An Interpretation of Freud's Oedipus Complex in The Sound and the Fury

  • Subham Mandal University of North Bengal


Sigmund Freud's concept of Oedipus complex deals with the fact that boys will be sexually attracted towards their mother and will focus their hatred towards their father. But threatened by their more powerful father they will try to imitate their father and forms a super-ego based on morality. Something very similar happens with the girl child also, where she is attracted to her father but due to the threat from her father she tries to associate with her mother. In William Faulkner's, The Sound and the Fury, we see a very distorted version of this Oedipus Complex where due to lack of any proper mother figure, how two brother projected this complex on their sister Caddy. Caddy, the daughter, in the absence of motherly attention, assumes the role of a mother substitute to her brothers. However, her brothers react differently to such absence. The mentally challenged Benjy is comfortable taking Caddy just as a mother figure but Quentin, the other brother, in the absence of any fatherly threat develops an incestuos feelings for his sister.

Keywords: Oedipus Complex, Electra Complex, Sexual attraction, Neurosis, Phallic stage, suicide, incest, depression.


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Author Biography

Subham Mandal, University of North Bengal

Subham Mandal teaches at University of North Bengal.


1. Freud, S. (1924). A general introduction to psychoanalysis. Trans. Joan Riviere.
2. Faulkner, William. The Sound and the Fury. Vol. 6: Random House LLC, 1992. Print.
3. Freud, Sigmund. The Ego and the Id. The Hogarth Press Ltd. London, 1949.
4. Freud, Sigmund (1953). The Interpretation of Dreams (Second Part) and On Dreams. London: The Hogarth Press.
5. Kristeva, Julia. Desire in Language: A Semiotic Approach to Literature and Art. Columbia University Press, 1980.
How to Cite
Mandal, S. “An Interpretation of Freud’s Oedipus Complex in The Sound and the Fury”. Contemporary Literary Review India, Vol. 8, no. 4, Nov. 2021, pp. 50-57,
Research Papers