<p>Abstract:</p><p>This essay demonstrates how two middle English Oedipus narrativesâthe <i>South English Legendary</i>âs âLife of Judasâ and the opening section of John Lydgateâs <i>Siege of Thebes</i>âinvoke the âages of manâ topos differently in order to dramatize why an individual deviates from normative development. The âLife of Judasâ alludes to the topos to speculate about character psychology and pathological development and thus crafts a medieval âpopularâ psychology. In the <i>Siege of Thebes</i>, the âages of manâ system exemplifies an idealized counterpoint to Edippusâs pathological development and explains why his existence is at odds with the Theban polis. The essay ends by considering evidence that Sigmund Freud may have known these medieval Oedipus narratives and situates these stories as distant preludes to the Freudian Oedipus complex.</p>
Studies in Philology – University of North Carolina Press
Published: Jan 11, 2019
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