Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Oedipus Complex

  • Robert QuackenbushEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_473

Oedipus Complex, in psychoanalytic theory, is based on the premise of incestuous fantasy in which a child desires the parent of the opposite sex. Sigmund Freud (1921–1955), the father of psychoanalysis, held that children pass through a stage from about ages 3–6 in which they develop a lively curiosity about sex. The son desires his mother and wants the father dead. The daughter wants sex with the father and hates the mother. (“Electra Complex” may be used to label the girl’s feelings). Freud believed that many adult neuroses originate with the Oedipus Complex. He derived his theory from the Oedipus myth revealed in the oracles of ancient Greece.

The tragic story of Oedipus Rex (Oedipus the King) has been told many times through the ages in literature and plays. According to the fifth-century BCE play by Socrates, an oracle tells King Laius and Queen Jocasta of Thebes that a son will be born to them who will kill the king and marry the queen. When the son is born, the king and queen...

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.World and National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis (NAAP)New YorkUSA