We all know the story of Oedipus from the Greek myths as they portray him as the one who married his mother. This isn't just simple incest but a normal stage that exist in humans called the Phallic stage (Coon, 371). Sigmund Freud, a psychoanalyst described that these phallic fixations started around the ages of 3 and 6. Freud, therefore said this leads to the "Oedipus conflict or complex" in young males. Thus, the child is sexually attracted to the opposite gender parent. Why did Freud use Oedipus to describe this stage? To understand exactly what Freud was trying to interpret we must first understand the life of Oedipus, define Oedipus complex, and then explain how this fits into today's society.
The land of Thebes was ruled by King Laius and his wife Jocasta. King Laius discovered from an oracle that his son would kill him. King Laius avoided having children until one night he got intoxicated and slept with Jocasta anyways. Jocasta conceived their son, but King Laius ordered that the baby boy be taken away to his death and a rod through his ankles. Eventually, the baby ended up in the hands of the King and Queen of Corinth from a shepherd that took pity of the child. The Queen took the baby, and she then named him Oedipus, which means "swollen foot" (Powell, 455). Oedipus went on to grow up in Corinth, but always had questions of being adopted. One day he traveled to the oracle to find out whether he was adopted or not. The oracle told him that he would one day marry his mother and kill his father. In fear for his parents, Polybus and Merope, Oedipus decided not to go back to Corinth. So, instead Oedipus headed in the opposite direction toward Thebes. As Oedipus is on his journey, he ends up getting run off the road and driven to rage as he killed all the passengers and driver of the chariot. Oedipus not knowing what he did, has already killed his father Laius. Upon arriving at Thebes, Oedipus solves a riddle from the Sphinx who had been tormenting the town and causing chaos.