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Oedipus Complex

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"A son exists to glorify the life of his father—as meaningless and worthless as that life might be. But if a boy is to become a man, he must glorify himself… and make a name even greater than his father's."

The Oedipal archetype deals with any conflict between father and son, particularly where the son must supplant the patriarch or must extricate himself from his father's shadow and find his own place in the world. Much of the time this presents as the son's aim of removing his father to further himself in the eyes of his mother — not necessarily, but maybe, into her bed. This archetype shares some themes with both the Messianic Archetype (rebirth and renewal) and The Trickster (out with the old, in with the new).

The supplanting part is key here. Without it, you've just got Calling the Old Man Out — when someone calls his dad out for his transgressions but doesn't supplant him. If the supplanting takes the form of murder, it's Patricide and Murder in the Family. If there's an explicitly sexual relationship, see Parental Incest. If there's a partner who's like their parent, see Like Parent, Like Spouse. And if there's incestuous subtext without wanting to supplant anyone, then it's just Incest Subtext. See also Archnemesis Dad, which makes the father figures into outright villains while leaving out the Freudian implications. Compare Jealous Parent. Also compare "Well Done, Son" Guy — who actually wants his father's approval.


Oedipus the King — the Greek Tragedy dramatized in 429 BC by Sophocles — is the Trope Namer. The Trope Codifier, however, is Sigmund Freud, as Oedipus himself is not an example of the trope. Oedipus never knew who his mother and father were until it was too late. King Oedipus was not someone who secretly wanted to kill his father and sleep with his mother — he was a man who desperately didn't want either to happen, but ended up doing so anyway because You Can't Fight Fate.

