Rational Development In Oedipus Rex

1264 Words6 Pages
“[Reading] psychoanalytically... [enables the readers] to see which concepts are operating in the text in such a way as to enrich our understanding of the work” (Tyson 29). Reading a piece of literary work through psychoanalytic lens, the readers are able to more comprehensively understand the actions and motivations of characters. In Oedipus Rex, Oedipus changes throughout the play from a responsible ruler to a hysterical hunter to a solemn sinner. Through psychoanalysis, the readers are able to explain shifts in Oedipus' character and his past decisions. In Oedipus Rex, Oedipus actions can be explained by the id, ego, superego, and fixation. Different from a charismatic and rational leader in the Prologue, Oedipus becomes suspicious and…show more content…
Fixation is the one of the possible consequences of Oedipus Complex, a psychosexual stage in which children consider their same-sex parents as enemies. Children who fail to overcome the Oedipus Complex will fall into the state of fixation, in which their libido have been “permanently ‘invested’ in a particular stage of…development” (McLeod). When these children become adults, they will typically “seek for romantic partners who resemble their opposite-sex parent” (Cherry). In Oedipus Rex, Oedipus’ wife Jocasta resembles more of a maternal figure than a romantic company. Hearing Oedipus’ quarrel with Creon, Jocasta yells at Oedipus to end the conflict: “Aren’t shamed…to stir up private quarrels? Into the palace now” (Sophocles 711-712). Jocasta’s tone is closer to an angry mother calling her son to return home than a wife to her husband, indicating her symbolic representation as a maternal figure. In fact, Oedipus also unconsciously considers Jocasta as a mother, especially when he seeks for comfort: “I will tell you. I respect you, Jocasta, /much more than these men here…” (Sophocles 770-771). Emotionally dependent on Jocasta, Oedipus’ trust towards Jocasta is similar to a son telling a secret to his mother. Finding a maternal romantic partner, Jocasta resembles Oedipus’ opposite sex parent, which reflects a result of
Get Access