Meaning of Electra Complex

What is Electra Complex:

Electra’s complex is mentioned by the psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) to criticize Sigmund Freud for the lack of a female counterpart for his theory on the Oedipus complex.

The Electra complex was mentioned for the first time in 1913, as a complement to define the psychosexual development of children suggested by the psychiatrist Sigmund Freud (1856-1939). The latter defined the Oedipus complex as the universal paradigm of sexual and psychological human development.

Freud uses the elements of parricide, incest, and repression from the Greek Oedipus myth to define the Oedipus complex. Freud defines that the complex manifests itself as the first sexual impulse towards the mother and the first passionate hatred towards the father.

Freud does not accept the existence or the suggestion of the Electra complex. He alludes that the female version is called the female Oedipus complex, the desire for the father being a reflection of the “penis envy” suffered by women.

The Oedipus complex was coined by the psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) in 1900 in his work The interpretation of dreams (The Interpretation of Dreams) and meant a revolution for the psychoanalysis of the time.

See also Oedipus Complex.

the myth of electra

The Electra Complex is based on Greek mythology that recounts the bravery, violence, intelligence and cruelty with which Electra plans and murders her mother Clytemnesta to avenge her beloved father Agamemnon.

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According to Greek mythology, Agamemnon and Clytemnesta had three children: Iphigenia, Electra, and Orestes. Agamemnon was the king of Mycenae and forced Clytemnesta, daughter of the kings of Sparta, to be his wife after having killed her husband. Clymnesta was the sister of Helen, who was married to Agamemnon’s brother.

When Helen is kidnapped by Prince Paris, Agamemnon heads to Troy, unleashing what is known as the Trojan War to help his brother Menelaus get his wife back. But before leaving, the king of Mycenae sacrifices his daughter Iphigenia for having unleashed the fury of Artemis.

Meanwhile, with the departure of Agamemnon, Clytemnesta takes Aegisthus as her lover who helps her with her revenge plan against her husband. When Agamemnon returns to Mycenae, Clytemnesta kills him while taking a bath. Electra and Orestes flee seeking refuge in Athens.

Clytemnesta and Aegisthus reign Mycenae for seven years until Orestes murders his mother to avenge his father’s death, under the leadership of Electra and the god Apollo.

See also Trojan horse.

The myth of Oedipus

The Oedipus complex is based on the Greek myth where the oracle of Delphi warns Laius and Jocasta that the son they will have will kill his father and marry his mother. The couple sends their firstborn to be sacrificed, who was hung by his pierced feet to die slowly. He was rescued by a shepherd who called the boy Oedipus: “the one with swollen feet.”

As time passes, Oedipus unknowingly fulfills the oracle’s predictions, killing his father Laius and marrying his mother Jocasta.

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The story of Oedipus is found in the play King Oedipus written by Sophocles.

See also:

  • Oedipus complex.
  • What is a complex in psychology?