The Psychological Connection to Oedipus the King

1387 WordsJul 13, 20186 Pages
Poet and Scholar Robert Graves wrote in 1995, “Myth has two main functions. The first is to answer the sort of awkward questions that children ask, such as ‘Who made the world? How will it end? Who was the first man? Where do souls go after death?’…The second function of myth is to justify an existing social system and account for traditional rites and customs.” Oedipus the King written by Sophocles in 430 B.C. focuses around the second function that Graves noted. The play has been around for centuries, has evoked psychological theories, and will remain a classic. Sophocles has managed to touch on social, ethical, psychology, and more importantly philosophical issues in one play. Perhaps one of the most popularly known psychologist,…show more content…
It is a feeling of helplessness which many people can relate to. The other side of the story being, Oedipus chose to pursue the details of the prophecy and finding answers despite his many warnings. Clinical psychologist and author Suzie Naiburg writes, "Classical tragedy problematizes human agency by maintaining a dialectical tension between fate and character"(28). Regardless of which end you agree with, there are direct ties to everyday human emotions. And then the story becomes more person, a question of what if it were me? And that is where the reader starts psychoanalyzing the characters and scenarios. Sophocles was able to turn the piece into a psychological drama. Anders Zachrisson analyzes it further writing, "The story of Oedipus is part of ancient Greek mythology. Freud chose Oedipus as a metaphor for the passionate relationships in the family because he could observe cognate dynamics in his patients' - and his own - dreams and in the myth. The myth, in Freud's view, expresses a kind of proto-knowledge over family dynamics. He wrote:... the legend of Oedipus sprang from the same primaeval dream-material which had as its content the distressing disturbance of a child's relation to his parents owing to the first stirrings of sexuality." Despite society's progression, there is still a small presence of taboo when it comes to the topic of sex. And even greater taboo, one that evokes shame and disgust is incest. Sophocles makes all of these emotions present
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