The Presence of the Oedipus Complex in Paul Auster’s City of Glass Throughout history literature has had several themes or ideas that have persisted though all of its different movements. One of these ideas is that of the Oedipus complex. The Story of Oedipus was originally written by Sophocles in the fifth century BC. Sigmund Freud conceived the actual idea of the “Oedipus Complex” as it pertains to society and modern literature. A definition Oedipus complex or theory states that, A boy’s sexual wishes in regard to his mother become more intense and his father is perceived as an obstacle to them; from this the Oedipus complex originates. His identification with his father then takes on a hostile coloring and changes into a wish to get rid of his father in order to take his place with his mother (Borch-Jacobsen 268). This definition is saying in simple terms that the Oedipus complex is a desire to marry one’s mother and kill, destroy or remove one’s father. Upon examination of Paul Auster’s City of Glass one sees the Oedipus complex at work. The cast of characters in this oedipal drama are Stillman Jr. as the son, Virginia Stillman as the mother figure, and Stillman Sr. and Daniel Quinn as Stillman Jr.’s father figures. In the novel, the father figure to Stillman Jr. is played by predominately by Stillman Sr., but also in some cases by Quinn. According to the Oedipus complex Stillman Jr. would seek to destroy both of these men because they pose a threat to his relationship with his mother or mother figure. While Quinn poses a more typical oedipal threat, Stillman also fits in to the Oedipus equation. Therefore, what role does Daniel Quinn play in Stillman Jr.’s Oedipus tragedy? Well his role is both atypical and typical at the same time. The oddity of Quinn’s role comes from the fact that he is not even related to Stillman Jr. However, Quinn does play the role of Stillman’s father figure. He is hired to prote…

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