Tag Archive: oedipus


Victor’s dream highlights the blurred relationship labels that he has placed on the people in his life. His mother and his future wife, Elizabeth, seem to hold a similar place in his mind. This could partially be attributed to the fact that once Victor’s mother dies, it seems that Elizabeth takes the place of Caroline Frankenstein in the household. She in some ways becomes Victor’s mother and so when Victor dreams of Elizabeth he is of course dreaming of his mother in actuality. Elizabeth as his sister is symbolic of life as he sees her “in the bloom of health” and as he moves to “[embrace] her [and imprint] the first kiss on her lips” she morphs into his mother, Caroline, who is symbolic of death. This suggests that as Victor blurs the lines between his relationship with his sister and attempts to change her role to that of his wife, he essentially kills her and the relationship because it is unnatural. He ends up with the rotting corpse of his dead mother which was the first woman Victor surely felt affection for that he could not have because his mother belonged to his father and not him. So any attempt to change certain relationships in unnatural ways ends in something final like death because his sister should not be his wife. His mother who he may have latched onto as a child should also not be the object of his affections. Elizabeth and Caroline blending into one person for Victor as highlighted in his dream suggests that he has attempted to alter his relationships unnaturally and that is his problem. He cannot separate the women in his life and latch himself to the right women that will help him live a normal life.

As for the corpse he reanimated into his Creature we can see Victor trying to create another unnatural relationship. He is trying to establish a new race of humans and trying to establish him as their father figure. However, when his “child” asks for its own female figure to latch onto Victor like the typical father does not allow it and removes the female figure from his “child’s” life. His “child”, the Creature, reacts as Freud expected, and drastically makes the decision that if he can’t have the mother then no one can because he kills Elizabeth. While the Creature was not especially fixated on Elizabeth, she is Victor’s wife at this point in the narrative and essentially the “mother” for all intents and purposes because of her relationship to Victor. The cycle that Victor and all other men supposedly go through is also experienced by the Creature. Perhaps Victor strove to reanimate a corpse in some unconscious effort to break the cycle but failed to do so when he did not provide his corpse with the wife it desired.

This psychological state reveals themes of the natural versus the unnatural which is consistent with the entire novel because the constant reinforcement of nature makes the reader aware of the lack of production within the novel, which would have been prevalent during that time. It also reveals that Victor’s relationships are part of what makes certain things unnatural throughout the story because he is trying to make things work together that should not work together. Which ties together with the theme of horror throughout the novel that consistently reminds the reader ugly wrong things are terrifying while beauty is not. None of Victor’s relationships are beautiful and therefore are ugly and terrifying.

By Diana Lara

On page 60 of “Frankenstein” Victor has a wild fantasy about his spouse, Elizabeth, transforming into his deceased mother. When you psychoanalyze Victor’s dream you can see how he tries to replace the death of his mother by marrying his cousin, Elizabeth, this is solidified by Shelley’s imagery of Elizabeth deteriorating into the image of his mother after a kiss. Freud’s beliefs are exercised since victor can fathom the idea of his wife becoming his mother just how men are conditioned to perceive the female genitalia as uncanny. Freud’s thoughts are also shown in the passage where Victor can’t seem to find an explanation for his wild dream. This is similar to how Freud believes that the definition of uncanny is its own definition and its opposite, it doesn’t make sense like how victor’s dream doesn’t make sense.

-Alexander Alfaro

victors-dream

According to Freud’s Oedipus Complex, infant boys feel attraction towards their mothers because they associate her with safety and comfort. But they feel a sense of rivalry towards their father because they associate him with threatening to taking away that comfort and safety that is the mother. So they feel the “unconscious desire to kill the father.” However, as they grow older the boy tries to find a way to win over the mother’s love (in a sexual way?) by “identifying” with his father. By doing so his desire to kill his father is repressed and he then grows up to live his adulthood as a heterosexual. As an adult he finds an “object” of replacement—in another woman—to displace the desire he has for his mother. However, if he doesn’t allow for this displacement he ends up becoming a homosexual.

When connecting this theory to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, one wonders how could these two possibly be connected? Well, on page 60 we see a hint of this since Victor describes the way he slaved over his experiment and the aftermath of doing so and what that reveals to himself. Just as others have said, in my own personal opinion I think Victor has a thing for the “forbidden.” To cement this statement, we go to the obvious example, Victor’s aspiring experiment is to bring to life a dead corpse of which he crafted to be the “perfect human being.” However, when his “perfect human” is brought to life he shuns it and disregards it acting as if it is the vilest thing he has ever seen. This shows that not only does Victor like to test the limits of life, but he enjoys playing around with dead bodies if and only if they are dead.  Which leads to my next point, when Victor has the dream about Elizabeth who turns into his deceased mother it goes to show that he in fact plays into Freud’s Oedipus Complex theory. Elizabeth who represents the “object” of replacement turns into his mother meaning that he must feel some kind of attraction towards her. And the fact that he wakes from the dream in horror with all kinds of ailments means that he knows there is something wrong with what he dreamed about. He knows that the fact that there is something wrong with the fact that the one living thing that he desires turns into desire for the dead thing he has unconsciously repressed. Therefore, by reanimating a corpse he is trying to justify that repressed desire for his dead mother. Basically, he is a necrophiliac due to repressed feelings for his mother that emerged when he was an infant and didn’t go away even after she died, uncanny isn’t it?

