The Oedipus Complex in Galatea 2.2
Helen is in love with Powers; Powers is in love with C.; C. only wants to forget about Powers. This may sound like a soap opera, but in fact it is the love triangle present in Galatea 2.2. This love triangle mirrors Freud's Oedipal Complex almost perfectly. According to this theory, Richard Powers is Helen's mother. Like a mother he created her and then taught her how to think for herself. Also in this role reversal of the Oedipal Complex, Helen assumes the role of Power's son, and C. portrays the absent father. The twisted version of the Oedipal Complex presented in Galatea 2.2 explains the interaction between Powers, Helen, and C. as that of a family, and throughout this depiction the Dialogical Method enhances this image.
In the story of Oedipus he kills his father and then marries his mother. Galatea 2.2 does not present Helen as committing such an outrageous act. C.'s absence in Helen's life does mirror the absence of Oedipus' father during Oedipus' marriage to his mother. Helen never has one on one interaction with C. Her only knowledge of C. is through the love letters that Powers reads to her. It because of this that Helen begins to view C. as a hindrance to her own relationship with Powers. According to Freud, the son wishes to dispose of the father in order to have the attention of the mother solely to himself. This creates a very peculiar relationship to say the least.
Of course, Powers' relationship with Helen is anything but common. She is after all a computer. He begins their relationship as her teacher. He has a mother's love for Helen because in her he sees something that he has toiled to create. Powers sounds like a parent when he speaks of Helen's singing. At one point he describes her voice as, "...an extraterrestrial warble, the way deaf people sing" (198). This does not sound like a sweet sound. The words "music to my ears" are not present in any description of Helen's singing. Powers knows that Helen cannot carry a tune, but he cannot bear to convey this message to her. He says, "I didn't have the heart to tell her how unbearable this music sounded" (235). There are very few parents that would actually inform their child about a lack of talent in a certain area.