Oedipus Rex or Oedipus the King

Oedipus Rex or Oedipus the King The Oedipus Complex

The Oedipus Complex is a psychoanalytical theory created by Sigmund Freud (pictured) and derived heavily from Sophocles’ play. Influenced by Freud, many later critics (and forward to this day) find elements of the Oedipus Complex in the relationship between Hamlet and Gertrude.

The theory dictates that all children feel sexual desire for the parent of the opposite sex and the death of the parent of the same sex, and is today believed to be manifest only in very young children. In terms of the play, the Oedipus Complex is extremely unhelpful: firstly, because Oedipus is not a child when Sophocles’ play takes place, but secondly (and more importantly) because the play rests on the fact that he is unaware of the identity of his parents when he respectively murders and sleeps with them.