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Electra Complex

A daughter's amorous obsession with her father. The term Electra complex comes from the plays of Euripides
and Sophocles entitled Electra, in which the character Electra drives her brother Orestes to kill their mother and
her lover in revenge for the murder of their father.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------The Electra complex is a concept found in Psychoanalytic theory that attempts to address issues of female
development. It is based largely on the work of Sigmund Freud, and uses the Oedipal complex as a point of
reference for its elaboration. Freud referred to it as the "feminine Oedipus attitude" in his own writings. It was
later renamed the "Electra complex" by his contemporary, Carl Jung. [1]
Freud's research on female psychology, sexuality in particular, was limited by social conventions of gender and
class. Women of the period were considered the 'second sex' and many of his female patients were labeled
"degenerates". [2] The "feminine Oedipus attitude" was posited by Freud as a theoretical counterpart to the
Oedipus complex. Carl Jung proposed the name Electra complex for Freud's concept, deriving the name from
the Greek myth of Electra, who wanted her brother to avenge the death of the siblings' father Agamemnon, by
killing their mother, Clytemnestra.
According to Freud, a girl, like a boy, is originally attached to the mother figure. However, during the phallic
stage, when she discovers that she lacks a penis, she becomes libidinally attached to the father figure, and
imagines that she will become pregnant by him, all the while becoming more hostile toward her mother. Freud
attributes the character of this developmental stage in girls to the idea of "penis envy", where a girl is envious of
the male penis. According to the theory, this penis envy leads to resentment towards the mother figure, who is
believed to have caused the girl's "castration." The hostility towards the mother is then later revoked for fear of
losing the mother's love, and the mother becomes internalised, much the same as the Oedipus Complex.

References
1. ^ Jung, Carl (1970). Psychoanalysis and Neurosis. Princeton University Press.
2. ^ Brom, Suzanne. Freud, the Feminist?. Duquesne University. Retrieved on 2007-03-16.

Breuer, J & Freud, S. Studies on Hysteria. (1909). Basic Books.


DeBeauvoir, S. (1952). The Second Sex. New York: Vintage Books.
Freud, S. (1905). Dora: Fragment of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria. New York: WW Norton &
Company.
Freud, S. (1920). A Case of Homosexuality in a Woman. The Complete Psychological Works of
Sigmund Freud. New York: Hogarth Press.
Lauzen, G. (1965). Sigmund Freud: The Man and his Theories. New York: Paul S. Eriksson, Inc.
Lerman, H. (1986). A Mote in Freuds Eye. New York: Springer Publishing Company.
Mitchell, J. (1974). Psychoanalysis and Feminism. New York: Vintage Books.
Tobin, B. (1988). "Reverse Oedipal Complex" Analysis. New York: Random House Publishing
Company.