SIGMUND FREUD - Oedipus Complex

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Freud, an Austrian psychiatrist, was initially influenced by a fellow physician, Joseph Breuer, who was treating his patients by using hypnosis. Freud used Breuer’s treatment on people suffering from various anxieties, particularly hysteria. From this work he discovered that the symptoms of hysteria could be traced to an earlier age when the patient had suffered severe psychological strain or trauma. This discovery was the beginning of Psychoanalysis. Eventu¬ally, Freud abandoned hypnosis in favour of a method called “Free Associa¬tion,” which allowed his patients to recall their past while talking to him. Through this free association process, Freud became more and more convinced that most of his patients’ problems were sexual in origin. This led to his most famous (and somewhat controversial) theory of the Oedipus Complex, a theory at the heart of Freudian psychology and, perhaps more important for our study, a theory which has had a tremendous impact on writers and critics since the turn of the century. Essentially, the theory has its origin in the Greek myth of Oedipus. Laius and Jocasta were the king and queen of Thebes. Laius was warned through an oracle that if he had a son, he would be killed by him. When Oedipus was born, Laius, fearing the prophecy, secretly ordered his son’s feet bound and the baby left to die on a mountain. However, Oedipus was found and taken to Corinth where he was raised as the son of the kind Polybus. When Oedipus grew up he, too, consulted an oracle about his future and was told that he would kill his father and marry his mother. To avoid the prophecy, Oedipus ran away from the only home he had known. While wandering towards Thel1es, he was forced off the road by a chariot. In the argument that followed, he killed the driver who, unknown to Oedipus, later was identified as none other than Laius. At Thebes, he became king by
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