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From Greek mythology, Oedipus was the son of King Laios and Queen Jocasta. His parents had heard a prophecy from an oracle telling them that their son was destined by fate to kill his father and marry his mother. Accordingly, they took steps to abandon their baby boy, but ironically, their actions enabled the prophecy to come true. Oedipus, as a young man, didn't know that a strange man was his father, and killed him; he later married his mother, not knowing her real identity. The tragedy was detailed in the drama Oedipus the King by Sophocles.

The Freudian term Oedipus complex derives from this myth.