The Oedipus Complex

Ellenahc B.
November 17, 2010
AP Literature – 3B

The Oedipus complex

      The Oedipus complex is a group of largely unconscious ideas and feelings which concentrate on the desire to possess the parent of the opposite sex and eliminate the parent of the same sex. According to classical psychoanalytic theory, the complex appears during and between the ages of three and five years, though it may be detected earlier.
      The complex suggests that when a boy is still a small child, he will already begin to develop a special affection for his mother. Then he begins to feel his father as a rival who shares the same affection. And in the same way a little girl looks on her mother as a person who interferes with her affectionate relation with her father. We refer to them as the “Oedipus complex”, because the legend of Oedipus realizes, his two extreme destinies that he will kill his father and make his mother his wife.
      A major part of Sigmund Freud’s theory comes from displacement of repressed fears or desires that are not fully explored. Freud studied a five year old boy named Hans who, he had concluded, wanted to have sexual relations with his mother. Because of the wrongfulness he felt in expressing this suppressed love, he became afraid of many things around him, to compensate for the sexual feelings that were not returned to him. Children at this age, of course, do not realize they are doing this, so it is the subconscious at work that begins breeding these irrational fears within the mind.