Oedipus Complex in the Kite

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The name of Oedipus has been borrowed from the classical story of king Oedipus who unknowingly married his own mother and had children by her. The psychologists, Sigmund Freud and others use the term Oedipus complex for ‘a manifestation of infantile sensuality in the relations of the child to its parents. It is a state in which a person shows excessive affection for the parent opposite in sex to him or herself, and corresponding distance from others’. A great part of his life is actually controlled by this subconscious desires and passions, over which he has no control.

The Kite by William Somerset Maugham is a study of particular psychological theories with reference to particular characters. The central theme of the story is Oedipal and it has been examined in all its ramifications. The story line is based on the primal relationship between Mrs. Beatrice Sunbury and her son Herbert. Here is replete with psychological truths, revealing attitudes, situations, and emotional states.

The over-possessive mother exercises an unhealthy influence on the emotional development of the growing boy. From the very early days Mrs. Sunbury wishes to nurture her son self-centric and possessive, her advice to her son is quite understandable. She says, “Now, Herbert, do what I do, keep yourself to yourself and don’t have anything to do with them than you can help”. Even she does not allow a single independent assertion on Herbert. Hence, when Herbert is twenty years of age, holding a steady job, Herbert’s father Samuel Sunbury asks if Herbert be get married Mrs. Sunbury’s reply is sharp and vicious. She answers: “I don’t hold with a man marrying till he knows his own mind’ ….. “And a man does not know his own mind till he is thirty or thirty-five”. Such a typical negative response is obviously of a jealous mother unwilling to share her son with a wife and who is trapping the soul of her son and ruins his personal.

Herbert loves her mother almost...
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