Intended for healthcare professionals


A glimpse of Freud’s Vienna

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 27 March 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b1292

Fate vs. Free Will

Notwithstanding all of its creative brilliance and originality, Freudian theory
nonetheless harkens back to, and borrows from, the Classics. For example,
Sophocles’ plays Oedipus Rex and Electra form the basis for
Freud’s theories of the oedipus and electra complexes. These plays and
theories all serve as metaphors for the power of the unconscious and fate over
the conscious and free will. In general, Eastern philosophy believes in the
former, while Western philosophy believes in the latter. But regardless of
culture or philosophy, we must all come to terms with these eternal
dichotomies, and reconcile our lives according to them. A satisfying and
productive way to do this is through the medium of art, which magically
transcends all dichotomies by means of imagination, creativity, symbolism, and
the juxtaposition of opposites.

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

01 April 2009
Hugh Mann
Eagle Rock, MO 65641 USA