The concept of the “narcissistic plight of the aged Oedipus” refers to the specific psychological and emotional challenges faced by Oedipus, the tragic hero of Sophocles’ play “Oedipus Rex,” as he grapples with the consequences of his actions and confronts his own self-perception.
In Greek mythology, Oedipus unwittingly fulfilled a prophecy that he would kill his father and marry his mother. When he discovers the truth about his identity and the tragic events that have unfolded, he blinds himself and goes into exile, enduring immense suffering and anguish.
The narcissistic aspect of Oedipus’ plight stems from his excessive self-focus and self-absorption. Even in his aged state, Oedipus remains preoccupied with his own role in his downfall and the impact it has had on his life. His self-centeredness is evident in his obsessive desire for self-punishment, as he blinds himself in an act of self-inflicted retribution.
Additionally, Oedipus’s plight is characterized by a deep sense of remorse and guilt, which further contributes to his narcissistic perspective. Despite the enormity of his actions and the harm caused to others, Oedipus struggles to fully acknowledge and take responsibility for his deeds. Instead, he is primarily concerned with his own suffering and how it affects him personally.
It’s important to note that the term “narcissistic plight” is not a widely used or established psychological concept. It is a phrase that seems to describe the unique situation and mindset of Oedipus in his later years, combining elements of narcissism, self-pity, and the psychological consequences of his actions.
© Linda C J Turner