Oedipus the King: Oedipus Complex

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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In Oedipus The King by Sophocles, tells the story of the new king of Thebes who fulfilled the prophecy of killing his father and having sexual relations with his mother while trying to avoid it (Sophocles). In psychology, this sounds very similar to the Oedipus complex. With it named after the king, did Oedipus suffer from it himself? The Oedipus complex is, “in psychoanalytic theory, a desire for sexual involvement with the parent of the opposite sex and a concomitant sense of rivalry with the parent of the same sex; a crucial stage in the normal developmental process (Encyclopaedia Britannica).

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This often taboo concept was created by the father of psychology, Sigmund Freud. He attributed this theory of development, to children of about the ages three to five.

If relationships with the parents were loving and if the parent’s attitudes were neither prohibitive nor excessively stimulating, the stage is passed through harmoniously. In the presence of trauma, however, there occurs an “infantile neurosis, which is often defined as stress-related symptoms. This neurosis as a result of a non-loving home is an important forerunner of similar reactions during the child’s adult life. The stage usually ended when the child identified with the parent of the same sex and repressed its sexual instincts. Repression is “Defense mechanisms are psychological strategies that are unconsciously used to protect a person from anxiety arising from unacceptable thoughts or feelings (Saul McLeod). This repression at the end of the Oedipal complex, causes the thoughts being buried in the unconscious segment of the mind. Sigmund Freud separated the human mind into different levels.

He “believed that behavior and personality were derived from the constant and unique interaction of conflicting psychological forces that operate at three different levels of awareness: the preconscious, the conscious, and the unconscious. He believed that each of these parts of the mind plays an important role in influencing behavior (Kendra Cherry). These three distinct levels are referred to as an iceberg. With the conscious on top, and the unconscious below the water’s surface. Like many icebergs, the section below the water is the largest part. Making the repressed desires or unacceptable urges of people the largest segment. The superego, the moral factor that dominates the conscious adult mind, also has its origin in the process of overcoming the Oedipus complex. Freud considered the reactions against the Oedipus complex the most important social achievements of the human mind.

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Oedipus The King: Oedipus Complex. (2020, Mar 25). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/oedipus-the-king-oedipus-complex/