Oedipus And Freud Essay, Research Paper
Can too much of a good thing be bad? Where does one draw the line at how much is enough and what is over the top? Oedipus relentless drive to uncover the truth and Sigmund Freud s persistence to interpret dreams are both fueled by their unwavering determination and sheer pride. It is pride that promotes their self-confidence to follow their own instincts rather than listening to others. Both Oedipus and Freud are driven by perseverance to come to what each considers a proper conclusion to their challenge. It is their arrogance that leads them to ignore the consequences that their own actions have caused. Paradoxily, without their overconfidence in their own ability, neither would have ever discovered the truth.
Sigmund Freud, as well as Oedipus, does not listen to the advice of others nor popular beliefs, instead they strive to discover the truth by following their own intuition. Freud believes that “(His) presumption that dreams can be interpreted at once puts (him) in opposition to the ruling theory and in fact to every theory of dreams ” (Freud 128). Yet, this does not deter him from striving to find what he feels is the correct way to interpret dreams. He continues his quest to discover the true meaning of dreams until he has solved the riddle. Oedipus emulates the same desire to discover the truth on his own rather than listening to others. After Teiresias reveals that Oedipus is in fact Laius s murderer, Oedipus tells him, “Off at once / Out of our sight! Go! Get whence you came.” (Oedipus 430-431). Oedipus does not want to hear what Teiresias has to say, instead he prefers to discover the truth on his own rather than have Teiresias hand it to him. In order to solve the mystery on his own Oedipus sends for the shepherd so that he can inquire as to the actual events of the murder (Oedipus 765). Neither Oedipus nor Freud listen to other s opinions and attempt to learn the truth on their own accord.
Freud and Oedipus are determined not to quit their causes until they attain a self-satisfying conclusion. Freud is unwavering in his quest to discover the true meaning of dreams. It is Freud s arrogance, brought on by his intelligence and his drive to interpret dreams, that even though “(He) felt tempted to follow the path marked out by Breur, in spite of every difficulty, till a complete explanation was reached.” (Freud 133). Despite the difficulty Freud encounters while reaching what he considered a satisfactory conclusion, he does not deter from his goal by using the thoughts of his predecessor. This same drive and perseverance can also be seen in Oedipus. Once Oedipus hears that the only way to save Thebes from the plague is to avenge the murder of Lauis, he vows, “I will begin again; I ll find the truth. / The dead man s cause has found no truer defender ” (Oedipus 131-132). Oedipus takes on the task of finding the murderer himself with complete unwavering determination. Oedipus goes on to say, “Nothing I / Will leave undone to find the man who killed / The son of Labdacus ” (Oedipus 263-265). Oedipus is determined to solve the mystery of who killed Lauis and he will let nothing stand in his way. Along the way of discovering the truth of Lauis murder, Oedipus begins to learn that his parents are not who he thought they were. When Jocasta tries to persuade Oedipus to stop looking into the mystery of his birth, Oedipus tells her “You cannot move me. I will know the truth.” (Oedipus 1065). Oedipus is steadfastly devoted to his quest for knowledge despite any personal ramifications it may have. Freud, as well as Oedipus, are focused to reach what each considers a proper conclusion to their challenge no matter what challenges they experience along the way.
Due to an overabundance of pride, neither Freud nor Oedipus are willing to accept the consequences of their respective actions. Freud learns that one of his patients, Irma, is not recovering from an ailment she had come to him, and he does not want to accept responsibility for not completely treating her infirmity. When he first learns of the problem Freud believes that he ” was not responsible for persistence of Irma s pains” (Freud 151). Later, when he dreams about Irma and her problem, he “was wishing that there had been a wrong diagnosis; for if so, the blame for (his) lack of success would have been got rid of.” (Freud 142). In Freud s dream he is “not responsible for the persistence of Irma s pains, but that Otto was.” (Freud 151). Freud is passing the responsibility of Irma s pains to Otto, rather than admitting that he is the one actually at fault. In Freud s own analysis of his dream he concludes that he ” was not to blame for Irma s pains since she herself was to blame for them by refusing to accept (his) solution.” (Freud 152). Freud blames everyone from Irma to a fellow doctor rather than accepting that he might have not properly cured Irma of her condition. This lack of concern for the consequences of one s actions can also be seen in Oedipus. After Teiresias proclaims it is Oedipus who murdered Laius, Creon wishes to inquire as to the validity of Teiresias statements. Oedipus says, “Ask what you will. You ll never prove I / killed him” (Oedipus 576-577). Oedipus is not open to believing that the man he killed could have been Lauis. Despite the consequences that result, both Oedipus and Freud are too proud of themselves to concede fault in their actions.
An over abundant amount of pride is necessary to reveal the truth, for without their arrogance neither Oedipus nor Freud would have ever reached their conclusions. Freud believes that “(He has) been taught better. (He has) been driven. (He) must affirm that dreams really have a meaning and that scientific procedure for interpreting them is possible.” (Freud 132). It is his arrogance in his intelligence that makes him believe that he is superior to all others, and only he can discover the true meaning of dreams. If he was not as confident in his ability, Freud would have simple accepted the popular theory and never thought to question it. Oedipus is just as overconfident in his ability to discover the truth as Freud is. The people come to Oedipus looking to him to save the city from the current plague, “For it was (Oedipus) who came and set (them) free / From the blood-tribute that the cruel Sphinx / Had laid upon our city We all entreat you on our bended knees, / Come to our rescue, whether from the gods / or from some man find the means to save.” (Oedipus 41-46). The people hope that since Oedipus was able to single-handedly save their city from the Sphinx, he will be able to put an end to the plague. Oedipus accepts the challenge to save the city from the plague, and boasts of his previous achievements. “I knowing nothing, put the Sphinx to flight, / Thanks to my wit no thanks to divination.” (Oedipus 397-398). Oedipus was able to solve the riddle of the Sphinx and triumphed over all others. He believes that he is above the gods, for he believes he is defying his fate, and he was able to save the city of Thebes. The overconfidence in their own intellect that both Oedipus and Freud possess is essential in discovering the truth.
Driven by steadfast determination and pride, Oedipus discovers the truth of his birth parents as well as solves the mystery of Laius murder, while Sigmund Freud s perseverance yields a new way to interpret dreams. Oedipus and Freud both strive to uncover the truth on their own without outside assistance. Neither will be satisfied until what they consider to be a proper conclusion has been reached. However, their own conceit leads them to disregard the consequences of their own actions. But without being haughty of their own acumen, neither Freud nor Oedipus would have discovered the truth. Arrogance in one s ability is necessary when striving to prove the validity of a new theory, or when trying to learn the truth about events that no one else has been able to solve. Before undertaking a task, one must first consider what risks are you willing to take. Oedipus, in solving Lauis murder and saving the city of Thebes from the plague, brought about his own downfall. Don t discredit other s advice, but take it with a grain of salt. Tiresias gives Oedipus the insight he asks for, even though Tiresias is correct, it is not what Oedipus wants to hear. However, if Freud had listened to popular beliefs, he would have never come to his own conclusion as to the true meaning of dreams. Set your sights on a goal and do not rest until it has been achieved. See it through, don t give up even when the odds are against you, and don t settle for half reached conclusions.