On the other side is the Electra Complex, where the conflict is between mother and daughter, which is just as common, if a bit different in its execution. It is also named after one of Sophocles' tragedies, Electra, where the trope is Played Straight as Electra was quite vengeful after her father Agamemnon was murdered by her mother Clytemnestra, and she ruthlessly plots to commit Matricide. Also see "Laius Complex" and "Jocasta Complex" for the parents' perspectives.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Baki from Baki the Grappler starts off wanting to beat his father to make his mother happy — then because he figures out his father is out of his damn mind after he does crap like getting one step from killing an important governmental figure just to prove he can and killing his mother.
  • Guts from Berserk almost averted this as he actually did care and want the approval of his adoptive father Gambino... who treated him like shit, while his adoptive mother Shisu treated him with genuine love. Moreover Guts actually kills Gambino (in self-defense) and later after The Eclipse Guts's Love Interest Casca has a striking resemblance to Shisu. So yeah, it's played straight-ish
  • Dr. Black Jack has some issues to work out concerning his parents. For example: when his estranged father contacts and hires him to conduct reconstructive plastic surgery on his second wife Renka to make her the "most beautiful woman in the world," Black Jack decides to makes her look exactly like his mother — half because he wanted to constantly torment his father with the face of the woman he ran out on, and half because he actually did think his once-gorgeous mother the was most beautiful woman in the world.
    Black Jack: Dad ... Do you know how sad mom was, how she wept, when you never came back from your overseas stint, having run away with a woman? Do you know how badly I wished, in my child's mind, to find and murder you until the day she died?
    • Pinoko has her own Electra Complex when it comes to Black Jack. Formerly a tumor-like parasitic twin until Black Jack removed her and gave her a doll-like artificial body, Pinoko hates her twin sister, the one who "gave birth" to her, for trying to kill her by having her surgically removed, and adores Black Jack, her guardian and the man who "created" her. She constantly insists, despite looking like a child, that's she's not Black Jack's daughter, but his wife, and does not take kindly to being corrected.
  • Lelouch Lamperouge, the protagonist of Code Geass, has the ultimate goal of learning who killed his mother, and then killing his father the Emperor, whether or not he's responsible. Of course, since momma Marianne is portrayed as only two steps short of sainthood, and poppa Charles is a Social Darwinist Jerkass, his attitude may be justified. At least until Episode 21 of R2 where it's revealed his mother Marianne, who wasn't really dead, doesn't give a damn about either Lelouch or his sister, who in turn was actually crippled by their dad Charles, all because she was Charles' co-conspirator in their Assimilation Plot the whole time. In fact, she spins around giddily while talking about their shared plans, not even greeting Lelouch. Talk about Abusive Parents. Lelouch understandably snaps and calls them out for abandoning him and Nunnally in Japan and not bothering to look for them, instead focusing on finding C.C. and going forward with the plan, on the basis Lulu and Nunners didn't need to be alive to be reunited with their parents in Ragnarok. Lelouch then proceeds to erase both his parents out of existence.
  • The Lancer of Digimon Data Squad, Touma, is very cool to his father, Franz Norstein, but is endlessly devoted to Relena, his younger half-sister, and clearly adores his deceased mother. This is both made obvious and foreshadowed by his almost instant "crush" on Masaru's mother Sayuri and younger sister chika. While it's never stated outright, it is heavily implied that Touma was born out of wedlock, and his mother was a foreign exchange student who had an affair with his father. Touma's hatred of his father stems from Franz's weakness of character: his inability to defend his son from his judgmental mother, and to do what is right to save his ill daughter, rather than what is there and easy.
  • Dragon Ball Super: Broly adds the titular character to this as Broly has an abusive controlling relationship with his father Paragus while he has Ship Tease with Sheelai who literally feeds him like a mother at one point. The only part of that’s left out is the Patricide... which Broly did in his original movie.
  • Izaku from Eternal Sabbath invokes this. The first thing he does after taking over Shuro's body is to sexually assault his adoptive mother and kills his adoptive father when he walks in on them.
  • In Eureka Seven, Maurice gains a crush towards his adoptive mother Eureka to the point he pulls a gun on Renton for stealing his mom's attention near the end of the series.
  • In FLCL, Naota's father Kamon is constantly making passes at Haruko and Naota keeps catching them in Not What It Looks Like situations. Meanwhile, Haruko is aggressively flirting with Naota. In the fourth episode, Naota snaps and accidentally kills Kamon, but it turns out to be a robotic duplicate of him, and his actual father is a decaying corpse in the closet. He comes Back from the Dead later in the episode and they make up.
  • In Free Soul, an Electra complex is what drives a good deal of Nikki's behavior.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Ed seems afflicted with the full Oedipal syndrome complete with a love-hate relationship with his father Hohenheim, whom he emulated to become an alchemist (originally to please his mom) but also repeatedly insults and beats up (the fact that he also suffers from a bad case of Parental Abandonment only makes matters worse for him... and for Hohenheim).
    • Greed also has issues with his dad and seems complacent about his role as "daddy's rebellious son", even going as far as to tell him something along the lines of "Father should be the one who understands best, ain't I the manifestation of his greed?". To be honest, though, Father is one hell of a tyrannical father.
    • In the 2003 anime version, the homunculus Envy's goal in life is killing Hohenheim. At the same time, he's immensely jealous of Edward because he is Hohenheim's real son — and, presumably, because he is the most similar to Hohenheim and Hoju in appearance and personality. In the movie, he even succeeds not only in killing Hohenheim before Ed's very shocked eyes but also in not crying "Daddy, why don't you love me?".
  • Gankutsuou:
    • The manga implies that Albert is looking for a father figure in the Count because he has issues with his authoritarian real father. He also has an interesting relationship with his mother.
    • There's also Andrea who takes this to the logical extreme: although he doesn't kill his father, "only" gives him a poison that destroys his mind, he has sex with his mother and tries to rape his half-sister.
  • The Garden of Sinners: While Mana Ryougi loves both of her parents, deep down, her greatest wish is to defeat her mother Shiki so she can have her father Mikiya to herself.
  • Prince Sincline from GoLion absolutely despised his father and sought to overthrow him, while his obsessive love for Fala seemed to be based on the fact she looks and acts like his deceased mother, whom he's been having dreams of.
  • In GUN×SWORD, we have William Will Woo, who ended up killing his own mother when he tried to kill his father while he was a kid (She jumped in the way of the blade). Because of this, he seeks redemption by blindly following his father (who is The Claw) to to atone for what he did, telling Van he did it all "for his sake". Is of the "worships his mother to extreme levels" type, which allows him to use The Power of Love in his battle against Van, although it's debatable whether it's lust or love, as he is seen naked around her portrait most of the time.
  • Haré from Haré+Guu has a bit of an implied crush on his mom. His father isn't likely to be on the best terms with him either. Guu even says that he has this in one episode.
  • Eric in The Heart of Thomas has an unhealthy attachment to his mother, to the point that he freaks out when his mother is affectionate to her lovers. He eventually grows out of it, albeit under tragic circumstances.
  • Female example from Iono the Fanatics, the titular character's love of black hair was because of her mother. Made rarer by the fact that there is no father in the equation. And even weirder since Iono has black hair herself.
  • Another female example in Itazura Na Kiss: Kotomi worships her father and competes with her mother for his attention.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • Battle Tendency: Joseph Joestar acts this way towards his Granny Erina as a Momma's Boy. Joseph could be given some leeway since his dad died and much like Oedipus, he didn't actually know Lisa Lisa was his mother. Thirdly, it doesn't really help thanks to Hamon, his 50 year old mother looked so young. Still, it was a Fridge Horror for Joseph when he realized he'd spied on his mother bathing after being told the truth.
    • Stardust Crusaders: While not as extreme in regards to this as Joseph, since Jotaro doesn't seem to resent his father for being away most of the time, his entire motivation for going on the journey to defeat DIO is because his mother Holly was dying because of DIO's actions.
  • The main theme of Kamisama Kazoku, as main character Samataro wants to prove that he doesn't need his father, a god, doing everything in his omnipotent (and bumbling) power to make Samataro's life easier. Samataro's goddess mother self-admittedly adores her son like a lover, and repeatedly shocks and embarrasses him with her Innocent Fanservice Girl ways.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam 00: Andrei Smirnov utterly loathes his father, Sergei, who he blames for the death of his mother Holly. For worse, thanks to a misunderstanding, he believes Sergei to be a traitor, and ends up killing him in battle. When he's told by his adoptive sister Marie how wrong he was, he's deeply shaken.
