Oedipus and Freud

    • Non-Fiction

Freud developed a theory called the Oedipus complex. This complex is when a child, most specifically a male child, develops an erotic attachment to one parent, and hostility towards the other. In the case of a male child, he would become erotically attached to his mother and become hostile towards his father. This complex develops from the ages of three to five, in the stage that Freud labelled as the “phallic stage.” In order to resolve this issue, needs to identify with the same-sex parent. The “primal ID” wants to eliminate them; however, the more realistic ego knows they are much stronger. In the case of males, they believe that the mother’s penis has been removed and they begin to fear their own castration, coming specifically from their father. In order to cope with this fear, the male child realizes how similar he is to his father. He then attempts to be even more similar, to avoid the castration, by adopting the same attitudes, mannerisms and actions to no longer feel hostile.

The biggest issue with Freud’s theory is that he focuses on it from the ages of three to five. However, Oedipus is an adult. The readers never get to see him at a young age. The only information they have about Oedipus at a younger age is when he was born and left to die. As previously stated, Freud believed that in order to resolve this stage and to move on, the child needs to associate with the same-sex parent. They need to bond; developing similar personalities. Therefore, we are unsure if Oedipus went through this stage as a young child or if he resolved it. If he had resolved this issue when he was younger, would he still be living within this complex? Not according to Freud.