The Oedipus Complex

Oedipus explains the riddle of the sphinx. (Image source: Wikipedia)

“Oedipus is the son of Laius who is the King of Thebes, and of Jocasta. Laius had been warned by an oracle that his still unborn child would be his murderer. Therefore, Oedipus was exposed as an infant, but he was rescued, and grew up as a prince in an alien court.  After he grew up he started to doubt and question his origin, and thereby learned the oracle that he is destined to murder his father and take his mother in marriage. After learning this, he leave what he believed was his home.

Oedipus and Sphinx

On his road, he met King Laius and killed him in a sudden quarrel. After that he came next to the Thebes and solved the riddle asked by the Sphinx who barred his way. As he solved the riddle, the Thebans made him their king out of gratitude and gave him Jocasta as his wife. He reigned for a long time in peace and honour, and Jocasta bore him two sons and two daughters. Then a plague broke out and the oracle was enquired by the Thebans. The messengers bring back the reply that the plague will cease when the murdere of King Laius has been driven from the land.


Then the tragedy starts. With cunning delays and ever-mounting excitement we see that Oedipus learns that he is the murderer of Laius and that he is the son of the murdered man and of Jocasta. Appalled at the abomination which he has unwittingly perpetrated, Oedipus blinds himself and forsakes his home. The oracle has been fulfilled.”




Taken from “The Interpretation of Dreams.”