Oedipus Complex

   Oedipus complex is the psychoanalytical term for the sexual attraction of a son to his mother, accompanied by manifestations of hostility toward the father.
   The name for this psychological pattern in males was taken by Sigmund Freud from the Greek myth of Oedipus because the life of this Theban king seemed to act out in detail th logic of Freud's theory, the repressed desires of the male. Although Oedipus was the subject of many Greek tragedies, his pathetic fate was best dramatized by Sophocles in Oedipus Rex and Oedipus at Colonus.
   Oedipus was the son of Laius, king of Thebes, and of his queen, Jocasta. An oracle warned the parents to beget n children, for the king would perish at the hands of his own son, who would then marry his mother. Having begotten Oedipu while drunkenly out of control of his sexual impulses, the king, trying to circumvent this prophecy of doom, exposed the infant Oedipus on a mountaintop, his feet bound and pierced. He was found by a s pherd and presented to the king of Corinth, who reared him as his own son, giving him the name Oedipus because of his swollen feet (oedipus in Greek means "swollen feet").
   When Oedipus was grown, he was informed by the oracle of the future tragedy of his life. Believing that the Corinthian king was his real father, Oedipus left and resolved never to return to Corinth. On his way to Thebes, his chariot and one coming in an opposite direction could not pass at the same time because the road was too narrow. An argument ensued, and Oedipus killed the stranger — who turned out to be Laius, his natural father.
   Oedipus continued on to Thebes, where the celebrated Sphinx, sitting majestically on a rock, kept posing what seemed to be an unanswerable riddle to the Thebans. Whoever failed to solve her riddle, she would kill at once. In desperation, the Thebans offered their kingdom and the hand of Jocasta to anyone who would rid the country of his monster. Oedipus solved the riddle; in innocence married the widowed queen; and became, by her, the father of four children. When Oedipus and his mother discovered that their relationship was incestuous, Jocasta hanged herself, and Oedi us put out his eyes. And thus the prophecy came to pass.

Dictionary of eponyms. . 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Oedipus complex — n 1) a child s positive libidinal feelings toward the parent of the opposite sex and hostile or jealous feelings toward the parent of the same sex that develop usu. between the ages of three and six and that may be a source of adult personality… …   Medical dictionary

  • Oedipus complex — ► NOUN ▪ (in Freudian theory) the complex of emotions aroused in a young child by an unconscious sexual desire for the parent of the opposite sex. DERIVATIVES Oedipal adjective. ORIGIN by association with Oedipus in Greek mythology, who… …   English terms dictionary

  • Oedipus complex — n. Psychoanalysis the unconscious tendency of a child to be attached to the parent of the opposite sex and hostile toward the other parent: its persistence in adult life results in neurotic disorders: orig. restricted to a son s attachment: cf.… …   English World dictionary

  • Oedipus complex — For the species of salamander, see Oedipina complex. Oedipus explains the riddle of the Sphinx, by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, (ca. 1805). In psychoanalytic theory, the term Oedipus complex denotes the emotions and ideas that the mind keeps in …   Wikipedia

  • Oedipus complex — Psychoanal. the unresolved desire of a child for sexual gratification through the parent of the opposite sex, esp. the desire of a son for his mother. This involves, first, identification with and, later, hatred for the parent of the same sex,… …   Universalium

  • Oedipus complex — UK [ˈiːdɪpəs ˌkɒmpleks] / US [ˈedɪpəs ˌkɑmpleks] / US [ˈɪdɪpəs ˌkɑmpleks] noun [countable] Word forms Oedipus complex : singular Oedipus complex plural Oedipus complexes an unconscious sexual feeling that a son has towards his mother, at the same …   English dictionary

  • Oedipus complex — [[t]i͟ːdɪpəs kɒmpleks[/t]] N SING If a boy or man has an Oedipus complex, he feels sexual desire for his mother and has hostile feelings towards his father …   English dictionary

  • Oedipus complex — in Freudian theory, repressed sexual feelings of a child for its opposite sexed parent, combined with rivalry towards the same sexed parent: said to be a normal stage of development. The end of the Oedipus complex in children is marked by a loss… …   The new mediacal dictionary

  • Oedipus complex — noun (in Freudian theory) the complex of emotions aroused in a young child by an unconscious sexual desire for the parent of the opposite sex. Derivatives Oedipal adjective Oedipally adverb Origin early 20th cent.: by assoc. with Oedipus, who, in …   English new terms dictionary

  • Oedipus complex — /ˈidəpəs ˌkɒmplɛks / (say eeduhpuhs .kompleks) noun Psychoanalysis 1. the child s rivalrous desire for sexual gratification through the parent of the opposite sex which, if unresolved, leads to other neuroses. 2. sexual desire of a son for his… …   Australian English dictionary

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