Oedipal?: 11/21/01

    Someone once asked me if I thought Vash had an Oedipus Complex. I was not aware of what this was until I simultaneously learned Freud and Oedipus Rex recently. I was appalled at the thought of one of my favorite characters ever having such a disorder, but the more I thought about it, the more it made horrifying sense. Let's start with the story of Oedipus the King.
Oedipus Rex is a tragedy by Sophocles that is centered around a character called Oedipus. Oedipus has a bit of a past, so I'll share that with you before I get into that story. One day King Laius and Queen Jocasta of Thebes have a baby, but since the Oracle at Delphi tells them that this child will one day grow up to kill his father and marry his mother, they pound a stake through the baby's feet to ensure he doesn't run away and give this baby to a servant and tell him to abandon it on the top of Mt. Cithaeron. The servant feels sorry for the baby and gives him to a shepard friend of his, who in turn gives it to King Polybus and Queen Merope of Corinth. They're overjoyed that they can finally raise a child, and name the baby Oedipus, which means swollen foot. This baby grows up into a strapping young man. One day, he goes to the Oracle at Delphi and learns his fortune is to kill his father and marry his mother. To prevent himself from killing Polybus and marrying Merope, he leaves Corinth. He begins to wander aimlessly, his journeys marked only by his murder of an insolent old traveler and his band of servants who would not yield the road to him (apparently this was not a crime in those times). He travels until he finds the city of Thebes under a plague and being guarded by a Sphinx. He correctly answers the Sphinx's question, and thus lifts the plague from Thebes. The townspeople rejoice, they give him the throne of Thebes and the hand of their beautiful and recently widowed Queen Jocasta. Well... you can probably see where this is going. Jocasta and Oedipus have four children and are very happy until another plague falls on Thebes, which the Gods say they will not stop until the murderer of Laius is punished. Oedipus searches out Laius's murderer and finds out that Laius was the traveler that he killed on the road so many years ago. When Jocasta finds out Oedipus is the son she abandoned so many years ago, she committs suicide, and when Oedipus finds her, he rips brooches off her dress and gouges out his eyes.
So that is the story of the original Oedipus. Now let's look at the psychological disorder.
The Oedipus Complex is formally defined in the Psychoanalytic school of thought as a stage where children manifest erotically tinged desires for their opposite-sex parent, accompanied by feeligns of hostility toward their same-sex parent. Apparently, all small children have this at some point or other. Most resolve this conflict in early childhood. Freud states that the child must purge sexual longings for the opposite-sex parent and crush the hostile feelings toward the same-sex parent, or the child will not identify with the same-sex parent and many things such as sex typing, conscience, and more will not develop correctly. A more common meaning of the Oedipus complex, and the meaning meant by the question the person posed to me, is that someone with an Oedipus complex wishes to kill their father and marry their mother (although Freud's definition covers this, I understand there's a name for the disorder of wanting to kill your mother and marry your father, an Electra Complex).

So does Vash have an informal Oedipus Complex? I didn't really wanna think about it, but look at it this way: Who would Vash see as the two people who raised him and taught him what he needed to know? Rem and Knives. Rem was definitely, I believe everyone can agree with this, a mother figure for Vash. Once Rem died, and even before she did, Vash was subjected to the words of Knives. Knives tried to open his own world to Vash, but Vash was already stuck in Rem's world. Knives kind of took care of Vash when they were on the planet after the ship crashed. So Knives could be seen as a liberal father figure. Who is Vash after during the entire series? Knives. Vash wants to stop Knives as a form of revenge for killing Rem throughout the entire series. Although Rem's philosophies will not let Vash kill Knives, he can stop him. The fact that Rem's philosophies are stopping him leads into Rem. Does Vash love Rem? Probably more than anything else ever. Vash hangs on every word Rem ever said. Would Vash wanna marry Rem? I dunno, but I do know that Vash saw a lot more in Rem than he ever saw in Knives. So... I guess this is evidence of the informal Oedipus Complex, as creepy as that is o_O; This next part is a massive end-of-series spoiler, read at your own risk. But luckily he resolves the complex in the last episode (or so we assume) by saying he will follow his own philosophies from now on, and he also does not kill Knives, but takes him along. Whew ^_^ So I think Vash DOES have an Oedipus Complex for the duration of the series, but shakes it off with the last few minutes in the last episode. I hope that puts your mind at ease after reading this disturbing commentary.