Sexual Fables
This article accompanies the fable
The House of Incest

The Electra Complex

According to Freud, a girl child identifies early on with the father but around age five she realizes she doesn’t have a penis, which creates a “castration complex.”  So she is forced to identify herself with her mother and, symbolically speaking, attempts to seduce her father.  The castration complex (defensive) and the Electra Complex (offensive) therefore reinforce each other, and the only way to gain any satisfaction from this is by seducing the father.  But incest is forbidden because the father has forbidden it, though she is unsure why.  The result is absolute confusion!  Anaïs concluded that this theory was really just the reverse of the Oedipus Complex.  It completely failed, in her mind, to explain the complex relationship between a father and a daughter.

What is she looking at? In this Roman sculpture from 1st century AD, that's Electra on the right looking at her brother Orestes.


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