The Events Of Parricide And Their Motivation English Literature Essay
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Parricide can be defined as the murder of one's father or other near relative, a parricida, a person who murders his or her mother or father or sometimes a close relative  . Whilst the texts 'Oedipus the King' by Sophocles, 'The Brothers Karamazov' by Dostoevsky and 'Hamlet' by William Shakespeare all focus on the murder of the father; Fyodor Pavlovich Kamarazov, Claudius and Horatio in 'Hamlet' and Laius in 'Oedipus the King', for the purposes of this project I will use the term 'parricide' rather than 'patricide' (the specific murder of the father), as this is the term that Freud himself uses in his paper 'Dostoevsky and parricide'  . Freud explained parricide in terms of psychoanalysis and more specifically in terms of the Oedipus complex. In psychoanalytic theory, the term Oedipus complex denotes the emotions and ideas that the mind keeps repressed in the unconscious. These repressed thoughts concentrate upon a boy's desire to sexually possess his mother, and kill his father  . According to Freud, we are all, as young children, gripped by the "compulsion" embodied in 'Oedipus the King' by Sophocles, to kill our father. "Parricide" is when the fantasy is acted out, when the murder of the father is no longer merely imagined. Freud introduced the hypothesis of parricide in the fourth chapter of Totem and Taboo (1912-1913a)  . Freud coined the term "Oedipus complex" when speaking of the moment when a boy "begins to desire his mother . . . and to hate his father anew as a rival who stands in the way of this wish" 
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Freud believed the Oedipus complex to be a universal phenomenon, prevalent in all humans, with parricide the ultimate expression of the complex.  Freud identified five stages in the development of a child's sexual development; (i) the Oral, (ii) the Anal, (iii) the Phallic, (iv) the Latent, and (v) the Genital. In each of these stages, the source libido pleasure is in a different zone of the infant's body, with the Oedipus complex occurring in the phallic stage (ages 3-6). In Freudian theory, the child's identification with the same-sex parent is the successful resolution of the Oedipus complex (the Electra complex in the case of women). Freud further proposed that unsuccessful resolutions might lead to neurosis, paedophilia, homosexuality and particularly in the case of men, even parricide. It is important to note that whilst Freud believed the Oedipus complex to be universal, he did believe that girls and boys resolved their complexes differently; he via castration anxiety and she via penis envy  . Freud suggested that fear of castration in men was the manifestation of ambivalent feelings towards his father's place in the family.
As mentioned above, Freud identified the phallic stage as when the Oedipus complex occurs, with the child at this time beginning to direct infantile libidinal energy at the parents.  In boys this energy is directed upon his mother and this results in jealous rivalry being directed against his father, as it is his father who possesses the mother sexually.  Furthermore in order to gain sexual possession of the mother, the boy's id (the irrational, primitive part of personality, present at birth, subconscious and demands immediate satisfaction) desires to kill father but the child's ego (the conscious, rational part of personality, develops as the infant interacts with the constraints of reality and thus is governed by the reality principle), understands that at this young age, that the father is the stronger man competing to possess the mother. It is this understanding and the conflicting desire that results in the fear of castration (this fear is aggravated by the infantile assumption that girls are castrated males, according to Freud). 
Penis envy is the resolution of the Oedipus complex in girls; the Electra Complex (this term derives from the 5th-century BC Greek mythological character Electra, who plotted matricidal revenge with Orestes, her brother, against Clytemnestra, their mother, and Aegisthus, their stepfather, for the murder of Agamemnon, their father, from the play 'Electra', by Sophocles  ), although it is important to note that this term was actually coined by Freud's collaborator Carl Jung in 1913  . Freud actually rejected this term due to it's attempt to provide an analogy with the Oedipus complex, which Freud distinguished as in the strictest sense as only applying to men, due to the different ways in which girls and boys resolved their complexes; "that what we have said about the Oedipus complex applies with complete strictness to the male child only, and that we are right in rejecting the term 'Electra complex', which seeks to emphasize the analogy between the attitude of the two sexes"  . Freud preferred to use the terms 'feminine Oedipus attitude' and 'the negative Oedipus complex'  , however, this is a difference of language and for the purposes of this essay, the term 'Electra Complex' is useful in distinguishing between the male and female complexes. As with boys, girls also direct libidinal energy towards the mother during the phallic stage of psychosexual development, however, without a penis, the girl understands that she can never sexually possess her father. According to Freud, unable to fulfil the Id's desire to sexually possess the mother, the girl irrationally blames the mother for her apparent castration and redirects her libidinal energy towards the father, in competition with the mother. As with the Oedipus complex, with the Electra complex, the girl's Id demands the removal of the competition for the sexual possession of the father, these matricidal feelings conflict with the girl's fear to lose her mother's love. According to Freud, the culmination of the Electra complex is in bearing a child who replaces the girl's absent penis.
