Did Oedipus suffer from the Oedipal Complex? A psychological analysis of Oedipus in Oedipus the King

Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Southern New Hampshire University
Sophocles’ Oedipus the King is commonly known for its famous plot of Oedipus killing his father and having sexual relations with his mother. Sigmund Freud developed the Oedipal Complex in response to these events, concluding that it was a universal psychological phenomenon, but the events that transpire in the play are a result of Oedipus’ sin of not knowing himself, which lead to his inability to recognize his biological parents. In mislabeling Oedipus’ sin, Freud discovered Oedipus’ true sin of not knowing himself without realizing it. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs explains that if a person skips over or does not fulfill their need to be loved and to belong, they will have low self-esteem and be susceptible to depression, social anxiety, and loneliness (“Maslow’s Hierarchy”). Because Oedipus did not fulfill his need to be loved and to belong, he suffered from low self-esteem and as a result, he sought out fame and glory as the King of Thebes. (Author abstract)