  • My Hero Academia: When he was first introduced, Shoto Todoroki absolutely loathed his father and adored his mother, with his ultimate goal being able to make it to the top without using the power he inherited from his father. It is justified however since said father subjected Shoto to brutal Training from Hell in order to satisfy his own ambitions since he was five and his mother was his only real emotional support through it all. His father's abuse was too much for his mother to handle and in a Moment of Weakness, threw scalding hot water onto Shoto and his father had her sent off to a mental ward, which naturally led to Shoto (justifiably) deepening his hatred for his father. After a fight with The Hero, he learns that he shouldn't hold himself back just to spite his father and that his power belongs to him, even if it's inherited. While he hasn't completely let go of his hatred for his father, he has learned to tolerate him as he understands he can still learn from him.
  • In Naruto, Gaara's conflict with his father, the Fourth Kazekage, is perhaps the main reason why he went insane and stayed that way until he met Naruto. The man sealed a well-known psychotic demon into his pregnant wife Karura, killing her in the process, in order to make Gaara into a weapon. To say nothing of when he forced Gaara's maternal uncle and caretaker to make an assassination attempt on his nephew in order to judge his worth as a weapon for the village. His treatment of his son was so bad that it was enough to get an entry on the Archnemesis Dad page. Ironically, though, Gaara's not the one who kills him — Orochimaru is. At the same time, Karura loved her son enough to be the driving force of his automatic sand defense, even though she had long since passed from the world.
    • Interestingly Boruto’s main beef with his father Naruto is that Boruto perceives his dad neglecting his mother Hinata and his sister Himawari by working too much.
    • Sarada has an Electra Complex given she antagonizes her mother Sakura to the point where she didn’t believe Sakura actually gave birth to her and yearns for her absent father Sasuke. Bonus points as Sarada latches on to Naruto as a father substitute and is attracted to his son Boruto who has a similar personality to her father Sasuke.
  • Marion from Natsu e no Tobira is believed to have this since his mother is always away with a boyfriend and he later falls for an older woman named Sara.
  • On the subject of people who love their parents, almost disturbingly, we have Yuna from Negima! Magister Negi Magi and her feelings for her father. This is taken to a disturbing level when Haruna brings up the subject of "deep, passionate kissing" (supposedly for Pactio purposes), Yuna remarks that she wouldn't mind if it were her dad. The other girls are quite Squicked by this revelation. She also carries a picture of her kissing her father around in her cleavage, even while trapped in an Alternate Universe for several weeks.
  • One of many interpretations of Neon Genesis Evangelion, and interviews with Hideaki Anno suggest that he was actually aiming for this, since Shinji has a love-hate relationship with his father and motherhood is a central theme of the series. And most importantly, one of Shinji's love interest Rei turns out to be a clone of his mother and her soul (or at least part of it) is part of his EVA Unit. In the manga, Gendou also turns out to have harbored feelings of jealousy towards Shinji for "stealing" Yui away from him. This is even lampshaded in Shinji's (Blooper Reels only) rant:
    And what's an Eva? Is that like, a Freudian thing?
  • One Piece:
    • Ace of all people plays this trope fairly straight thanks to Gold Roger being his father, Ace considered his whole life screwed as a result and cursed Roger's name. Ace's mother Rogue on the other hand Ace had nothing bad to say about and he proudly takes her surname note  not to mention Ace gets a Luminescent Blush around Makino.
    • Domflamingo is more a Squick version, since like Oedipus he kills his father Homing, and in Doffy's case it was directly because Homing caused the events (losing their nobility) that led to Doffy's mother dying of illness. Plus Oda reveals Domflamingo had a relationship with Viola who was ex-royal just like his mother.
    • Sanji plays this mostly straight, he actively despises his father Judge while his beloved mother Sora defined his whole life and coincidentally all Sanji's love interests in some way resemble Sora or have a similar personality to her. It’s particularly evident in retrospect when Nami becomes sick like Sora and Sanji explains to the crew that he can't just nurse Nami back to health with cooking... since Sanji tried that with his mother and it didn't work.
  • The manga Pokémon Adventures:
    • Ruby runs away from home to escape his father Norman and prove to him that he can live his dreams. In the end, he sees that everything Norman did was really out of love for Ruby. Later, Silver finds out that his father is Giovanni. He refuses to accept this at first, but Blue talks him out of it eventually.
    • Falkner and Janine have got some very apparent daddy issues, not only in the games (in which they're the new gym leaders to their respective gyms, overshadowed by their fathers, who were the previous gym leaders), but also in the manga (same issue as above, but both fathers are currently missing, which adds frustration to both of them at one point). A call from Janine on the Pokegear in HeartGold/SoulSilver even lampshades this:
    Janine: This is Janine. How are you doing? Falkner in Violet City… he’s talking about his dad all the time! Seriously, he’s such a daddy’s boy, he needs to become his own person sometime, you know? What do you mean, I should talk? Ha ha—mind your own business! [click]
  • Ayato Kamina from RahXephon. Although he only gave vibes to this (considering another trope comes into effect later), while it was more explicit with Itsuki Kisaragi, his brother, towards Quon Kisaragi, their mother.
  • Tsunayoshi Sawada from Reborn! (2004) shows to have shades of this. He often acts coldly whenever his father Iemitsu comes home, and is deeply angry with how often he neglects Tsuna’s mother and him to the point that Tsuna himself had assumed the man had already passed away, since he has never heard from Iemitsu for a long time. Also, Tsuna’s crush greatly resembles and even acts similarly to Tsuna’s mother, Nana Sawada.
  • Played for Laughs in the finale of Rurouni Kenshin, where the characterization of Kenshin's son Kenji is summed up by the following two bits of narration: "Hates daddy. Loves mommy."
  • Chibiusa of Sailor Moon is attracted to a literal younger version of her father and is usually in conflict with the younger version of her mother. Thus the perils of time-traveling family members.
  • Cygnus Hyoga from Saint Seiya with his dead frozen mother Natasha. Who, for worse, died to save him when he was a little boy. He's had Ship Tease with two girls on the anime, and both of them are blonde nice girls like Natasha.
  • Nataku of Soul Hunter has some serious daddy-issues surrounding the nature of his existence, and his mother is more or less his Morality Chain.
  • Tokyo Ghoul:
    • Koutarou Amon is driven by the hatred and guilt he feels over the actions of his foster father, Donato Porpora. The Priest was in fact a Ghoul using the orphanage to raise children as livestock, butchering them once they'd been "adopted". While his friends were being devoured in secret, he was showered with affection and spared even when he discovered the horrible truth. This is something he simply can't come to terms with, especially since Donato continues to survive as an informant and enjoys every chance he gets to taunt his "beloved son". But when critically wounded in his final duel with Kaneki, Amon finds himself calling out to his father. To say that their relationship is… complicated is putting it lightly.
    • The sequel reveals that Eto/Sen Takatsuki suffers from a Gender-Inverted case of this. She considers her father Yoshimura a coward and gleefully subjects him to a Fate Worse than Death while promising to get revenge for the mother she never knew, Ukina.
  • Wolfwood from Trigun has one big, big problem with his adopted dad/tyrannical father figure. Interestingly, he has a different father figure in the anime and in the manga. Also note that there are indications that unlike his manga equivalent, anime Chapel has genuine affection for his young "charge", albeit in a completely twisted way.
    • Hell you can add Vash as well while he has no father, Knives (Vash's brother) tried Promotion to Parent and failed being a evil Jerkass becoming Vash's main Arch-Enemy. On the other hand, Vash loves his adoptive mother Rem with a passion and bases his entire philosophy around her, plus the anime suggests Meryl (Vash's Love Interest) is a great great granddaughter of Rem and Milly the other female in Vash's life has the same pure personality as Rem.
  • "Syaoran" of Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE- has a version of this, being in love with what appears to be an alternate universe clone of his mother. Instead of wanting to kill his father, he wants to be him. To the point that he's been going by his father's name since he was seven his real name is Tsubasa and for several years (until it was revealed that he was the son of Syaoran) he was thought to be his father by most of the fandom, as he looks exactly like him, acts similarly, has identical abilities, etc. The problem has later been justified or muddled, it's hard to tell, by the fact that his father is apparently his clone, and his mother is a clone of his own Sakura. At precisely which point in the either 4-man or 2-man loop (which one it is depends on perspective) this trope sets in is a matter best left to philosophers on illegal substances with mental disorders. The philosophers have the mental disorders. Probably.
  • Touta Konoe from UQ Holder! has a crush on his adoptive mother Yukihime (the only parental figure he's ever had). He even asked her to marry him while under the effects of a truth potion.
  • Seishiro Sakurazuka of X1999 had an… interesting relationship with his mother, Setsuka, who was one disturbed woman. Setsuka implies that her soulmate was her own son. The relationship, however, was one-sided, as Seishiro's soulmate was very obviously (and reciprocally) Subaru, and she's at least aware of said soulmate's existence. Oh, and he killed her. At her request.