Freud's belief was that the Oedipus complex is completely universal  and so can absolutely explain the events of parricide and their motivation, in 'Oedipus the King' by Sophocles, 'The Brothers Karamazov' by Dostoevsky and 'Hamlet' by William Shakespeare  . For Freud, the Oedipus complex is present not only in these works' characters, but in their authors and in their readers as well. Freud believed that the greatest works of world literature all concern parricide and that all events of parricide can be explained by the Oedipus complex  . Freud addressed this in his article 'Dostoevsky and Parricide' in which he specifically refers to the texts 'Oedipus the King' by Sophocles, 'The Brothers Karamazov' by Dostoevsky and 'Hamlet' by William Shakespeare and applies his own psychoanalytic theory in his criticism of the texts  . However, Freud's definition and explanation for the events of parricide and their motivation, in 'Oedipus the King' by Sophocles, 'The Brothers Karamazov' by Dostoevsky and 'Hamlet' by William Shakespeare has been criticised for both it's psychological basis and by literary critics whom have provided alternative interpretations for the events of parricide in these texts. Although hailed as revolutionary and widely recognised for his work into psychoanalysis and the unconscious, Freud, and in particular the Oedipus complex, has been widely discredited and so whether or not Freud's definition and explanation for parricide acurately and adequately explains the events of parricide and their motivation, in 'Oedipus the King' by Sophocles, 'The Brothers Karamazov' by Dostoevsky and 'Hamlet' by William Shakespeare is certainly questionable.
The very existance of the Oedipus Complex has been questioned on a psychological basis. Otto Rank, another of Freud's colleagues, suggested that the super-ego, rather than formed as the infant boy internalizes the familial rules of his father, it is in fact a boy's powerful mother that is the source of the super-ego  . If this revision to Freud's theory is accepted then the Oedipus Complex can hardly, adequately explain the events of parricide and their motivation, in 'Oedipus the King' by Sophocles, 'The Brothers Karamazov' by Dostoevsky and 'Hamlet' by William Shakespeare, as none of these texts feature matricide (although in 'Oedipus the King', Oedipus' mother Jacosta does commit suicide, upon discovering that her marriage to Oedipus is incestruous  ). Rank suggested that there may be a "phase before the development of the Oedipus complex"; however, Freud rejected this of course, insisting on the universality of the Oedipus Complex, as the nucleus of all neurosis and the foundational source of all art, myth, religion, philosophy and therapy. However, Freud's insistence that the Oedipus complex is the sole cause for neurosis, and in extreme cases parricide, means that Freud cannot acurately and adequately explain the events of parricide and their motivation, in 'Oedipus the King' by Sophocles, 'The Brothers Karamazov' by Dostoevsky and 'Hamlet' by William Shakespeare. Oedipus in 'Oedipus the King' was not raised by his biological, but was abandoned as a baby; "A roisterer at some banquet, flown with wine,
Shouted "Thou art not true son of thy sire  ." According to Freud, the Oedipus complex does not manifest itself until the phallic stage (ages 3-6) of a child's psychosexual development  and so Oedipus' murder of Laius could not have been motivated by the jealousy and the desire to sexually possess his mother Jacosta that arise from an unresolved Oedipus complex, as at the ages when the Oedipus complex manifests itself Oedipus was not being raised by his biological parents and had not even properly met them and so if he was to develop a complex towards anyone it would have been his adoptive parents Polybus and Merope. For this reason in the case of Oedipus, Otto Rank's suggestion of a "phase before the development of the Oedipus complex"  is a more appropriate possible suggestion for the motivations behind Oedipus' murder of Laius, although really due to his complete lack of contact with his parents until later life, it is hard to accept any psychological explanation, over Oedipus' own, that he was beset on the road; "As I drew near the triple-branching roads,
A herald met me and a man who sat
In a car drawn by colts--as in thy tale--
The man in front and the old man himself
Threatened to thrust me rudely from the path,
Then jostled by the charioteer in wrath
I struck him, and the old man, seeing this,
Watched till I passed and from his car brought down
Full on my head the double-pointed goad.
