Q:

What are the symptoms of an Oedipus complex?

A:

An Oedipus complex is manifested by a deep affection for the parent of the opposite sex, a brusque attitude or indifference to the same-sex parent, a perception that the beloved parent is the focus of the child's life, an expressed desire to marry the beloved parent, over-sensitivity to any seeming rejection by the beloved parent and fantasizing about sexual relations with this parent, according to About.com Psychology.

Sigmund Freud conceived of the Oedipus complex to explain a certain stage in a child's development. He took the name from a play in ancient Greece called Oedipus Rex. In the play, a fortune teller predicts that the baby Oedipus will someday marry his mother and kill his father. To thwart this fate, Oedipus's mother gives her baby to shepherds with orders to kill him. Instead, the shepherds raise the young king and he eventually and unknowingly fulfills his destiny. Freud viewed the Oedipus complex as explaining the developmental stage when a child transfers his devotion from the breast to his mother, according to Purdue University's English department. Women who exhibit a similar obsession with their fathers are said to have the Elektra complex, which Freud derived from a Greek play called Antigone. Both plays were written by Sophocles.


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