More Oedipal References


I overlooked some  obvious literary applications of Oedipus Rex, to, of course, Hamlet, King Lear and Macbeth. As Harold Bloom says, instead of doing a Freudian reading of Shakespeare, do a Shakespearean reading of Freud. Perhaps, the Oedipus Complex should have been named the Hamlet Complex, where Freud, so the story goes, discovered his most important analysis at work.

There is also this contemporary usage of Oedipus Rex:  In Woody Allen’s Mighty Aphrodite there is a scene set in the old open Athenian amphitheatre, and one masked Chorus member is speaking with Jocasta:

“Look! Here’s a man who killed his father, and slept with his mother.”
“I hate to tell you what they call my son in Harlem.”

Allen’s Oedipus Wrecks after the break.


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2 thoughts on “More Oedipal References

  1. Peter StirFrye Yan

    Last Oedipal Reference in Greek Mythology:

    Forgive me Russell for one more Oedipal reference to Greek Mythology itself. The Father killing Son and vice-versa begins in the Creation Myths where Cronus kills Uranus, Zeus threatens Cronus, and Prometheus is tortured by Zeus for giving fire to his creation, Man. Moreover, Frye tells us that the myth of the crucifixion means anyone who says they are God will be killed, as no society can bear a perfect being.

  2. Robert D. Denham

    Then there’s Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49, which Frye refers to thrice in his writing, though not with an eye toward the Oedipus parallels.


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