Page:Psychology of the Unconscious (1916).djvu/26

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


and desires demanding satisfaction which can only be gratified by the mother; therefore there is aroused in the small son the feeling of jealousy and anger towards the father in whom he sees a rival for the affection of the mother and whom he would like to replace. This desire in the soul of the child Freud calls the Oedipus complex in recognition of its analogy to the tragedy of King Oedipus who was drawn by his fate to kill his father and win his mother for a wife. Freud presents this as the nuclear complex of every neurosis.

At the basis of this complex, some trace of which can be found in every person, Freud sees a definite incest wish towards the mother which only lacks the quality of consciousness. Because of moral reactions this wish is quickly subjected to repression through the operation of the “incest barrier,” a postulate he compares to the incest taboo found among inferior peoples. At this time the child is beginning to develop its typical sexual curiosity expressed by the question, “Where do I come from?” The interest and investigation of the child into this problem, aided by observations and deductions from various actions and attitudes of the parents, who have no idea of the watchfulness of the child, lead him, because of his imperfect knowledge and immature development, into many false theories and ideas of birth. These infantile sexual theories are held by Freud to be determinative in the development of the child’s character and also for the contents of the unconscious as expressed in a future neurosis.

These various reactions of the child and his sexual curi-