The Psychoanalytic Criticism Of Oedipus The King Essay

The Psychoanalytic Criticism Of Oedipus The King Essay

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The Psychoanalytic criticism is a literary criticism that is used to interpret texts and their deeper meaning of psychology. Sigmund Freud is the founder of this literary criticism and it has been put into practice since its conception. It is used to psychologically analyze a certain author or a certain character in a work. Its purpose is to understand a work by treating the chosen character as a case study and to look for certain psychological tendencies in the actions or thoughts of the characters. Much of Freud’s theories come from the very famous play by Sophocles, Oedipus the King. In this play, Oedipus kills his father, and ends up marrying his mother, all being done unconsciously. Through this play, Freud derives his theory which is called the “Oedipal complex.” At the time of the writing of Oedipus the King, the audience did not have the benefit of the Psychoanalytic criticism to interpret its meaning. However, in present times, we have the opportunity to analyze such works with our new given insight using this criticism. It is through this that new aspects and interpretations manifest, a few being Oedipus’s mother fixation, his complete unconsciousness, and the theory itself being universal through time.
The First thing that is seen through this new aspect is his unwillingness to see that his wife Jocasta, is also his mother. This directly resembles the mother fixation theory by Freud in that the child is unwilling to accept truth. In the mother fixation theory the son is not aware of his desires of his mother, and often times when they are adults they end up marrying someone very similar to their mother. Mother fixation is often time caused by not conquering the psychosexual developments. Oedipus may not have developed ...


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...ical development of a child, as universal concepts because many examples are shown throughout history.
In conclusion, in light of the insight that Psychoanalytic criticism can offer, we are able to see that Oedipus was mother fixated, he was blind to his taboo, and also that Oedipus the King is a valuable resource and inspiration for Freud’s own theory regarding the development of psychology in a child. At the time of the writing of Oedipus the King, the audience did not have the benefit of the Psychoanalytic criticism to interpret its meaning as we do now. This criticism allows for explanation and sense of strange occurrences that can only be explained by psychology. It also can be crucial while interpreting certain texts because of the underling psychological issues and understandings that are present within the author, as well as the characters he or she creates.

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