Yet was I quits with him and more; one stroke
Of my good staff sufficed to fling him clean
Out of the chariot seat and laid him prone.
And so I slew them every one. But if
Betwixt this stranger there was aught in common
With Laius, who more miserable than I,
What mortal could you find more god-abhorred?" 
The very timeline imposed on the development of the Oedipus complex by Freud means that his definition and explanation for parricide cannot acurately and adequately explain the events of parricide and their motivation, in 'Oedipus the King' by Sophocles, 'The Brothers Karamazov' by Dostoevsky and 'Hamlet' by William Shakespeare. Similarily to Oedipus, although Smerdyakov definitely harbored hatred for his father, this could not have been born out of a rivalry to sexually possess his mother, who died giving birth to Smerdyakov  . The motivations of parricide in 'The Brothers Karamazov' is obvious; years of misuse aggravated by a misguided moral compass, having internalised Ivan Karamazov's atheistic philosophy, specifically that the soul is not immortal, and that therefore morality does not exist and the categories of good and evil are irrelevant to human experience; "If God does not exist, everything is permitted."  In Smerdyakov, Ivan finds a prime subject for his selfish philosophy and Smerdyakov, who has no friends and has been devalued all his life, welcomes the presence of Ivan, with whom he shares an atheistic philosophy. Ivan when saying that "All is lawful"  gave Smerdyakov, who watched Ivan most closely for direction, what he took for tacit approval to do as he thought fit - even to murder. In Hamlet, again it seems impossible for Freud's definition and explanation for parricide acurately and adequately explain the events of parricide and their motivation, as Claudius is not Hamlet's father, merely his stepfather and far from his murder being driven by a rivalry for sexual possession of the mother formed during the phallic stage of his psychosexual development, Hamlet killed Claudius out of revenge for his father; "And so am I revenged. That would be scann'd:
A villain kills my father; and for that,
I, his sole son, do this same villain send
To heaven." 
It is Freud's rigid insistence that the Oedipus complex is universal and that any neurosis or abnormal behaviour has a sexual route cause that has led to some of Freud's greatest criticism and why it is impossible for Freud's definition and explanation for parricide to acurately and adequately explain the events of parricide and their motivation, in 'Oedipus the King' by Sophocles, 'The Brothers Karamazov' by Dostoevsky and 'Hamlet' by William Shakespeare. Even if one is to accept that an unresolved Oedipus complex could at least have contributed to the motivations for the acts of parricide , in 'Oedipus the King' by Sophocles, 'The Brothers Karamazov' by Dostoevsky and 'Hamlet' by William Shakespeare, for Freud, the Oedipus complex, is the only possible factor; "Neurosis is the result of a conflict between the ego and its id, whereas psychosis is the analogous outcome of a similar disturbance in the relation between the ego and the external world."  In 'The Brothers Karamazov', Ivan Karamazov does hint that aggressive feelings towards one's father are prevelant in all of society, asking the question "Who doesn't desire his father's death?"  Furthermore, Hamlet's anger towards Claudius, doesn't arise until after Claudius marries his mother and so there is some argument that perhaps there is some form of sexual rivalry for Hamlet's mother. In 'Oedipus the King', Oedipus does kill his father and marry his mother, at first glance a prime example of an unresolved Oedipus complex, with Freud insisting that this is why the play status has status as a literary masterpeice and why the complex bears Oedipus' name; "Being in love with the one parent and hating the other are among the essential constituents of the stock of psychical impulses which is formed at that time and which is of such importance in determining the symptoms of the later neurosis... This discovery is confirmed by a legend that has come down to us from classical antiquity: a legend whose profound and universal power to move can only be understood if the hypothesis I have put forward in regard to the psychology of children has an equally universal validity. What I have in mind is the legend of King Oedipus and Sophocles' drama which bears his name."  However, as already discussed, an unresolved Oedipus complex can at the most be a small contributing factor; even if Hamlet's rage for Claudius is to some extent born out of rivalry to sexually possess his mother, Claudius is still his uncle and not his father, Smerdyakov Karamazov never knew his own mother and Oedipus' murder of his father was in ignorance, as was his incestuous relationship with his mother Jacosta, which upon discovering the truth horrified Oedipus; "He rips off her brooches, the long gold pins holding her robes-and lifting them high, looking straight up into the points, he digs them down the sockets of his eyes, crying, 'You, you'll see no more the pain I suffered, all the pain I caused! Too long you looked on the ones you never should have seen, blind to the ones you longed to see, to know! Blind from this hour on! Blind in the darkness-blind!'" 
