Oedipus Rex or Oedipus the King

Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud in Interpretation of Dreams wrote a notable passage regarding of the destiny of Oedipus as well as the Oedipus complex. He analyzes why this play, Oedipus Rex, written in Ancient Greece, is so effective even to a modern audience. Freud says,

His destiny moves us only because it might have been ours — because the oracle laid the same curse upon us before our birth as upon him. It is the fate of all of us, perhaps, to direct our first sexual impulse towards our mother and our first hatred and our first murderous wish against our father. Our dreams convince us that this is so.”[27]

In the same book, Freud indicates, however, that the “primordial urges and fears” that are his concern are not found primarily in the play by Sophocles, but exist in the myth the play is based on; he refers to the play as a “further modification of the legend”, one that originates in a “misconceived secondary revision of the material, which has sought to exploit it for theological purposes.”[28][29][30]


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