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The Oedipus Complex

How Freud's theory relates to the play Oedipus the King

Lianne H

on 7 November 2012

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Transcript of The Oedipus Complex

Background Knowledge Oedipus the King Freud's Explanation of Oedipus Stages of Psychosexual Development Freud's theory that every child goes through 5 stages of sexual development before reaching maturity Freud's Definition of the Oedipus Complex Boys between the ages 3-6 feel like they are in competition with their father for possession of their mother Resolving the Oedipus Complex In order to develop into a healthy adult, children must overcome the Oedipus complex by relating to their same-sex parent The Oedipus Complex
According to Sigmund Freud In the play, Oedipus unwittingly murders his biological father, and marries his biological mother. Oedipus had no intention of doing this; in fact, he had been trying to avoid it When Oedipus discovers what he has done, he stabs his own eyes out and banishes himself from the kingdom; he describes himself as "a man completely lost, utterly accursed, the mortal man the gods despise the most" (Sophocles). If a child experiences sexual frustration in any stage, it will lead to anxiety or neurosis in adulthood The Oedipus complex falls under the third stage of psychosexual development, called the Phallic Stage Boys feel jealousy and anger towards their fathers in this stage Similarly, the Electra Complex, proposed by Carl Jung, occurs when girls are in competition with their mother for their father During the Phallic Stage, children begin to differentiate between male and female This creates a sense of morality and develops the child's conscience Freud's Theory Compared to the Play Freud's theory is about young children who envy their father, whereas Oedipus is a grown man when he murders his father In the play, Oedipus unintentionally murders his father and marries his mother; the Oedipus complex involves a son who intentionally would harm his father Freud's theory of the Oedipus complex may be loosely inspired by the play Oedipus the King, but the theory is not accurate to the play Discussion Questions 1. How would the Oedipus complex work if a young boy's parents were divorced and remarried? 2. Do you think Oedipus suffered from Freud's definition of the Oedipus complex? Why or why not? 3. If a single mother raised a son, how would the lack of a father affect his psychosexual development? 4. Do you think the Electra Complex for girls is equally as valid as the Oedipus complex for boys? 5. Is it possible that Oedipus had an unconscious desire to kill his father and possess his mother? Quiz Answer the following questions on your own paper. 1. Briefly describe Freud's Oedipus complex theory. 2. T or F: the Electra complex is the same as the Oedipus complex, but for girls. 3. Yes or No: is the Oedipus complex theory accurate to the play Oedipus the King? 4. According to Freud, why did Oedipus really murder King Laius? Cherry, Kendra. "Oedipal Complex - Psychology -
About.com." Psychology - Complete Guide to Psychology for Students, Educators & Enthusiasts. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Oct. 2012. <http://psychology.about.com/od/oindex/g/def_oedipuscomp.htm>. Works Cited "Psychosexual Development." The Victorian Web: An
Overview. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Oct. 2012. <http://www.victorianweb.org/science/freud/develop.html>. Whitbourne, Susan Krauss. "The Real Oedipal Complex |
Psychology Today." Psychology Today: Health, Help, Happiness + Find a Therapist. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Oct. 2012. <http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-art-flourishing/201205/the-real-oedipal-complex>.
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