Did Oedipus thaw in Siberia? An exploration of a failure to successfully negotiate the Oedipus complex using an example of a literary character Raskolnikov from Dostoyevsky’s ‘Crime and Punishment’

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Gnusareva, Valerija
Issue Date
MA in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy
Dublin Business School
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The Oedipus complex plays a significant part in forming individuals. Both Freud and Lacan emphasized the importance of familial structure and relationships for our later life. The focus of the current thesis is to examine the impact of struggling through the negotiating of the Oedipus complex on individuals' life and mental wellbeing with regards to criminality. In order to investigate the consequences of unresolved Oedipal situation and its connection to criminal behaviour the literary character Raskolnikov from Dostoyevsky's 'Crime and Punishment' is used as an example. Special attention is paid to the familial relationships and its influence upon other relationships in life, and to choices the individual makes to justify unconscious guilt originating from the Oedipus complex. The relevant works of Freud and Lacan are looked at in order to understand and interpret the crime as a result of an unresolved Oedipus complex, as well as to illustrate certain tendencies or aspects in relationships that may lead to criminal activity. Author keywords: Guilt, punishment, crime, Oedipus complex, Dostoyevsky