Psychoanalysis And Oedipus The King

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Ever since Sigmund Freud developed psychoanalysis theory, its applicability has been extended beyond therapy to literature. In the interpretation of dreams, Sigmund Freud coins the term the oedipus complex in reference to the greek mythology of Oedipus the king. The application of psychoanalysis to myth is treated by Dowden with scepticism and he states that the only significance of the psychoanalytic approach is in its recognition of how fundamental the images that recur in the myth are (Dowden, 1992, p.23). This essay will argue that Dowden’s treatment of the theory of psychoanalysis is valid but needs to be supplemented with a more comprehensive view of psychoanalysis and the various arguments for scepticism towards psychoanalysis. Dowden’s treatment of the theory of psychoanalysis focuses on the application of dream interpretation to myth and it’s related flaws. He refers to the freudian method of dream analysis as using dreams to “disclose the hidden operations of the unconscious mind … [through] symbolism, disposition, or projection” (Dowden, 1992, p.23). In this sense, it is reasonable to extend psychoanalysis to other products of human imagination such as myth. Dowden criticizes this approach to interpreting myth by raising several major problems. Firstly, he speculates that both psychoanalyst and classist tend to be inapt at psychoanalyzing myths. Secondly, he warns against analyzing the characters in the myth as though they are real in flesh. Thirdly, he dismisses

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