What are the psychological interpretations of Oedipus Rex by Sophocles?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The psychological implications of Oedipus have been debated with much intensity.  The validity of such claims will have to be analyzed elsewhere.  Some of the psychology revolves around the relationship between boys and their mothers (can also apply to girls and their fathers.)  The killing of the father by the son and usurping his role with mother and wife lies at the root of the psychology of Oedipus.  Sigmund Freud was very fond of analyzing this trend in psychology.  His basic premise was that there is a conflict between the desire to respect the authority of the father with the desire to overcome and subsume it.  The son becomes jealous, in a subconscious form, of the connection father holds with mother and as the son becomes older, he seeks to control and take ownership of that connection himself.  Freud likens a great deal of tension between sons and fathers to this sensation.  In addition to this, Freud also claims that this is why there is certain tension between mother and son, for the latter perceives himself to be something other than simply one role.  Freud argues that these impulses are subconscious, but help to form the basic relationship dynamics between these individuals in a family unit.