    Comic Books 
  • The DCU is full of this, although it is strictly subtext. There's Batman-Dick Grayson-Catwoman, Batman-Jason Todd-Talia al Ghul, Aquaman-Tempest-Dolphin, Green Arrow-Arsenal-Black Canary, Superman-Superboy-Lana Lang/Lois Lane.
    • To simplify it somewhat, anyone who's A: a sidekick or B: a younger/alternate version of a hero has had iffy subtext with someone they shouldn't have had it with. This goes double (triple?) for Batman and the Robins (even after they've stopped being Robin).
    • In Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Carrie Kelly's parents are neglectful to the point of not even remembering they have a kid, so she latches onto Batman. She makes no bones about loving him before she comes out and says it in the sequel.
    • Each Brother Blood, the leader of the Church of Blood, has ascended to his position by killing his father (the previous "Brother Blood") and making his mother the new High Priestess.
  • It appears that Marvel Comics just loves this trope: In alphabetical order, we have:
    • The Avengers: Ultron hates his "father" Hank Pym and loves his "mother" Janet Van Dyne. This is due to the fact that Ultron's A.I. was patterned after Hank's own mind. Ultron at one point created a sexy Fembot using Janet Van Dyne's psyche as the template for her robotic intelligence, which he intended to marry. As a Shout-Out to the Trope Namer, he named his creation Jocasta, which is the name of Oedipus' mother. The obsession has gone far enough that in one appearance, Ultron made himself into a herself, using Tony Stark's body/armor in order to form a bio-mechanical clone body of Janet.
    • Captain America: Steve loved his mother Sarah, while his father Joseph was a drunken, gambling scumbag who physically abused his wife and son frequently. It's telling that Steve gets his Determinator attitude from Sarah, and that his love interest Sharon Carter resembles her.
    • Captain Marvel: The 2000 run has said hero destroy the universe at the behest of Entropy and Epiphany, actually Anthropomorphic Personification children of the Anthropomorphic Personification of the universe. Later he dies and beats up his own dad on the other side.
    • Iron Man: Tony got this trope twice over, as while Howard Stark frequently put Tony down, Maria loved him unconditionally and protected him from Howard’s drunken mood swings. Then it's revealed that Howard and Maria were Tony's adoptive parents, and that his biological father Jude was an evil Hydra agent, but Tony's mom Amanda is a good S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, who again loves Tony unconditionally.
    • The Incredible Hulk: Bruce's father Brian was an utter asshole who frequently abused his son while Rebecca adored Bruce, which only made Brian a Jealous Parent. When Rebecca tried to escape with Bruce, Brian killed his wife right in front of little Bruce, with the trauma spawning Bruce's "Hulk" personality. All of this was established via a fairly late retcon, but also nicely complements elements dating from the comic's very beginning, with Bruce's love interest Betty Ross doting over him and her father General Ross antagonising him.
    • Thanos Rising: Zig-zagged, as Thanos never liked Sui-San, who attempts to kill him moments after he's born. Throughout his youth, he visits her in the madhouse almost every day while she can do nothing but weep for the monster she knows he will become, almost as if he were mocking her. Then he truly crosses the line when he dissects her for his studies. Whether he likes or hates his father Mentor is up for debate; he's hesitant about hurting him and spares his life at the end, but only to invoke Cruel Mercy. Thanos appears so anti-social that it's questionable if he sees his parents as actual people instead of objects. However, Death is apparently convinced that Thanos still secretly wants his mother's approval, materializing before him as a reflection of what Sui-San might have looked like when she was Thanos' age.
    • X-Men:
      • While Wolverine didn't quite get along with his mother Elizabeth, he did love Rose O'Hara, who looked after him since childhood and bears a notable resemblence to Jean Grey, explaining why he loves Jean so much. Plus, Wolverine's jealously of Scott echoes his jealously of Smitty, who almost married Rose much like Scott married Jean. If this wasn't enough, Wolverine fulfills the other part of this trope as he kills his biological father Thomas Logan, albeit unknowingly.
      • Nightcrawler, probably thanks to his mother being... well, Mystique, often exhibits a variation of this, especially since while Mystique treats him poorly at times, Nightcrawler still cares for her, while his father Azazel he outright hates.
      • Cyclops would seem to avoid this trope, except that his mother Kathrine looks near identical to his second main love interest Emma Frost. If that wasn't enough, one of the times he was coupled with Emma, he killed Professor X, his father figure. However, Cyclops gets along pretty well with his biological father Corsair.
      • There's a good argument for Rogue having an Electra Complex. She has a very troubled relationship with her adoptive mother Mystique, who has abused her greatly in quite a few comics — Rogue eventually left and was taken in by Professor X, whom she greatly admires and looks up to. Rogue also finds another paternal mentor in Magneto... who she has a sexual relationship with. Notably, while Rogue has no problem dealing out justice to Mystique, she's showed reluctance when fighting Magneto.
      • A strange example occurs with Nate Grey, who has a close — it is never outright stated whether it was platonic or romantic, but the general implication is much more the latter than the former — relationship with the psionic ghost (made physical by his vast psychic power) of Madelyne Pryor when he instinctively reached out for his biological mother, Jean Grey (from whom Madelyne Pryor was cloned, making Maddie to be Jean's identical twin sister-daughter) when he arrived in Marvel-616 reality from the Marvel-295 (Age of Apocalypse) reality. Nate and Madelyne are effectively alternate reality biological mother and son or nephew and aunt and/or older sister-younger brother. While Nate backed off, hard, as soon as he found who she was, she... didn't.
  • Played for Laughs in Chris Savino's comic strip The Complex Adventures of Eddie Puss, where the young kitten Eddie consonantly tries peeping at his mom and one-upping his dad. For example, Eddie drops his fork during dinner to look up her skirt and in another comic, he gets his mom to breastfeed him while his dad sits beside her, angry that she wouldn't fool around with him because of Eddie's presence.

    Fan Works 
  • This comes up in the Empath: The Luckiest Smurf series when Empath realizes he is competing with Papa Smurf for the affections of Smurfette. In the normal timeline, after Papa Smurf has his oversexed Hulking Out moment, it is resolved peacefully by Smurfette telling Papa Smurf that she could only love him as a father and nothing more. In an alternate timeline, though, Papa Smurf and Smurfette begin a relationship with each other that forces Empath to lead a La Résistance group against his own father and expel him, Smurfette, and the daughter they have together from the village.
  • In Thousand Shinji:
    • Misato had a form of this towards her father due to her abandonment issues. Since she couldn't have him, she lusted after her surrogate son, Shinji.
    • In turn, Shinji is attracted to her, although he's more drawn to Asuka.
  • Hair the Color of Saffron features a discussion of this trope:
    Melisandre: I am reminded of a red priest in Asshai, who had an... interesting... theory about men and their mothers.
    Stannis: About men and their mothers?
    Melisandre: He claimed that every man secretly wishes to kill his father and to bed his mother.
    Stannis: [scoff] Utter nonsense! A complete and utter nonsense.
    Melisandre: Possibly. Though, I have always been puzzled by the... causality, shall we say.
    Stannis: Causality?
    Melisandre: Does every man wish to kill his father so that he could finally be free to bed his mother, or is it the other way around?
    Stannis: The other way around?
    Melisandre: Does he wish to bed his mother in order to vanquish and then replace his father?.
  • Shards of a Memory: An Elektra-Complex example is present with Karai and Master Shard/Tang Shen. This version of Karai is far less stable than her canon-version, taking greater peigns to attack Shard directly instead of the turtles, even developing a direct hatred for April because she sees her as Shard's replacement for her.

