Esther Quintanilla

The Oedipal complex, as explained by Sigmund Freud, is the repressed desire for a son (or daughter) to have sex with their mother (or father) and is in a constant battle with the father (or the mother). These desires, as mentioned before, are repressed deeply into the son’s unconscious. However, in the novel Frankenstein, this is not the case at all. After the animation of the creature, Victor Frankenstein experiences a very vivid dream in which he is kissing his love Elizabeth but then shifts into Frankenstein’s departed mother.

This wild dream says quite a bit about the psyche of Victor.

The Oedipal complex is an unconscious desire that is repressed by the son/daughter. However, Victor experiences this desire in his sleep, in his subconscious-which is very different than the unconscious. The subconscious is defined as concerning the part of the mind of which one is not fully aware, but which still influences one’s actions and feelings. The unconscious is defined as the part of the mind that is inaccessible to the conscious mind, meaning, it would have no effect on the way Victor acts or the dreams the he dreams. The fact that Victor dreams about kissing his mother shows that Victor has a desire to sleep with his dead mother, and that he is not trying very hard to repress it or to change it. Elizabeth was raised by Victor’s mother, and therefore is a byproduct of her being. Elizabeth is the most identical person to his mother, and that leads to the idea that Victor only wants to be with Elizabeth because he has an unrepressed desire to sleep with his dead mother.

In regard to the animation of a corpse made of severed body parts, this may be the unrepressed desire coming to the surface of Victor’s mind. Perhaps Victor wanted to animate this creature in order to fulfill his necrophilia-oedipal desire. But when the creature turns out to be something that is hideous in Victor’s eyes, something unlike his mother (or Elizabeth), he abandons it in hopes that it will destroy itself. Thus, creating the conflict of the novel: Victor running away from his unrepressed desires in the hopes of them going away on their own.