Oedipal tragedy and the Oedipus complex. Oedipus complex

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A prophecy was announced to the king of Thebes, Laios. Concerned about his infertility, he went to consult the oracle who told him that it was a blessing not enjoy fatherhood, for a son of his wife, Jocasta, would ruin him by dethroning him and taking his wife. So the king removed the queen from her bed. Jocasta, sensing the distance, got him drunk so that she could lie down with him and conceive. When the child was born, the king had him killed. A slave pierced the child's foot and hung it on a mound so that it would perish and the vultures would eat it.

But an unfortunate coincidence caused a shepherd to rescue the child and give him up to be raised by the childless King Polybus of Corinth. The child was called Oedipus (because his feet were swollen). Reaching adulthood, Oedipus consulted the oracle and the oracle told him that he would disgrace his family by murdering his father and taking his mother as his wife. Because he loved his adoptive parents, Oedipus decided to leave Corinth.

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On a road, Oedipus met Laios who ordered him to get out of the way of the carriage, to which Oedipus said he would obey only his parents and the gods. A slave of Laios, then, stepped over the foot of Oedipus, who, in a rage, killed everyone without knowing that Laios was, in fact, his biological father. Laios had left Thebes looking to solve the problem of the Sphinx, a plague that plagued his city. This monster created a puzzle: “What has sometimes 2, sometimes 3, sometimes 4 legs and the more have, weaker is it?” Whoever didn't get the answer right would be devoured and the plague would continue to ravage the City. Oedipus, who met the monster, solved the riddle: it's the man, because he crawls as a child, walks as an adult and uses a cane when he's old. The sphinx self-destructed and the city was saved, acclaiming Oedipus as the new king. With that, he took Jocasta, his mother, for his wife, without knowing it. Thus, a new misfortune befell the city and to be repaired the error, the prophecies asked that the Theban who committed it die.

Without knowing who it was, the mystery was only revealed when the foster mother of Oedipus, Peribeia, in a letter, revealed the adoption of Oedipus. Jocasta killed herself on learning that she had become the wife of her son, with whom she had four children, and Oedipus, with the cameo (a pin) of Jocasta, became blind and wandered off into exile.

Now, this tragedy came about because at every moment every choice was made trying to avoid it. Fate, fatalism or freedom? This is the question that lingered in a Greece that aimed to consolidate democracy after a period of aristocracy based on myths and also, in modern times, to explain the functioning of the human psyche. Freud built the famous “Oedipus complex” using the example of tragedy to elucidate the most fundamental issues of human sexuality. Psychoanalysis understands that there is a close and deep emotional relationship between the child and the mother, which generates unconscious satisfaction and pleasure in the contact with breastfeeding, in addition to the father's image, in the child's view, as competitor. In its various stages of development, there is a tendency towards sexual pleasure, depending on how each one of them is developed (oral, anal and sexual stages).

An important reminder: there was an attempt to imitate the story of Greek tragedy in the Brazilian telenovela in the late 1980s. In 1987, Mandala aired on Rede Globo, in an adaptation by Dias Gomes of the text by Sófocles and starring Vera Fischer, Felipe Camargo and Nuno Leal Maia, among others.

By João Francisco P. Cabral
Brazil School Collaborator
Graduated in Philosophy from the Federal University of Uberlândia - UFU
Master's student in Philosophy at the State University of Campinas - UNICAMP

Source: Brazil School - https://brasilescola.uol.com.br/filosofia/a-tragedia-edipiana-complexo-Edipo.htm


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