Various works of literature contain characters who embody the elements of the classic Oedipus Complex, that of a son with an undue and unhealthy attachment to his mother. D.H Lawrence’s Sons and Lovers, along with other early modernist works, shows how a son’s bond to his mother can lead to that character’s major downfall. Even earlier than works of the late 19th Century does the Oedipus Complex appear, in this case, William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Shakespeare’s play about the Prince of Denmark shows the beginning of an Oedipal Complex, with Hamlet’s jealousy of his uncle Claudius for marrying his mother Gertrude and the rage that Hamlet’s emulation causes.
The story behind the Oedipus Complex derives from Sophocles story of Oedipus Rex, King of Thebes. Oedipus, crazed by his love for his mother and envy of his father, plots to kill his father and marry his mother. He succeeds in the murder of his father and marriage to his mother, and later his mother bears children to Oedipus, making a full incestuous cycle. Oedipus’ act on envy and rage leads to the character’s downfall, where his mother commits suicide and Oedipus himself gouges out his own eyes and suffers banishment from his country. The Oedipal Complex involves the indecorous and harmful attachment of a son to his mother, which ultimately leads to the son becoming morbidly suppressed and suffering mental impotence.
Shakespeare’s Hamlet evolves around the title character, Hamlet, and his obsession with correcting a wrong against his father, committed by his father’s brother Claudius. After the King’s death, Claudius marries Gertrude, Hamlet’s mother, and takes the throne. Enraged, Hamlet seeks vengeance for his father, whose spirit appears before Hamlet to speak of the unrest he (the King) endures. His depression, caused by the marriage, first shows in his soliloquy after the departure of the others when the whole...
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