  • 8 Mile dramatizes this, in line with the existing subtext in Eminem's music (mentioned below). Rabbit's mother is introduced in a scene where Rabbit enters her trailer to find her having sex with her worthless boyfriend, who Rabbit instantly hates, and, after he hits his mother, eventually fistfights. It's implied he gets into fights with all of his mother's boyfriends. His mother is grateful to him for his protectiveness, but behaves inappropriately towards him, such as stroking his face and calling him "her little Rabbit" in a romantic tone, and checking him out shirtless. There's also a scene where Rabbit's girlfriend Alex is amused and kind of horrified to find out that Rabbit's mother calls him "Rabbit", since she'd been told the name was a reference to his promiscuity (apparently, it's just what his mother called him because of his big ears).
  • Amusingly mentioned in Analyze This:
    Dr. Ben Sobel: Oedipus was a Greek king who killed his father and married his mother.
    Boss Paul Vitti: Fuckin' Greeks.
  • Back to the Future has a lot of fun with this, but most obviously comes down on the side of inversion; neither Lorraine nor George is aware that "Calvin Klein" is their future son Marty, but Lorraine wants to get very close to Marty (much to his horror), and rather than supplanting his father Marty has to do the exact opposite and build him up to make sure that his family fortunes end up okay.
    • The novelization, on the other hand, actually plays it straight. Marty continually insults his father, calling him a nerd every chance he gets (B to the F goes as far as to use the phrase "nerd racist"), and hating him for his severe lack of a spine. While he does insult his mom as well and expresses disbelief at Doc's creepy "She hasn't given birth to you yet, so it's O.K. to get down and dirty with her" comments, during the actual make-out scene with her, he seriously gets into it. Ahhh, the things that change when you script doctor a movie...note 
      • The actual movie could be considered this if you look too deeply into it, as Cracked did.
  • In Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, Sigmund Freud analyzes Ted onstage, explaining about Ted's father's resentment to him. As Ted gets up, Sig motions to Bill to take the "couch." Bill, whose father married a girl Bill & Ted went to high school with, merely shrugs him off with "Nah, I'm good. Just a minor Oedipus Complex, dude."
  • In the war drama Conspiracy (2001), Dr. Kritzinger relates a story to Reinhard Heydrich about an old friend of Kritzinger who hated his abusive father but loved his doting mother. To the friend's surprise, his mother's death didn't affect him all that much, but his father's death made him cry uncontrollably. The tragedy was that the son's hatred for his father became more important to him than his mother's love, turning him into an empty shell after the man's death.
  • In Crooked House, Philip and Roger both harbour a deep resentment towards their father Aristide, and wish to supplant him as head of the family. For his part, Aristide took great pleasure in keeping his sons solidly under his thumb. To add to the mix, Philip's son Eustace admits to having the hots for his step-grandmother.
  • The German-Italian movie The Damned (1969) has the love-hate relationship between Martin von Essenbeck and his mother.
  • Junior, also known as Engine Trouble, featured a bizarre version where the protagonist attempts to seduce the mentally disabled title murderer, by dressing as his mother and then proceeding to grab his crotch to get him to drop his weapon. She then sets him on fire. This works.
  • The driving force of Jupiter Ascending is the conflict between the Abrasax siblings and Jupiter, the genetic recurrence of their mother. While the Abrasax patriarch is never mentioned or seen, the two Abrasax brothers definitely have an unhealthy interest in their mother.
    • Titus is The Casanova whose defining scene is a Zero-G Spot pseudo-orgy of heavy petting. He plans to secure his claim to Earth by marrying Jupiter, and all that implies.
    • Balem's main goal is to kill Jupiter to retain his claim to Earth. Pretty standard villain fare, until his Villainous Breakdown culminates in the reveal that he murdered their mother in the first place, and he screams that "SHE BEGGED ME TO DO IT!" That's more than a little obsessed with her.
  • Lola in The Loved Ones. She is clearly jealous and hateful to her mother, and wants her father to love her back. After her father's death, she makes sure to kill her mother, which is something she likely wanted to do a long time ago.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Thor: The Dark World: Loki genuinely loves his mother Frigga, and overthrows his father Odin (whom he now loathes after being disowned and nearly executed), usurping the Asgardian throne in the process.
    • Guardians of the Galaxy (2014): The parallels with Peter Quill's love interest Gamora and his mother Meredith are exhibited in the Final Battle. As for the other side of this trope, in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Peter learns that his father Ego killed Meredith by putting a tumor in her brain... and doesn't waste a second blowing Ego's human body away before eventually destroying him utterly.
  • Pointed out in The Producers song "Keep It Gay":
    Oedipus won't bomb
    if he winds up with mom
  • This seems to be at play in Psycho. Norman Bates' mother deliberately isolated her 5-year-old son from the outside world and made him utterly dependent on her after Mr. Bates' death. Naturally enough, the 12-year-old, completely co-dependent Norman then reacts rather badly to her remarriage. One of the sequels outright shows in flashback that Mrs. Bates was sexually abusing Norman until she remarried.
  • Sleepwalkers: Stephen King once again makes it Squick as possible between the mother and son antagonists.
  • While Lilli never knew her birth mother in Snow White: A Tale of Terror, her initial hatred of her stepmother is sparked by jealousy that someone else was taking her father's attention away. This leads to one interesting scene, where Lilli wears one of her mother's dresses to a party, in the hopes of impressing her father.
  • Spanking the Monkey: Ray has a distant relationship with his frequently absent father Tom, and a codependent relationship with his mother Susan, which eventually becomes sexual, causing him much mental anguish and confusion.
  • The Squid and the Whale: 12-year-old Frank hates his father and is very attached to his mother, which disturbingly shades into sexual attraction, as at one point he seems to fantasize about raping her. Inverted with Walt, who hates his mother and is very loyal to his father — until his father becomes his sexual rival for Lili.
  • Star Wars:
    • Anakin Skywalker was very obsessed with his mother. He marries an older woman who looks like his mother. His mother's death is one of the things that drives him to the Dark Side. He supposedly doesn't have a biological father, but Palpatine is hinted to have used the Force to create him and acts as a father-figure. Obi-Wan is also a father-figure to Anakin. He kills both of them. Ironically, being a father himself had helped him turn away from the Dark Side.
    • Oedipus Complex seems to run hard in the Skywalker line; just take a look at Anakin's grandson Ben Solo aka Kylo Ren, who definitely has a case. Despite his contempt for and murder of his father, Kylo ultimately can't bring himself to do the same to his mother. He also fixates on Rey, a woman who bears a strong resemblance to his mother, and kills his other father-figure, Snoke, to save her life.
  • India, the protagonist of Stoker is implied to have a bit of an Electra complex. She was very close to her father, but has a strained relationship with her mother (though she does love her). She later becomes infatuated with her uncle, whom she notes looks a lot like her father. As India's relationship with her uncle deepens, her relationship with her mother only gets worse... especially since her mother is infatuated with him as well.
  • The Terminator and its sequels is chock-full of this. It's even lampshaded in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines when Kate (Claire Danes) shoots one of the machines. John admiringly says "You remind me of my mother."
  • Wicked (1998): Julia Stiles' character has an Electra Complex that proves deadly to anyone who shows more than a passing interest in her father.
  • The World Is Not Enough: Elektra King hated her father and arranged to have him murdered, but she clearly adores her mother, and Elektra's actions are partially fueled by her love for her mother's side of the family, as she claims that she is taking back the kingdom that her father stole from her mother. The Electra Complex plays into her relationship with Renard, even though he's not much older — watch the positively girlish way that she runs to the window to see him arriving, flings herself into his arms when he enters, then leads him off to present the captive M to him as a gift. M herself is somewhat of a maternal figure towards Elektra because M was a close friend of Elektra's father, and Elektra wants M dead for leaving her at the mercy of her kidnappers.