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Other emotional reasons; revenge, abuse, pride, as well as cruel coincidences of fate are all greater influences on the events of parricide and their motivation, in 'Oedipus the King' by Sophocles, 'The Brothers Karamazov' by Dostoevsky and 'Hamlet' by William Shakespeare than any tenuous oedipal contribution, however, Freud's theory has no place for any combination of factors or emotion, everything is sexual; "Sexuality is the key to the problem of the psychoneuroses and of the neuroses in general. No one who disdains the key will ever be able to unlock the door."  It is this completely emotionless approach to neurosis and parricide that Otto Rank had considered revising. Another colleague of Freud's and close friend and collaborator of Rank, Sándor Ferenczi supported Rank that Freud's insistence that analysts be emotionless had led to "an unnatural elimination of all human factors in the analysis"  . All emotional experience by human beings was being reduced by analysis to a derivative, no matter how disguised, of libido. For Freud, emotion was always sexual; "Libido is an expression taken from the theory of the emotions."  Rank further observed that "surgical therapy is uprooting and isolates the individual emotionally, as it tries to deny the emotional life"  . Reducing all emotional experience-all feeling, loving, thinking, and willing, to sex was, according to Rank, one of Freud's biggest mistakes. For Rank, emotions are the key part of relationships and denial of the emotional life leads to denial of the will and the creative life. 
Rank described Freud's view that "the emotional life develops from the sexual sphere, therefore his sexualization in reality means emotionalization"  In this way, Rank's approach to psychoanalysis provides a much better explanation for the events of parricide and their motivation, in 'Oedipus the King' by Sophocles, 'The Brothers Karamazov' by Dostoevsky and 'Hamlet' by William Shakespeare than Freud'; Hamlet and Smerdyakov Karamazov's revenge, are unquestionalbly emotional acts and Oedipus' murder of Laius is in self-defense and anger at being set upon on the road. Privately, Ferenczi launched one of the most scathing attacks on Freud's arrogant approach to psychoanalysis that supports that Freud's definition and explanation for parricide cannot acurately and adequately explain the events of parricide and their motivation, in 'Oedipus the King' by Sophocles, 'The Brothers Karamazov' by Dostoevsky and 'Hamlet' by William Shakespeare, stating that; "â€¦ One learned from [Freud] and from his kind of technique various things that made one's life and work more comfortable: the calm, unemotional reserve; the unruffled assurance that one knows better; and the theories, the seeking and finding of the causes of failure in the patient instead of partly in ourselves â€¦"  This is a damning indictment of Freud and further support for Otto Rank's revision that any psychoanalysis and the diagnosis of any neurosis (that could possibly lead to parricide) must take emotional influences into consideration. 
Whilst providing the revolutionary idea of the subconscious and whilst inner conflict and child-parent conflict undoubtedly influences neurosis, Freud's problem was that without any significant evidence, he set out to prove his own theory, ignoring any evidence to the contrary. Although it can be argued that there are oedipal influences for the events of parricide and their motivation, in 'Oedipus the King' by Sophocles, 'The Brothers Karamazov' by Dostoevsky and 'Hamlet' by William Shakespeare, Freud's explanation is hardly adequate, for the main events of parricide in the texts, it is not even really possible for their protagonists to have developed an Oedipus complex. Freud would insist that even if the Oedipus complex is not is not present in the texts' characters, then it is present in their authors and that is behind the texts' writing, however, even if one is to accept this postulation, Freud's definition and explanation for parricide cannot acurately and adequately explain the events of parricide and their motivation, in 'Oedipus the King' by Sophocles, 'The Brothers Karamazov' by Dostoevsky and 'Hamlet' by William Shakespeare.
