Spider and the Oedipus Complex

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In David Cronenberg's 2002 film Spider, the character Spider suffers from an Oedipus complex that is manifested so deeply in his psyche that it becomes a part of his whole being. As a child, Spider is sickened when his parents show affection towards one another because he also desires his mother sexually. According to Sigmund Freud's Oedipus complex, it is common for male children to feel this way towards their mothers, but when the male child begins to identify with their father they can repress their sexual feelings for their mother. As they connect to their father and distance themselves from their mother, they are then able to develop their male gender role. Since Spider was unable to do this he created images and characters in his mind, such as Yvonne to represent his mother, to distance his self from reality. As he gets older it becomes difficult to differentiate between his psyche and the Oedipus complex

The strong affections he witnessed between his parents could have caused an infantile neurosis, a psychic conflict that has been symbolically noted in the subject's early childhood which can be very dangerous for the future development of the child, and creating the beginning for future adult mental problems (Freud, Sigmund 1909). The infantile neurosis within Spider would have not have allowed the Oedipus complex to be completely resolved or for the Super Ego to develop, as it would in other children. Not being able to suppress his urges and therefore unable to establish his own persona could have contributed to the reasons that Spider did not have any friends. According to Freud, the three steps required to break with the Oedipus complex are: the inability to fulfill the wish for the mother, becoming disappointed by her, and finally, maturing (Hall, 1999 pg. 110). Spider could not accomplish any of these three steps, therefore not being able to break free of, or repress the Oedipus complex.

Even though Spider understood that his mother did...
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