  • Sylvia Plath had a couple of poems dealing with her father issues, primarily "Daddy."
  • Nicholas Harpole and Alec Checkerfield from The Company Novels have a real doozy of a situation: Once upon a time three guys were cloned, two died and became virtually undead, sharing the third body. Deciding to (a) claim their mutual girlfriend for himself, and (b) make sure that the two extra guys got bodies of their own, Edward takes over the body and arranges for Mendoza to bear twin sons and sticks digital Nick and Alec inside them. They grow up, again, with Edward and Mendoza as their parents. Remembering the whole time that "Mommy" is really their girlfriend. Yeah, issues much?
  • In Dangerous Spirits, Konstantine's conflict with his son had a significant impact on him and greatly colors his interactions with Alexei.
  • Dollanganger Series: Cathy very much wants to supplant her mother Corrine—her power over men, and her poise. The desire to be like her mother conflicting with her fear of being like her mother is one of the most foundational things about Cathy, at the very core of her character. Cathy also wants to steal her mother's husband as a way of getting back at her. The husband in question is not Cathy's father, it's Corrine's second husband Bart. That said, Cathy did have Incest Subtext with her late father, and if he were still alive at this point it's not out of the question that she might've tried to steal him too.
  • In the Godzilla vs. Kong film novelization's expansion, Ren Serizawa has a truckload of unresolved issues with his neglectful father, which drive his obsession with killing Godzilla — the very creature his father committed his life (and death) to — and going against everything his father stood for. The novel outright states at one point that Ren equates killing Godzilla with surpassing his father. By contrast, Ren's relationship with his mother appears to have been more positive, and her death married with Dr. Serizawa's severe emotional distance was a big factor in Ren's problems with the old man.
  • In John C. Wright's The Golden Age, the amnesiac Phaethon learns that he is suing to have his father Helion declared dead. Later he offers Helion the information he needs to restore a lost hour to his memory and so be the same person — at a price. Only in The Golden Transcedence does Daphne reveal to Helion that in that hour, he had promised Phaethon the price that Phaethon had set for the memory.
  • In Harry Potter, Voldemort killed his Disappeared Muggle Dad. Barty Crouch was also killed by his son, although you'd never figure it by watching the Goblet of Fire movie.
    • Even more interesting is that Severus Snape also hated his father enough for fans to speculate that's where his muggle prejudice stemmed from while attaching himself the name "Prince", taken from his mother, and being fond of Lily Evans because he saw her as having maternal attributes.
    • Interestingly, in the case of Voldemort, we see that it starts out as an inversion. He excitedly figures that he inherited his magical powers from his father because, in his mind, his mother was too weak to have them because she died and feels compelled to find out about him not caring one bit about the love that he never gave him and for abandoning him as he only seeks to prove his own superiority through him. He kills him as it becomes too much for him to deal with that he was a mere filthy Muggle.
  • The Warhammer 40,000 spin-off Horus Heresy novels tend to present the eponymous rebellion of Warmaster Horus against the Emperor in very oedipal terms. The Primarchs, and Horus in particular, constantly refer to the Emperor as their father (and since he created them all with genetic manipulation and arcane science, he is the closest thing to a biological father any of them have). Horus becomes disillusioned with the Emperor's plans for humanity and the galaxy in the aftermath of his near-death experience on Davin, and ever after determines to overthrow his father and rule humanity in his stead. His brother Primarchs are split down the middle, some staying loyal to their father, others having nursed similar hatreds and disillusionments and siding with Horus against him. The maternal aspects of the trope do not apply, however, as the Primarchs were vat-grown from synthetic genetic material and thus do not have a mother.
  • Haruki Murakami's Kafka on the Shore has this… plus 1.Kafka's father prophesied that he would murder him, sleep with his mom and sleep with his sister. He does all three, if that's the way you interpret it (Murakami purposefully made the father and sister part something that you had to interpret yourself, as there's evidence for sleeping with and killing his sister/dad and not sleeping with and killing is sister/dad.
  • A recurring theme in Dennis Lehane's Kenzie and Gennaro Series. The Hero, Patrick Kenzie, hates his abusive father more than anybody else on Earth. Also, the first book features gang leader Roland Angeline and his father Marion Socia, who end up waging a brutal gang war against each other. And the third book subverts it by featuring Corrupt Corporate Executive Trevor Stone waging a war for control against his psychopathic daughter Desiree.
  • The ancient Hittite story called "The Kingship of Heaven" tells the myth that may have inspired Hesiod's Theogony: The god Alalu is overthrown by his son Anu, he's then overthrown by his son Kumarbi, and he in turn gets overthrown by his son Teshub. Teshub is a thunder god like Zeus, and Kumarbi bites off sky-god Anu's genitals, just as Cronos later castrated the sky-god Ouranos. Like Cronos, Kumarbi produces some of his children from his own body, though in this case, it's male pregnancy resulting from said castration.
  • In Jane Austen's Love and Freindship, Augustus and Sophia to their parents:
    Convinced as you must be from what I have already told you concerning Augustus and Sophia, that there never were a happier Couple, I need not, I imagine, inform you that their union had been contrary to the inclinations of their Cruel and Mercenary Parents; who had vainly endeavoured with obstinate Perseverance to force them into a Marriage with those whom they had ever abhorred; but with an Heroic Fortitude worthy to be related and admired, they had both constantly refused to submit to such despotic Power.
    After having so nobly disentangled themselves from the shackles of Parental Authority, by a Clandestine Marriage, they were determined never to forfeit the good opinion they had gained in the World, in so doing, by accepting any proposals of reconciliation that might be offered them by their Fathers — to this farther tryal of their noble independance, however, they never were exposed.
  • In Devon Monk's Magic to the Bone, Allie fought quite hard to extricate herself from her father.
  • In Nightmare Alley, Lilith states that Stan is suffering from this, and it's even implied that she may not be far from the truth. When he was a child he witnessed his mother having sex with another man who wasn't his father, an event he often flashes back to, and it's stated that his mother used to spray perfume on her pillow. When he first meets Lilith, he gets a whiff of her perfume and instantly feels shame but is also immediately sexually attracted to her. This is the first of many subtextual inferences that Lilith, a woman that Stan becomes sexually infatuated with, reminds him in some ways of his mother who abandoned him as a child. He also loathes his father and openly expresses a desire to kill him.
  • The Once and Future King: The Oedipal conflict between King Arthur and his son Mordred is what brings down the Round Table in the Arthurian legend. In this book, Mordred decides to get as close as he can to re-enacting the complex by pretending that Arthur was dead so that he could marry Guenevere (the first thing noted when word of this gets out, is how the queen is old enough to be Mordred's mother).
  • The main character's son in Boris Johnson's Seventy Two Virgins is referred to as having an Oedipus complex; the book opens with a number of examples of his sinister behaviour towards the protagonist.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: Cersei is plenty incestuous, but this is a supplanting-only example. Cersei doesn't hate or want to kill her father — she greatly admires him… and wants to supplant him anyways. She wants to be so much greater than him — so overshadow him — that when people look back at it their time in history, he will only be remembered as her father. She wants to be the power of House Lannister.
    • Also an element is the colder relationship with her mother. While she had a huge deal of admiration for her powerful father, she resents her mother for keeping her and Jaime apart after catching them in incestuous practices and never speaks of her.
  • Star Wars Legends: Luke's son, Ben, likes a girl who's similar to his mother, and sides with her over his father in every argument.
  • In-story example: in Tender Is the Night, a group watches the aptly-named movie Daddy's Girl at the end of which a young woman comes back to her father. Although most of the audience is overjoyed by the ending, the psychoanalyst Dick Diver is described as wincing because of the obvious implications of Oedipus complex. Yes: somewhere, a psychoanalyst is wincing.
  • Hesiod made a plot of this in his Theogony, in which the god Cronos overthrows his abusive father Ouranos, then (as a result of a prophecy that he'd meet a similar fate) abuses his own children until his son Zeus (with the help of Cronos' wife Gaia) overthrows him in turn.
  • The Thorn Birds is rife with this. Primarily, with oldest Cleary son Frank and mother Fee. Frank is positively obsessed with his mother, to the point of being sickened and angry when he sees that she's pregnant again, even moreso when Fee makes it clear that Paddy, her husband, did not force himself on her. In fact, the constant estrangement between Paddy and Frank is described as "the rivalry for Fee".
    • Reversed (in what some psychologists have termed "The Jocasta Complex") with Meggie and Dane. Meggie uses Dane as an emotional substitute for his father Ralph, her true love, but she actually wants her son to get married and have children, rather than keep him to herself, but she still sees his decision to become a priest as a personal attack on her.
  • William de Worde from The Truth hates his father, but his mother is a complete nonentity.
  • An inversion occurs in Washington Square — Lavinia Penniman and Morris Townsend correspond heavily throughout the story (she fancies herself a matchmaker for her niece), and while she finds him attractive and charming, she also loves him like the son she never had with her late husband. Morris, on the other hand, despises her.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Connor on Angel, paralleling Oedipus to an unusually large extent — to many viewers' disgust. No, Cordelia wasn't Connor's mother, but she did change his diapers. The previous year. It's lampshaded by the captured Angelus: "Doing your mom and trying to kill your dad. Hmm. There should be a play." Of course this taunt is clearly meant for viewers; Connor was raised in another dimension and has no idea what he's referencing, and in any case from his perspective has no reason to see Cordelia as someone maternal. Even after Angel made a Deal with the Devil to give Connor fake memories and a new family, Connor still Likes Older Women. Angel complains that "they were supposed to fix that."
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003):
    • Lee Adama is presented as forever looking for a way out from under his father's influence. As Lee is a fighter pilot and his father is his commanding officer, this is more than a little difficult. He gets a bit closer to actually doing so in Season 4 when he resigns from the military to become a politician.
    • And John Cavil on the Cylon side, complete with frakking his humanoid Cylon "mother".
  • Boardwalk Empire features James Darmody, who is extremely close to his (thirteen years older) mother, Gillian. He is most definitely not close to his powerful father the Commodore, a creepy old man who is indicated to have sired James through his past rape of Gillian. Eventually, we learn that Jimmy once slept with his mother while both were drunk. He then kills the Commodore, in the same episode where this is revealed, and had earlier tried to have his father figure Nucky killed as well.
  • Reversed (some psychologists have dubbed this "The Jocasta Complex) on The Bold and the Beautiful. Forrester matriarch Stephanie was positively obsessed with oldest son Ridge, much to everyone's annoyance and disgust, particularly her other children. Even favorite daughter-in-law Taylor finally got fed up with it when she realized that the real reason that Stephanie always supported her in the competition between her and Brooke is that Taylor reminded Stephanie so much of herself. Therefore, if she herself couldn't be married to Ridge, she'd settle for manipulating him into marrying someone just like her.
  • Borgia: Cesare is extremely interested in supplanting his father Rodrigo. He's not incestuously interested in his mother (although he is in his sister) but his mother is his favorite parent, and he certainly is more fond of her than his father.
    Cesare: A son exists to glorify the life of his father — as meaningless and worthless and that life might be. But if a boy is to become a man, he must glorify himself… and make a name even greater than his father's. A name… that will shout throughout history. I am Cesare Borgia!
  • Implied with Jake in Brooklyn Nine-Nine as a corollary to his Daddy Issues. When brainstorming sexy girl's names he says his mom's name; he tells a psychiatrist "I don't want to have sex with my mom" totally unprompted; and he refers to Amy, his wife, as his mother more than once.
  • Referenced in Community, where Britta (presumably correctly) surmises that Jeff's Calling the Old Man Out speech to Pierce's father is a manifestation of his unresolved animosity towards his own dad.
  • One episode of the original CSI featured a murdered woman with the main suspect being her ex-husband. It was later discovered that the one who murdered her was her own daughter as the woman had abandoned the family years before leaving the daughter to take up the reins of matriarch of the family, even raising her younger brother as though he were her own son. This caused the girl to develop an intense Electra Complex that she began taking fertility supplements that caused her to develop a pseudo-pregnancy making her believe she was actually pregnant with her father's child. The revelation understandably causes the father to be absolutely horrified.
  • Caroline and Will's bond is a Played for Laughs variant on Defending The Guilty. She insists on calling herself "Mummy" and keeps speculating about his sex life while calling him "baby boy", and Will is not happy when he learns that Caroline is having an affair with Will's potential Evil Mentor Miles.
  • Joked about in Desperate Housewives when Lynette pretends to be a teenage girl online and inadvertently causes her son to fall in love with her alter ego.
    Tom: Are you gonna tell him the truth now or wait until he kills me and blinds himself?
  • The family dynamic of the seemingly dysfunctional Barones could well be this; two grown man-children alternately terrified of their mother whilst fighting for her approval and attention, and fending off a sarcastic and insensitive father. The last ever episode of Everybody Loves Raymond lampshades this. Hearing late at night how near Raymond came to death, Marie Barone rushes across the street in her nightwear, storms up to her son's bedroom, pushes his wife out of the way, and leaps on him to smother him in hugs and kisses. It is left to Debra Barone to make the obvious comment:
    Debra: I always knew this was gonna happen someday.
  • Interview with the Vampire (2022): Based on his dinner conversation with Florence and Paul, Lestat adores his mother and fondly talks about her ("...she gave me every advantage in life as a young man: my first mastiff, first flintlock rifle, the means to make my way to Paris"), but he loathes his father, whom Lestat characterizes as a vulgar man with a temper, for beating and starving him in order to dissuade him from joining the clergy.
  • Lost is chock-full of this. Nearly every character has some sort of paternal baggage, and Ben kills his father; Kate kills her father; Locke gets Sawyer to kill his father for him.
  • Merlin — Arthur in "Sins of the Father" borders on this. He meets a (young and beautiful) ghost of his mother, who tells him that his father is to blame for her death. So he tries to kill Uther.
  • The Monk episode "Mr. Monk and the Three Julies" had the Red Herring suspect, a schizophrenic man named Matthew Teeger, being almost completely obsessed with his mother, almost to Norman Bates levels, once even severely injuring his stepdad under the belief that the stepdad was hurting her, and even taxidermied his mother after she died in order to keep people thinking that she was still alive, including himself apparently. However, despite these facts, it turns out that he's completely harmless, or at least not the person targeting the various Julie Teegers.
  • One Life to Live. Victoria Lord apparently had some version of this. She idolized and adored her father and seemed flat-out jealous of his marriage to her rival Dorian — who at one point once told her "Watch it, Viki. Your Electra Complex is showing". It's also implied that a large part of her attraction to Sloan Carpenter was due to his physical and personality resemblance to her father. When it's revealed that Victor sexually abused Viki from when she was 7 until she was a young adult, the reasons for her feelings become quite disturbing.
  • Jim Profit, on Profit, takes this archetype to the logical extreme — by murdering his father and having sex with his (step)mother.
  • Shaka Zulu: Shaka Zulu grew up loving his mother Queen Nandi but hating his father King Senzangakhona, as the latter only married her to save face after impregnating the young woman out of wedlock, and mistreated her out of spite, earning Shaka's hatred.
  • Tony Soprano, leading man of The Sopranos, has an oedipus complex relating to his mother, and it is repeatedly shown to impact his relationships with other women in his life.
  • Tragic version in Stranger Things Season 3 as it turns out Jerk Jock Billy deeply loved his mother having treasured memories of being with her in his youth. However, Billy couldn’t protect her against his abusive father and she left breaking Billy’s heart and ensuring he’d turn out like his cruel father. This also explains Billy’s attraction to Karen an older woman who resembles his mother. In the Final Battle, Eleven making Billy remember his mom causes his Heel–Face Turn from evil and perform a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • In a rare maternal case, in Two and a Half Men Charlie and Alan loathe their mother, Evelyn. Although not shown or implied to hate their father(s), considering how many husbands she went through (at least four) during their childhood, it's not likely that they'd actually care about him/them, either.
    • Charlie once claimed that Evelyn drove his and Alan's birth father to an early grave, implying they were somewhat attached to him. In another episode, Charlie began dating a woman who looked and acted exactly like Evelyn, though he was the only person not to notice it. Rose gives him a copy of Oedipus Rex, but gives away the ending because "You'll probably be blind by the time you get to it."

