I chose to add this citation for its uniqueness. It is very enlightening!

Psychoanalytic Terms and Concepts

Moore, Burness E. & Fine, Bernard D. - Psychoanalytic Terms & Concepts, New Haven, The American Psychoanalytic Association and Yale University Press, 1990, p.134 - Buy this book


"The classic myth, as rendered in Sophocles' Oedipus Rex, tells of Laius, king of Thebes, who was warned by an oracle that a son yet to be born would kill him. When Jocasta, the queen, gave birth to a boy, the king ordered that the infant be exposed to die on a mountainside. A shepherd found the infant and brought him to king Polybus, who adopted the boy. As a young man, Oedipus left Corinth and chanced to meet Laius at a cross-roads; in a quarrel about the right-of-way, he slew the king, his father. Oedipus next came to the Sphynx, who blocked the road to Thebes and challenged every traveler to answer a riddle or die. Oedipus mastered the riddle and the Sphynx jumped to her death in mortification. The grateful Thebans made Oedipus king and married him to Jocasta. However, the gods would not tolerate incest, even without conscious participation, and a plague fell upon Thebes. According to the oracle, finding the murderer of Laius was the price for lifting the plague. As Sophocles' play unfolds, Oedipus, sworn to uncover the crime and thus save the city, finds he is the murderer, married to his own mother. In the tragic ending, Jocasta hangs herself and Oedipus blinds himself with the brooch used to fasten her dress.

Freud's knowledge of the variants of the myth remain uncertain, according to his biographers. However, subsequent applications of psychoanalysis highlight the father Laius' hubris - his arrogance in trespassing against the gods - which brought upon him his horrific fate. As a youthful heir to the throne of Thebes, Laius had fled a usurping uncle. During the course of his travels Laius found himself under the protection of King Pelops. When Laius abducted and sodomized the Pelops's illegitimate son, however, his erstwhile host exacted revenge at the assault upon his hospitality and paternity. Pelops together with Zeus and Hera, cursed Laius for assaulting the sacred values of hospitality and paternity. They condemned him to his fate, to be murdered by a son and replaced by the son in his wife's bed. Freud's omission of this background in the retelling of the narrative may have led his followers to overemphasize the "positive" oedipal elements in the drama and the conflicts to which it pertained, underplaying its homosexual as well as the infanticidal motives that served as a counterpoint to the patricide. Freud later corrected himself, elaborating his understanding of the oedipal drama in his case histories and in autobiographical addenda to his dream book."

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