-Laura Mateo Gallegos

Wildest Dreams

When looking into Victor’s dream, we can assume that the strange Oedipus desire for the mother/spouse is deeply related to Victor Frankenstein. We first have this dream where Victor sees himself with his deceased mother in a disturbing manner “as I imprinted the first kiss on her lips, they became livid with the hue of death . . . I held the corpse of my dead mother” (p.60) in a which Sigmond Freud claimed most people repressed, such that he was sexually attracted to his mother. This is commonly known as the Oedipus Complex, named after the mythical Greek king who killed his father and married his mother. According to Freud, this was often repressed into the unconsciousness and out of awareness to the person due to extreme anxiety, which is something we get a glimpse of as he wakes, “I started from my sleep with horror..” (p.60). The issue with this is that it not only raises concerns of incestuous thoughts for Frankenstein and the Frankenstein household, but it also brings upon further issues pertaining to necrophilia, as his mother was deceased in his dreams. Victor’s own creation does not assist to this issue as it may even further highlight his issues pertaining to necrophilia in specific, or even further his Oedipus Complex. Then there’s the issue pertaining to Elizabeth. Though Elizabeth is not directly related to Victor, she was still raised beside him and raised in the manner that she was often called his sister, which also stirs up more incestuous issues concerning Victor and their household.

Victor’s desire illuminates how he wants something he cannot have. He wants his deceased mother and Elizabeth though both are gone to him as the novel progresses. He wants to recreate life in his own way though fails to do so with his creation. He wants things he cannot have, and for that, we see him ultimately deciding to reanimate life and therefore set himself on this path that he cannot go back on.

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– Lou Flores

Young Sigmund Freud.jpg

Victor Frankenstein is an individual with uncanny desires. From the determination of creating “the perfect specimen”, to the extent of his sexual desires, undefinable to say the least. Sigmund Freud’s, The Uncanny, posits that the memories since childhood influences the adults’ artistic expression. It intertwines with the themes of the connection between early childhood development and ones’ artistic expression, the psychological mechanisms that are deployed to preserve one knowing too much, and the ramification of the psychic repressions. To connect this with Victor Frankenstein, we analyze promptly with Victor’s “wildest dreams” [60], within the novel.

Victor Frankenstein.JPG

As Victor’s love for Elizabeth is undeniable throughout the novel, we must come the realization that their love is one of an ‘Un-genetic Sexual Attraction’ (uGSA). A term that describes the phenomenon of sexual attraction between close relatives, such as siblings, first and second cousins or a parent and offspring, who first meet as adults. Although the relationship between Victor and Elizabeth in un-genetical, one must know that their interaction amongst one another is of between a brother and a sister. To further expand the incest between the Frankenstein family, his desire for sexual inter-relationship is masked with the marriage between Elizabeth and Victor. Although the wedding was cut short due to the expected actions of the monster; one must realize that the companionship between Elizabeth was solely to hide away similarity of desires Oedipus and Victor share; to have a sexual relationship with their mother.

– Stephen Muñoz

Freudkanstein

By: Mary Russell

Freud is most well known for his psychoanalytic concepts of the ego, superego, and the id. He is also known for his theory of the Oedipus complex, in short the idea that men lust after their mothers and are jealous of their fathers (and vice versa for women). This desire is hidden away deep in the unconscious mind along with the desire to murder wantonly. Freud believed the unconscious sexual and violent desires would manifest in the conscious world in subtle ways. For example, a Freudian Slip is when someone makes a mistake that could reveal their innermost wants and needs. More often though these unconscious feelings were manifested in dreams. In the novel, Victor Frankenstein experiences a strange dream hinting at his Freudian desire for his mother, and perhaps the unhinged nature of the “mad scientist.”

Frankenstein’s dream comes to him the night he creates the creature. In it, he sees Elizabeth, “In the bloom of health, walking in the streets of Ingolstadt,” and kisses her (60). Suddenly she transforms into the corpse of his mother in the burial shroud with maggots crawling on her. Elizabeth transforms into his mother when Frankenstein, “Imprinted the first kiss on her lips…” (60). The object of his desire transforms into his mother during an intimate act. Elizabeth was merely his replacement for his mother but when all is stripped away, his desire remains to torment him in his dreams. The healthy Elizabeth is less desirable to Frankenstein than his dead mother.

According to Freud this is normal. The standard journey for the Oedipus complex, is when a boy is born he forms a connection with his mother. He then becomes jealous of his father for having a relationship with the mother. Eventually the boy realizes the desire is wrong so he forms a bond with the father and finds a sufficient replacement for his feelings of lust. Something though, must have went wrong with Frankenstein’s development. Elizabeth should have been a sufficient replacement for his mother, and yet his unconscious still tells him to desire her. Somewhere when he was growing up, something went wrong. Due to the fact that his mother is dead in his dream, her death probably messed up development into a functioning adult. She dies shortly before he is to leave for college. He delays his trip as he is, “New to sorrow… [he] was unwilling to quit the sight of those who remained…” (49). He had never experienced loss before, and so was unequipped to handle it especially when moving on to so massive a change in the first place.

He becomes obsessed with death after this. He ventures to recreate life for death, due to his deep desire to see his mother again. He was not given time to develop healthy feelings for Elizabeth before his mother died. Her being violently ripped away stunted his growth and made him obsessed with getting her back. This is why he creates the creature: as proof that he can do it before attempting it on his mother. According to Freud, when someone does not take the proper steps through the Oedipus complex, they are psychotic. This is why Frankenstein is alright with going through such drastic steps to resurrect the dead. He no longer is a “normal” person. He is instead, a mad man trying to bring back his mother so he does not need to replace her with another woman.