  • In the German satire mag "Titanic", they had a report from the Balkans claiming you don't need GPS to identify the state — just note whether mothers, sisters, or daughters are the sex object of curses and insults. (Probably GPS is still preferable...)

    Myths & Religion 
  • Ironically subverted with Oedipus, the Trope Namer himself. In Oedipus’s story, when he killed his father to take his place as king and married his mother, he didn’t know that they were his parents - and he was in fact running away from his adopted parents because of the prophecy he'd kill his father and marry his mother (he had no idea he had been adopted). He only learned the truth about it later. And when he learned that he had killed his father, married his mother and had several children with his own mother, he freaks out and gouges his eyes out. Then, he exiles himself. And for the record, his mother didn’t know that she had married and banged her own son either. And she didn’t know that he had killed her husband the king. When she learned the truth, she also freaked out like Oedipus did and she killed herself. Basically, it’s a subversion in that the ideas of surpassing and succeeding your father and being in love with your mother are both there, but unlike most examples on this page, Oedipus didn’t do it intentionally, because he didn’t know that the man he had killed was his father and he didn’t know that the woman he had married was his mother.

  • Regina Spektor's song "Oedipus".
  • The Doors' "The End".
    ''Father—"Yes, son?"—I want to kill you,
    Mother, I want to… fuck you!!!
  • "Momma's Boy", by Chromeo.
  • Tom Lehrer's "Oedipus Rex", from An Evening Wasted with Tom Lehrer:
    There once lived a man named Oedipus Rex
    You may have heard about his odd complex
    His name appears in Freud's index
    'cause he
    loved his mother...
  • The Three Shadows, Part II, by Bauhaus.
    Oh, classic gentlemen, say your prayers, to the wind of prostitution
    To your faces, and Rex Complexes, riddle my breast, full of the oppressed pus.
    • Though, in this song, the Rex Complexes bit is a polite way of calling someone a mother fucker.
  • Stephen Lynch's "Mother's Day" is this Played for Laughs.
    Lynch: I thank you, dear lady./ For being my mom./ You did all my homework/You took me to prom./ And I was the on-ly guy... who got lucky that night! (audience groans in disgust) What?! Oh, like you never fucked your mom before!
  • “Holding Back the Years” by Simply Red, in which he uses the Latin terms for “father” and “mother” to make the rhyme work:
    Strangled by the wishes of pater
    Hoping for the arms of mater
    Get to me the sooner or later
  • GG Allin's "Kill Thy Father, Rape Thy Mother."
  • A definite subtext to Eminem, though complicated by the fact that he hates his mother, too.
    • In "My Name Is", Slim Shady shames his mother (depicted in the music video as a video-ho posing for his amusement in a slutty nightgown) for having small tits, then asks us to tell his father that 'I slit his throat in this dream I had'.
    • In "Kill You", Slim tells his mother to 'bend over and take it like a slut', then shifts into the voice of an appalled Moral Guardian horrified that he's 'raping his own mother' and still on the cover of Rolling Stone.
    • At least touched on in "I'm Back", where Slim apologises to P Diddy, then insists he would impregnate J-Lo even if she was his own mother, then have 'a son and a new brother' to then abandon. A few lines later, over the outro of the song, he then adlibs, "Hi, Mom."
    • In "Cleaning Out My Closet", Eminem just wishes his father would die, then mocks his mother for being dumped by him as if she was an ex-lover, using a soft vocal tone to really drive it home - "you're getting older, and it's cold when you're lonely".
    • Also touched on in "SHADYXV" via Cast Incest where he raps about murdering Santa Claus and then smacking Kim Basinger's ass (she played his mother in 8 Mile. There is a non-zero amount of sexual tension between the characters which created tabloid rumours they were involved, but was probably just acting.)

  • Despite there being almost no textual evidence for it, generations of William Shakespeare scholars, directors, and actors have projected a deeper, less conscious motive onto Hamlet's revenge plot against his uncle (who has married his mother). Mel Gibson's 1990 film version especially plays up this aspect of Gertrude and Hamlet's relationship.
    • Then there's the Reduced Shakespeare Company version, which includes the immortal line from Hamlet to Claudius "You killed my father and slept with my mother! That's my job!"
  • Harold Pinter's plays. Though, to be honest, everybody hates everybody in the Pinter verse.
  • Euripides' Hippolytus: Kinda. Phaedra, wife of Theseus, is in love with her stepson, Hippolytus. He is appropriately squicked out, and this drives her crazy so she tells Theseus that Hippolytus raped her. It all ends with Hippolytus being eaten by a sea monster in the middle of the grassland, and Phaedra drinks some poison to kill herself.
  • Eugene O'Neill's Mourning Becomes Electra adapts a classic Greek tragic trilogy, The Oresteia, relocating it to New England after the end of the Civil War. Incestuous undertones are a major motivation of the murderous actions of the characters — at the least, both of the children display unhealthy obsession with the parent of the opposite gender and deep-seated dislike of the parent of the same gender.
  • As mentioned elsewhere on this page, Oedipus the King is not a true example despite being the Trope Namer. Though he does indeed end up killing his father and marrying his mother, Oedipus never knew who either of them were before it was too late, and wanted desperately to avoid this, but was screwed over badly by Fate.
  • In Peter Pan, the pre-teen Wendy Darling has undertones of an Electra complex. It's telling that the original play instructs the casting director to cast the same man as Mr. Darling and Captain Hook wherever possible.

    Video Games 
  • Devil May Cry bleeds Oedipal subtext, no shortness of thanks to Dante's hot blonde love interest Trish who looks exactly like his hot blonde mother Eva albeit extremely sexualised. It also doesn't help that Dante prefers Eva over his father Sparda and shuns his demon-side in general. Hideki Kamiya, seeing this trope in effect, has tried counterclaims of Oedipus by saying the relationship between Dante and Trish isn't romantic or sexual in nature. Unfortunately, this message didn't spread across all titles as in Viewtiful Joe Dante and Trish can replace Joe and his girlfriend Silvia.
    Vergil: (to Trish) How repulsive.
  • Disgaea:
    • In Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, Laharl has shown signs of this, claiming that he wanted to kill his father. (How much of that is just bluster is unknown).
    • Mao spends almost all of Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice training to kill his father. Subverted when it turns out that his hatred for his father came from Aurum's brainwashing, he actually admired Daddy very much.
  • In Double Switch, Eddie gives off very strong vibes of this, because he apparently wishes that his father was dead, and he loves his mother. In fact, he did say something like "Why don't you just get out of our lives?!" to his father.
  • The plot of Elemental Gearbolt is really the story of the very Oedipal Well-Intentioned Extremist antagonist, Bel Cain. He is a young crown prince who justifiably plots against his jerkass Adipose Rex father, eventually killing him and claiming the throne in order to enact his plans. Bel Cain's fixation on his mother Leminea could be construed as subtext-y, but that aside, she is the reason Bel Cain comes to hate his father and the catalyst for his intent to change the world.
  • Final Fantasy:
  • A good part of the reason why Lord Arvis of Velthomer from Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War is so fucked up comes from this, since his father Viktor was a philandering asshole and rapist who killed himself once he found out his wife Cigyun cheated on him with Kurth Prince of Grandbell and said mother ran away in shame afterwards and never returned (She was pregnant with Kurth's child, and ultimately fell victim to Death by Childbirth). All of this happened when Arvis was seven years old: he grew up into a conflicted Magnificent Bastard with serious issues with almost every female (except for his aidé Aida and his half-brother Azel's mother) to the point of killing whoever mentioned his idealized Missing Mom in a bad light in front of him. It is heavily implied that the reason Arvis unknowingly fell in love with his half-sister is because she so greatly resembles their mother.
  • In Garou: Mark of the Wolves, Rock Howard is pretty much defined by his hate of his Disappeared Dad, Geese.
  • Basically deconstructed as Raziel's entire character arc in Legacy of Kain. His entire motivation initially seems to be to exact revenge on his father Kain after an apparently very Oedipal preventive attempted infanticide. However, it turns out that the entire chain of events was set into motion by Kain himself as a very complex Gambit Roulette involving Time Travel to induce a Screw Destiny to actually, in the end, save Nosgoth from corruption and Raziel himself from becoming a soul attached to a sword, meaning that Kain more or less killed Raziel out of love to prevent him from suffering a Fate Worse than Death.
  • The simplest way of describing the entire plot of the Metal Gear saga is this trope. For every major character in it. Yes, all of them.
    • Bonus points to Naked Snake for having an Oedipus complex plot with a woman who is, biologically, unrelated to him.
    • The members of the Cobra Unit all regard The Boss as a mother figure... including The Sorrow who would go on to become her Love Interest and the father of her child. This is, unsurprisingly, made fun of in this strip of The Last Days of Foxhound.
  • Persona 2: Innocent Sin is the most Oedipal game ever. Ten years ago, the shrine where the main characters played as kids was burnt down (with two of them inside, no less), and Tatsuya's father was put on the case. He nearly found the culprit, Tatsuya Sudou (a different Tatsuya), and was kicked off the police force because Sudou's father is the foreign minister. Tatsuya became ashamed with his father for losing his job (and not looking for another one), and tried to break away from his family and become independent. Eikichi has had a bad relationship with his father since the 1989 Tanabata Festival, at least, who wants him to inherit the family business, a sushi shop. However, Eikichi hates sushi and wants to become a Visual Kei star (because of some other issues), and Visual Kei is probably the least traditional thing in Japan, so Eikichi is stuck as the non-traditional son of a very traditional man. note  Lisa's father wants her to be a "traditional Japanese lady", only he's a Japanophile who hasn't done much research, so "traditional Japanese lady" means "Yamato Nadeshiko in a kimono" to him. She rebels by speaking Cantonese, doing more modern things, and dating older men and experimenting with drugs for money. Maya's father was a war photographer who had to leave a lot, and was eventually killed in action. She decided to become a journalist who balances her family and her work. Yukino's father walked out on her family, so she's a total tomboy, turned into a gangster (but she gets better before the start of Persona) and has a thing for her boss, a slightly older man. Jun's father was an occultist who believed that aliens lived beneath Sumaru City and Hitler was a Mayan sorcerer, annoying his mother (a model). She spread nasty rumours about him until he killed himself (or was possibly killed by Hitler's minions), and Nyarlathotep, the Big Bad, disguised himself as the "cool dad" Jun told his friends about. Jun's mother abandoned him and he ran away from home to live with Nyarlathotep, eventually becoming the Disc-One Final Boss, The Joker, and believing that Lisa, Tatsuya, and Eikichi killed Maya, his Cool Big Sis. Oh, and the Sudous we mentioned earlier? Tatsuzou shut his son up in a mental asylum due to his schizophrenia and pyromania and forgot about him. Tatsuya Sudou is pretty pissed off by the time Eternal Punishment starts.
  • Sasha Nein of Psychonauts has no mother, as the player finds out when accessing his memories. He remembers her death, and as a child practised his unfamiliar psychic abilities on his father, who was tight-lipped about his mother. His father unknowingly supplies many of his own memories of Sasha's mother via psychic means, including one nearly-explicit memory that makes Sasha retreat like a bat out of hell.
    • Raz himself also has this going on since he states that his father has him train constantly as an acrobat and rejects his attempts to use his psychic powers, as well as psychic gypsies cursing his family with Super Drowning Skills, which leads to Raz's mental image of his father as a psychic-hating sadist. Turns out at the end that his father is actually a psychic himself and was merely trying to help train Raz to control his powers, even helping him combat his Freudian Excuse incarnate.
    • Coach Oleander, as a child was traumatized by the fact that his father was a butcher who chopped up any bunnies that he kept as pets, which along with the fact that he's never been able to get into the military leads him to try and Take Over the World. The final boss in fact is a monstrous combination of both Raz and Oleander's mental images of their fathers.
  • Present as a strong subtext, if not text, in Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. "I love my Daddy" is used as a Madness Mantra in the game, and depending on how you see the Raw Shocks, it can be argued that Cheryl has feelings for her father that are not appropriate. Since we find out that Cheryl spent much of her teen years seeking out relationships with significantly older men, it's not hard to draw that conclusion.
  • Patroklos Alexander in Soulcalibur V. While he lacks any ill will towards his father Rothion, he certainly has an obsession with his Missing Mom Sophitia, who died while he was a kid and he grows up to become a holy warrior like her. The implications become even stronger when Elysium, the spirit of Soul Calibur, manipulates him to do her bidding by assuming his mother's appearance... While said form was near-naked.

