oedipus to rescue them as before. Oedipus give his brother in-law the job of finding the solution. Creon, Jocasta's brother, comes back from Apollo's temple with the announcement that the famine will be cured if Laius' murderer be found and cast from the city.
In an effort to discover the murderer, Oedipus sends for the blind seer, Tiresias. Under protest the prophet names Oedipus himself as the criminal. Oedipus, outraged at the accusation, denounces it as a plot of Creon to gain the throne. Jocasta appears just in time to avoid a battle between the two men. Seers, she assures Oedipus, are not infallible. To prove her point she cites the old prophecy that her son should kill his father and have children by his mother. She prevented its fulfillment, she confesses, by abandoning their infant son in the mountains. As for Laius, he had been killed by robber’s years later at the junction of three roads on the route to Delphi.
This information makes Oedipus uneasy. He recalls having killed a man answering Laius' description at this very spot when he was fleeing from his home in Corinth to avoid fulfillment of a similar prophecy. An aged messenger arrives from Corinth, at this point, to announce the death of King Polybus, supposed father of Oedipus, and the election of Oedipus as king in his stead. On account of the old prophecy Oedipus refuses to return to Corinth until his mother, too, is dead. To calm his fears the messenger assures him that he is not the blood son of Polybus...

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