Electra Complex

Topics: Sigmund Freud, Penis envy, Electra complex Pages: 5 (1372 words) Published: October 6, 2012
Electra complex
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Electra complex: Electra at the Tomb of Agamemnon, byFrederic Leighton, c.1869 In Neo-Freudian psychology, the Electra complex, as proposed by Carl Gustav Jung, is a child’s psychosexual competition with his/her mother for possession of his/her father. In the course of her psychosexual development, the complex is the girl’s phallic stage; formation of a discrete sexual identity, a boy’s analogous experience is the Oedipus complex. The Electra complex occurs in the third — phallic stage (ages 3–6) — of five psychosexual development stages: (i) the Oral, (ii) the Anal, (iii) the Phallic, (iv) theLatent, and (v) the Genital — in which the source libido pleasure is in a different erogenous zone of the infant’s body. In classical psychoanalytic theory, the child’s identification with the same-sex parent is the successful resolution of the Electra complex and of the Oedipus complex; his and her key psychological experience to developing a mature sexual role and identity. Sigmund Freud instead proposed that girls and boys resolved their complexes differently — she via penis envy, he via castration anxiety; and that unsuccessful resolutions might lead to neurosis, paedophilia, and homosexuality. Hence, women and men who are fixatedin the Electra and Oedipal stages of their psychosexual development might be considered “father-fixated” and “mother-fixated” as revealed when the mate (sexual partner) resembles the father or the mother. Contents  [hide]  * 1 Background * 2 Characteristics * 3 Case studies * 4 Electra in fiction * 5 Electra in poetry * 6 Electra in Music * 7 See also * 8 References * 9 Further reading| -------------------------------------------------


The Electra complex: Electra and Orestes, matricides.
As a psychoanalytic metaphor for daughter–mother psychosexual conflict, the Electra complex derives from the 5th-century BC Greek mythologic character Electra, who plotted matricidal revenge with Orestes, her brother, against Clytemnestra, their mother, and Aegisthus, their stepfather, for their murder of Agamemnon, their father, (cf.Electra, by Sophocles).[1][2][3] Sigmund Freud developed the female aspects of the sexual development theory — describing the psychodynamics of a girl’s sexual competition with mother for sexual possession of father — as the feminine Oedipus attitude and the negative Oedipus complex;[4] yet it was his collaborator Carl Jung who coined the term Electra complex in 1913.[5][6][7] Freud rejected Jung’s term as psychoanalytically inaccurate: “that what we have said about the Oedipus complex applies with complete strictness to the male child only, and that we are right in rejecting the term ‘Electra complex’, which seeks to emphasize the analogy between the attitude of the two sexes”.[8] In forming a discreted sexual identity (ego) a girl’s decisive psychosexual experience is the Electra complex — daughter–mother competition for possession of father.[9] It is in the phallic stage (ages 3–6), when children become aware of their bodies, the bodies of other children, and the bodies of their parents that they gratify physical curiosity by undressing and exploring each other and their genitals — the erogenous center — of the phallic stage; thereby learning the physical differences between “male” and “female” and the gender differences between “boy” and “girl”. When a girl’s initial sexual attachment to mother ends upon discovering that she has no penis, she then transfers her libidinal desire(sexual attachment) to father and increases sexual competition with her mother. -------------------------------------------------

The psychodynamic character of the daughter–mother relationship in the Electra complex derives from penis envy, caused by mother, who also caused the girl's castration; however, upon re-aligning her sexual...
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