    Visual Novels 
  • It's not explicitly stated in the story itself, but Akai Ito can be approximately summarized as Oedipus Complex meets Girls' Love. Of the girls that the main character (a girl named Kei) can end-up living together with, two of them are as if mother to her. Another one come from a family of her mother. Kei has the memory of killing her own father. The memory is real... just not hers.


    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • American Dad!:
    • In an episode appropriately titled "Oedipal Panties", Stan is shown to have Yandere tendencies towards his mother, having kidnapped her boyfriends and dumped them on a deserted island so she can depend on him. Includes a scene with the two naked in the tub with Stan singing a song about scrubbing her vagina. Be right back, throwing up!
    • Steve with Francine became, in later seasons, an object of his confusing Oedipal emotions. In "Rubberneckers", Steve literally sings twice about how he would have sex with Francine if she wasn't his own mother. It really doesn't help matters that in "I Am The Walrus" Stan becomes paranoid about Steve supplanting him as man of the house and tricks him into a Primal Scene.
    • As much as Stan's daughter Hayley holds him in contempt, she once dated his body double.
  • Sterling Archer from Archer freaks out at the mere hint of anyone having sex with his mother and reacts even more hysterically whenever anyone shows interest in marrying her. So much so that he put a mind control chip in Len Trexler's skull to brainwash him into despising Malory, kidnapped Burt Reynolds when he started dating her and suffered near-permanent amnesia (thinking he was Bob from Bob's Burgers) when she actually did marry Ron Cadillac.
    • In the pilot, Lana (his former lover) claimed he once called out Mallory's name during sex.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Played straight with Zuko, who eventually starts hating his father Ozai and stops trying to win his approval. Conversely, Zuko actively loved his aforementioned mother Ursa who doted on him, causing jealousy from Azula.
    • Azula is Daddy's Little Villain and felt like she was The Un Favourite of her mother compared to Zuko. As things fall apart in the end, she hallucinates her mother saying "I love you." This drives her into full Villainous Breakdown.
  • Bojack Horseman: Sarah Lynn is implied to have shades of this. As a kind-of explanation, her biological father wasn't present and her bear stepdad was heavily implied to have been sexually abusive. She winds up sleeping with her father by proxy, BoJack, whom she's known since she was three.
    BoJack: [regarding a "The Reason You Suck" Speech] You are way out of line!
    Sarah Lynn: You're not my dad! You're just a rugged, older man who provided me with a strong masculine presence during my formative years.
    BoJack: I'm not your dad, and you're not my child. We're just a man and a lady, living in a house together, and we're both adults, and we're both a little drunk.
  • The Crumpets: As the primary conflict in the show's first two seasons, Li'l One the talking infant frequently tries to eliminate Pa in hopes of having his mother's love. Li'l One's schemes may involve removing his siblings as well, but ousting Pa is his ambition. Once, Li'l One threatens to prevent his parents' conjugal duty, and in another episode when the adults are absent or behaving like teenagers, he tries to rule his siblings and believes Ma will thank him like a father and marry him.
  • Family Guy: Stewie seems perpetually confused whether he should kill his mother or kill for her (that is, when he isn't being coded as heavily closeted) up to and including singing "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face" from My Fair Lady, and he holds Peter in deep contempt.
  • Walt from Futurama. It's supposedly what keeps him in line, although he's not especially bright in any case. Most worryingly, when he shamelessly admits it, his brothers actually smile in a manner that suggests they agree with him.
    Walt: [right after being insulted and slapped by Mom] Some day I want to marry a girl like her.
  • Thailog of Gargoyles is an Evil Twin of Goliath, cloned by Doctor Sevarius and trained by Xanatos; his goal in life is to upstage all three fathers (or at least Goliath and Xanatos, Sevarius not so much). This is taken to unsettling extremes concerning the women in Goliath's clan, as he has seduced Goliath's ex-mate Demona and made a pass at his daughter. The creepiest example is when Thailog and Demona cloned more Evil Twins of the rest of the clan, and Thailog went behind Demona's back to make one additional clone. This one, named Delilah, was made from a combination of DNA from both Demona and Goliath's current love interest Elisa; and Thailog intended for her to replace Demona as his new concubine.
  • Kaeloo: Mr. Cat mentions having an Oedipus Complex, but later gets over it with psychotherapy and decides that he never liked his mother.
  • Tai Lung and Shifu of Kung Fu Panda. Though never explicitly stated in the film (par for the course for this trope), both the Subtext and information revealed elsewhere imply that by naming Tai Lung "Dragon" and filling the snow leopard's head with dreams and fantasies about becoming the Dragon Warrior, Shifu was living vicariously through his son, trying to turn the foundling into what he was not and could never be. By the same token, it's fairly clear that aside from wanting to earn the red panda's pride and approval, Tai Lung fully intended to prove himself Shifu's better and replace him, both at the Jade Palace and as the ultimate kung fu warrior in the valley.
  • Moral Orel:
    • Clay, largely courtesy of the fact his mother spoiled him rotten and ignored his father to the point of leaving him to eat Clay's leftovers. His Oedipus Complex is played quite disgustingly in the episode Nesting, in which he has a High Octane Nausea Fuel moment in which he imagines himself naked climbing the legs of a chicken — representing his mother — and bathing in the egg fluids. Also Miss Censordoll takes advantage of him, only adding more Squick. Clay's antagonism towards his father is also very intense.
    • It's briefly implied that Bloberta might have had an Electra Complex herself. Her mother was very strict with her and showed Parental Favoritism towards her siblings. When her much more understanding father tried to "try" to help her, she says "I love you, Daddy," then he looks notably uncomfortable and leaves. Not to mention how she tries to make her husband, Clay, pattern her father’s behavior, such as his habit to constantly have a drink in his hand. Unfortunately, this in turn would turn him into an alcoholic, and to put it lightly, would end up ruining both theirs and their family’s lives.
  • A few episodes of The Simpsons deal with this in relation to Homer and Bart. In "Tennis the Menace," Lisa brings up and explains this term when talking to Homer, and Homer subsequently has a nightmare about Bart killing him and marrying Marge.
  • The South Park episode "201" retcons "Scott Tenorman Must Die" into this: Eric Cartman kills his father without realizing it's his father. And fed his remains to his half-brother.
  • Strangely enough for a Widget Series like Xavier: Renegade Angel, this is actually a recurring story arc over both seasons. The first season has Xavier try to find his father's killer, unaware that he was the one who killed his own father. The second season has Xavier try to find his mother, having sex with a elderly lobotomized woman who, yeah, turns out to be Xavier's mother.

Alternative Title(s): Electra Complex, Oedipal Complex