Oedipus complex

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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]
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 ?
In order to incorporate siblings into the Oedipus complex, Sharpe and Rosenblatt (1994) expanded the usage of the term oedipal by referring 'primarily to the developmental level of structuralisation and object relations, not to the specific sexual fantasy regarding a parent' (p.
Because of its centrality within the field of psychoanalysis, the concept of the Oedipus complex has often become the object of scrutiny and criticism on the part of scholars from different schools and disciplines.
There is something obsessive about the narrator's proclamations of sexual desire for Micol and his inability to act, initially, on that desire, something the narrator both recognizes and denies, something we might tentatively term "fetishistic" in his treatment of Micol, providing we remember that fetishism can be an enabling fiction in the face of trauma--not the trauma of the recognition of sexual difference, but the trauma of the Oedipus complex itself, which requires the human subject to abandon its polymorphous desires and "settle" for heterosexuality.
Because the discourse of race is governed by the dominant white cultural symbolic order, Du Bois's concept essentially pertains to the Oedipus complex, to identification derived from interpellation within a Symbolic social identity as black.
Crowe by Grey, a troubled child patient--seems to refer explicitly to the Oedipus complex. The former patient kills the doctor who has been unable to heal his psyche, by realizing a wild fantasy to kill a hostile father figure.
Chen confronts the killer with his thesis: I've mentioned the Oedipus complex, in which two aspects are mixed.
Her father's ineffectual and fierce personality prevents her entry into the Oedipus stage and the resolution of her Oedipus complex. His ongoing oppression produces hatred in Dimitra, because he treats her violently and limits her freedom.
In its decline, the Oedipus complex ceases to be a matter of a physical confrontation with a given authority figure and is transformed into a self-confrontation that includes self-negation in the form of a readiness to hurt oneself.
Juliet Mitchell's book Psychoanalysis and Feminism (1974) argues that Freud's analysis of the Oedipus complex is key to understanding how patriarchal ideology perpetuates itself through the institution of the family-as-mediator between nature (biology) and culture (social rules and roles).
That Hamlet has distinctively modern psychological problems has become a cliche since Ernest Jones's path-breaking essay on Hamlet and the Oedipus complex in 1910.
Heather Mills may be madder than a syphilitic king with an Oedipus complex, but I don't believe her behaviour is pushing her hubby into a pit of depression.
The first phase of psychoanalytic criticism derived from Freud's own interpretation of literary texts, and emphasizes the Oedipus complex, instinct, and drive theory.