Oedipus complex

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Related to Oedipal complex: Electra complex, latent stage

Oedipus complex,

Freudian term, drawn from the myth of OedipusOedipus
, in Greek legend, son of Laius, king of Thebes, and his wife, Jocasta. Laius had been warned by an oracle that he was fated to be killed by his own son; he therefore abandoned Oedipus on a mountainside.
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, designating attraction on the part of the child toward the parent of the opposite sex and rivalry and hostility toward the parent of its own. It occurs during the phallic stage of the psycho-sexual development of the personality, approximately years three to five. Resolution of the Oedipus complex is believed to occur by identification with the parent of the same sex and by the renunciation of sexual interest in the parent of the opposite sex. Freud considered this complex the cornerstone of the superego and the nucleus of all human relationships. Many psychiatrists, while acknowledging the significance of the Oedipal relationships to personality development in our culture, ascribe love and attraction toward one parent and hatred and antagonism toward the other not necessarily to sexual rivalry but to resentment of parental authoritarian power.
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Oedipus Complex

the unconscious wish of little boys to kill the father and marry the mother (from the Greek legend of King Oedipus). This is regarded as integral to the Phallic Stage in FREUD's psychodynamic theory of development.

Freud suggested that between three and five years old a boy develops sexual jealousy of his father, and since his wishes cannot be realized in fact, he resolves the situation by realizing them vicariously through identifying with his father. This IDENTIFICATION involves internalizing the perceived moral standards of the father, thus forming the SUPEREGO. The obverse of the Oedipus Complex, for the little girl, is the Electra Complex, involving the unconscious wish to kill the mother and marry the father, though the term Oedipus Complex is generally used for both sexes.

Though the theory still has credibility among some psychoanalysts, feminist psychodynamic theorists have proposed other explanations for the development of the superego. Freud's theory was not a satisfactory explanation of female personality development. CHODOROW (1978) suggests that when gender awareness develops (between three and five years) a boy needs to differentiate from his mother with whom he has had a close physical and emotional identity. He therefore develops ways of coping with feelings of insecurity and a veneer of independence. A little girl does not have this need to differentiate, therefore she continues modelling on her mother and is thereby assisted in developing a mature personality. See also KRISTEVA, NARCISSISM.

Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000

Oedipus complex

[′ēd·ə·pu̇s ‚käm‚pleks]
(psychology)
In psychoanalytic theory, the attraction and attachment of the child to the parent of the opposite sex, accompanied by feelings of envy and hostility toward the parent of the child's sex, whose displeasure and punishment the child so fears that the child represses his or her feelings toward the parent of opposite sex.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

Oedipus complex

Psychoanal a group of emotions, usually unconscious, involving the desire of a child, esp a male child, to possess sexually the parent of the opposite sex while excluding the parent of the same sex
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Not only that he causes separation, or that he establishes the Law, but that he is the one taking care of Duchess echoes the same intersubjective relations revolving around the Oedipal complex. Law in the form of violence, which is by no means the Law that is supposed to provide order and harmony, preponderates after the intrusion of Spinx as the head of the gang and family, for he is the boss and epitome of authority that establishes the Law of ferocity.
Nor does Freud ever develop an Electra complex as an analogue to the Oedipal complex (161 n.24); he explicitly rejected this concept, developed by Carl Jung in 1913, precisely because it did suggest that developmental processes between the two sexes were analogous, a simple symmetry he adamantly opposed.
Traditional psychoanalytic theory describes the Oedipal complex as boys separating from their mothers, wanting to marry them, and conflicting with the role of their fathers; while, girls want to marry their fathers, conflicting with attachment feelings to their mothers.
(7) It bears recalling that, whereas the conventional resolution to the OEdipal complex sees an individual identify with one or other parental role, recent psychoanalysts have signalled that the OEdipal complex concerns the totality of relations within the triangle.
But the future dictator was so devoted to the beautiful Klara Hitler, biographers have speculated he was the victim of an Oedipal Complex.
For example, Bose reversed the Oedipal complex to have the son castrate the father rather than submit to his authority.
She reads the stories of Adam (God) and Eve, Moses and his rod, Noah's drunkenness before Ham, and Lot and his daughters against the backdrop of Freud's Oedipal complex. Similarly, in the stories of sibling rivalry--Jacob and Esau, Amnon and Tamar (Absalom), and Cain and Abel--she finds examples in which Oedipal feelings associated with the parents are displaced to the sibling.
The purported reasons for this are many, but let me suggest another, which I like to call a different kind of Oedipal complex. When it was foretold that Oedipus would kill his father and marry his mother, his entire life changed.
There are many purported reasons for this, but let me suggest another one, which I like to call a different kind of Oedipal complex. When it was foretold that Oedipus would kill his father and marry his mother, his entire life changed.
Pawley's main claim is that Thomson was a "neurotic in the classical Freudian sense of the word" (xiv), suffering from Oedipal complex and psychic impotence, whose poems are rhymed transcripts of his dreams, "written mainly for therapeutic purposes" (4).
Taken together, the two profiles could be construed as evidence of a rather serious Oedipal complex; instead, Lahr turns them into eulogies and quiet meditations on the nature of show people.
If Freud (1986) is right, the Oedipal complex dominates the gender archetype most of us inherit, but if the mother's self-image is not independent of the wider social image of motherhood, wifeliness, and so on, then neither is the son's image of his mother.