Oedipus Complex in Oedipus Rex

Essay by gameday467High School, 12th gradeA, November 2007

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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...