Explain Freud’s theory of Oedipalisation. Does this explain patriarchy?
Sexuality and sexual desire are not typically associated with children, however Sigmund Freud, who was one of the great minds of the late 19th and early 20th century put forward many theories and ideas that still have some relevance in today’s societies, one of these theories was that he believed that sexuality was not learnt behaviour it was, however, innate behaviour that everyone was born with. Although many of the theories that Freud proposed have become outdated for today’s society the underlying ideas can still have relevance in explaining phenomena that are happening in modern society. Freud puts forward the theory of the Oedipus complex; which suggests that children develop a feeling of attraction towards a parent. The name coming from the Greek myth of Oedipus Rex. This essay explores Freud’s theory of Oedipalisation and the Oedipus complex and whether this theory can be used to explain patriarchy. Patriarchal societies will be explored and whether there is still a need for their relevance today as men are still often regarded as the more powerful gender.
The Oedipus complex is a psychoanalytic theory that was proposed by Sigmund Freud and is derived from the Greek myth of Oedipus Rex. The idea that a child could kill their father and then marry their mother, albeit unknowingly, has created an attractive prose for many writers and has been used by Freud to explain and explore the theory that children can hold feelings of attraction towards a parent of the opposite sex[footnoteRef:1]. This can also come with a sense of rivalry with the parent of the same sex. Freud believes this is a crucial and also a normal stage of developmental process for a child. This desire is repressed however, from a person’s conscious thought through socialisation. Socialisation and the pressure of conforming to societies norms can have an effect on how people tend to behave. Many people repress and internalize many of their desires which may have an adverse effect on their life in the later years. Freud believes that these repressed desires are buried in the unconscious because these desires break with social norms and would label the person, if these desires were acted upon, a deviant[footnoteRef:2]. [1: Sheleff, “Beyond the Oedipus complex: A perspective on the myth and reality of generational conflict”, 1976] [2: Craib, Psychoanalysis; a critical introduction, 22]
Freud’s belief around humanity was that all humans had two main desires that were an important factor in how people lived. These two desires that Freud uses to explain humanity are: Eros, which is believed to be the desire to bring about creativity, self-preservation, harmony, sexual connection, reproduction and harmony; and Thanatos, which is viewed as the opposing desire of destruction, self-destruction, anger, repetition, and impulse[footnoteRef:3]. The desire of Eros shows that this allows for a belief that sexuality can...