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Perelberg, R.J. (2009). Murdered father; dead father: Revisiting the Oedipus complex. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 90(4):713-732.
    

(2009). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 90(4):713-732

Murdered father; dead father: Revisiting the Oedipus complex

Rosine J. Perelberg

(Final version accepted 8 December 2008)

This paper recovers the notion of the sacrifice of sexuality as the central, tragic, element of the oedipal structure. This notion has been largely abandoned in the psychoanalytic literature that has tended to reduce the oedipal structure to processes of exclusion. The paper traces the development of the theoretical and clinical transformations of Frend's ideas on the role of the father and suggests that they allow us to more fully comprehend the Oedipus complex proposed by Frend A paradox is explored: the killing of the father is, in Frend's view, the requirement for the creation of the social order which, from then on, prohibits all killings. The father, however, has to be killed metaphorically only, as the actual exclusion of the father lies at the origin of so many psychopathologies from violence to the psychoses and perversions. The paper analyses the fundamental asymmetry that is present in the Oedipal structure and suggests that the three elements of the oedipal triangle constitute the law (of the dead father, that institutes the sacrifice of sexuality), desire (for the lost object) and identification (with both father and mother). Two clinical examples are discussed. In the first, one can identify a perverse structure in which the father has been murdered: in the second, there is a progressive construction of the dead (symbolic) father in the analytic process.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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