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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.
..... Click the link for more information. , 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.
Oedipus Complexthe 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.