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Mahony, P. (2010). The Oedipus Rex of Sophocles and Psychoanalysis. Int. J. Appl. Psychoanal. Stud., 7(4):290-306.

(2010). International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies, 7(4):290-306

The Oedipus Rex of Sophocles and Psychoanalysis

Patrick Mahony, Ph.D.

Sophocles' universal classic, ever relevant to psychoanalysis in its continual development, dramatizes a gamut of psychodynamic factors, ranging from the pre-Oedipal to the Oedipal and post-Oedipal. Shedding light on those psychodynamics, the present analysis of Oedipus Rex stands apart in three interlocking ways. First, it focuses nearly exclusively on the play's text and not on the broader Oedipal myth in classical times. Secondly, based on a close examination of the original Greek text, including all-important signifiers, it uncovers such elements as the previously neglected extensiveness of Sophocles' erotically charged language and the suggestiveness of his apparent, though conflict-laden tautologies. Thirdly, the study at hand deepens as well as harmonizes a psychoanalytic approach to Oedipus Rex with the orientation of classicists who are wont to emphasize the very role of the divinity that is usually downplayed by psychoanalysts. A hermeneutic integration of the classicists' outlook on grandiose hubris involves an appreciation of the role of the ideal ego, especially at the play's ending, which classicists have attended to only in the comparatively recent past and which has been nearly totally disregarded in psychoanalytic literature.

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