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Oh, wait. We mean you know who wrote a complex Oedipus? Sophocles.

Feminist criticism is concerned with "...the ways in which literature (and other cultural productions) reinforce or undermine the economic, political, social, and psychological oppression of women" (Tyson). This school of theory looks at how aspects of our culture are inherently patriarchal (male dominated) and "...this critique strives to expose the explicit and implicit misogyny in male writing about women" (Richter 1346). This misogyny, Tyson reminds us, can extend into diverse areas of our culture: "Perhaps the most chilling example...is found in the world of modern medicine, where drugs prescribed for both sexes often have been tested on male subjects only" (83).

We also recommend the following secondary sources for study of literary theory:

Hmm. On second thought maybe Sophocles did have Oedipus on the brain. And we can't really blame him: a story about a dude who kills his father, marries his mother, and then stabs his own eyes out is pretty awesome

Oedipus' pride is an essential characteristic throughout the play....

Sophocles often used a characters’ flaw to alter or influence the outcome or future of the hero.

One day Oedipus finds out that there is a prophecy that depicts him killing his father and marrying his mother. The prophecy may have been proven untrue if he wouldn't have put himself on such a high pedestal. It all started one day when he met up with King Laius: Sea...

So what does all of this psychological business have to do with literature and the study of literature? Put simply, some critics believe that we can "...read psychoanalytically...to see which concepts are operating in the text in such a way as to enrich our understanding of the work and, if we plan to write a paper about it, to yield a meaningful, coherent psychoanalytic interpretation" (Tyson 29). Tyson provides some insightful and applicable questions to help guide our understanding of psychoanalytic criticism.

Oedipus knew the truth but he continued his fruitless search.

Oedipus plays blindfolded throughout the play.

Although philosophers, critics, educators and authors have been writing about writing since ancient times, contemporary schools of literary theory have cohered from these discussions and now influence how scholars look at and write about literature. The following sections overview these movements in critical theory. Though the timeline below roughly follows a chronological order, we have placed some schools closer together because they are so closely aligned.

Of course, most of us know "Oedipus" to be synonymous with the desire to kill your father and sleep with your mom. We have ’s theory of the "Oedipus Complex" to thank for that—Freud's Oedipus complex describes a stage of psychological development in which a child sees their father as a competitor for his or her mother’s attention.

Oedipus was willing to die to uncover the truth.
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Closure was needed for Oedipus the individual and Oedipus the king.

Sophocles in his tragedy, Oedipus Rex, teaches about “morally desirable attitudes and behavior,” (4) and uses three women to help convey these principles of living.

“Introduction.” 20th Centruy Interpretations of Oedipus Rex.

Lastly, he states that once the author is dead and the Modernist idea of singular narrative (and thus authority) is overturned, texts become plural, and the interpretation of texts becomes a collaborative process between author and audience: “...a text is made of multiple writings, drawn from many cultures and entering into mutual relations of dialogue...but there is one place where this multiplicity is focused and that place is the reader” (148). Barthes ends his essay by empowering the reader: “Classical criticism has never paid any attention to the reader...the writer is the only person in literature…it is necessary to overthrow the myth: the birth of the reader must be at the cost of the death of the Author” (148).

and a whole lot of this comes back to Sophocles' Oedipus.

First off early on in Oedipus’ life his first deadly mistake towards succeeding his self-inflicted downfall was the murder of his father the former king.

The gods decide Oedipus and Jocasta’s fate even before they know it.

(...)Greek theater was directed at the moral and political education of the community." (Kennedy and Gioia, pgs 1357-1363) Sophocles understood this, and dissipated any pollyanic view of society by presenting us with plays that were intended to teach.

Throughout the play, Oedipus tries to change his fate.

This essay will explore the role of women in the drama, the attitude toward women therein, the involvement of women in plot development, and other aspects of women in Oedipus Rex....

Oedipus Tyrannus: Tragic Heroism and the Limits of Knowledge.

If we are questioning/resisting the methods we use to build knowledge (science, religion, language), then traditional literary notions are also thrown into freeplay. These include the narrative and the author:

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