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Oedipus complex

Drawing on the Greek myth of Oedipus as dramatized by Sophocles in the tragedy Oedipus the King , Freud describes the Oedipus complex as a stage in a child's development in which the child experiences an erotic attachment to one parent and hostility toward the other parent. The tension generated in this emotional triangle is a key element in the psychic development of the individual; Freud traces virtually all mental disorders to some problem with the transition through the Oedipal stage. The drama of the Oedipal complex is usually linked to the concept of "castration anxiety" for the male (the father intervenes in the boy's relationship with his mother with the threat of castration) and "penis envy" for the female (the girl perceives herself as lacking the penis and her attraction for her father is in part conditioned by her desire to possess it). These penis-centered responses for both male and female children make up the castration complex.