Freud explained Dostoevsky's motivation for writing 'The Brothers Karamazov' as the acceptance and resolution of his own Oedipus complex, having developed epilepsy because of the guilt he felt having desired his father's death, after his father was apparently killed by his own serfs.  Freud's support for this theory was that Dostoevsky's epileptic fits supposedly stopped upon completion of the 'The Brothers Karamazov', for Freud evidence of Dostoevsky's resolution of his own Oedipus complex, with the Karamazov brothers analogious for Dostoevsky's own inner conflict and the "wicked and sentimental buffoon", Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov representative of his own despotic father.  However, this is still not an adequate explanation for the events of parricide and their motivation, in 'Oedipus the King' by Sophocles, 'The Brothers Karamazov' by Dostoevsky and 'Hamlet' by William Shakespeare, as even if an Oedipus compex is present in their authors, there is no real evidence of an Oedipus complex in any of the texts' characters. Furthermore, Freud's essay 'Dostoyevsky and Parricide' has since been widely discredited. By Dostoevsky's own admission, his epilepsy did not occur until he was incarcerated in a Siberian labour camp in 1848 and the claim father died, murdered by his own serfs has also been disputed. On top of this, specialists in epilepsy, including the world-famous authority Henri Gastaut, while arguing with each other as to the precise nature of Dostoevsky's disease (temporal lobe epilepsy, generalized epilepsy, or a combination of the two) have been in agreement that Freud's diagnosis of "hystero-epilepsy" is utterly wrong. Specialists have since diagnosed that Dostoevsky suffered from true, organic epilepsy, which is physical in origin; due either to a lesion of the brain or heredity in cause and not a psychological neurosis caused by an unresolved Oedipus complex.
The very foundational evidence on which the basis of the Oedipus complex is set has been questioned. Freud presented the case study of a young boy 'Little Hans' in his paper 'Analysis of a Phobia in a Five-year-old Boy'  . Freud tried to display that the relation between Hans's fears, of horses and of his father, derived from external factors; the birth of a sister, and internal factors; the desire of the infantile id to replace father and sexually possess the mother and guilt for enjoying the masturbation normal to a boy of his age. Furthermore, Hans' admittance to wanting to sexually possess his mother was considered proof by Freud of the boy's sexual attraction to the opposite-sex parent.  However, Hans was unable to relate fearing horses to fearing his father and as the treating psychoanalyst, Freud noted that "Hans had to be told many things that he could not say himself" and that "he had to be presented with thoughts, which he had, so far, shown no signs of possessing"  . Here Freud admits to telling his patient what the root cause of his fear was, setting a dangerous president, as the patient could be diagnosed with a neurosis that the patient does not actually suffer from. Furthermore, Freud's definition of masturbation is warped, as is his definition of libido. Libido is generally defined as sexual desire, which is generally accepted to arise during puberty, not the young age suggested by Freud. Masturbation refers erotic stimulation especially of one's own genital organs commonly resulting in orgasm and achieved by manual or other bodily contact exclusive of sexual intercourse  . The immature contact of the genitals, by an infant, can hardly be viewed as sexual and biologically cannot result in orgasm.
Overall, although hailed as revolutionary and widely recognised for his work into psychoanalysis and the unconscious, Freud's explanation of parricide as a result of neuroses, due to an unresolved Oedipis complex, doesn't on several levels, not only in its application to the literary texts 'Oedipus the King' by Sophocles, 'The Brothers Karamazov' by Dostoevsky and 'Hamlet' by William Shakespeare, but at all on a basic psychologicaal basis. Freud's definition and explanation for parricide cannot acurately and adequately explain the events of parricide and their motivation, in 'Oedipus the King' by Sophocles, 'The Brothers Karamazov' by Dostoevsky and 'Hamlet' by William Shakespeare. Hamlet's murder of Claudius is unquestionably an act of revenge, for the murder of his father, with an unresolved Oedipus complex not really even a possible explanation, as Claudius was Hamlet's uncle and not his father. Oedipus' murder of Laius is a classic tragedy, a story of fate and misfortune, with Oedipus unwittingly murdering his father after being set upon along the road. Again, Oedipus' murder of Laius can hardly be explained by the complex that bares his name, as not knowing his biological father, Oedipus could not have developed an Oedipus complex, only discovering his father's identity in his relentless quest for the true, an ufortunate victim of fate and prophesy. Smerdyakov Karamazov, like the others could not have developed an Oedipus complex, with his mother having died during childbirth. Whilst undoubtedly harouring hatret for his cruel father, this could not have been born out of a rivalry to sexually possess Smerdyakov's mother, but rather the result of years of abuse, finally led to murder with the influence of his brothers. Smerdyakov was, "anti-baptized" by his childhood and Alyosha, who had a spiritual impact on everyone around him, avoided Smerdyakov, remaining a silent voice. Dmitri, was constantly shouting about killing Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov and Ivan's atheistic philosophy and rejection of any moral responsibility, gave Smerdyakov what he took as approval to murder.
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