Anda di halaman 1dari 193

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FreudandForbiddenKnowledge
Editedby
PeterL.RudnytskyandEllenHandlerSpitz

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ThecoeditorsofthisvolumewishtoexpresssincereappreciationtoKittyMoore,JasonRenker,andDespinaPapazoglouGimbel.
NEWYORKUNIVERSITYPRESS
NewYorkandLondon
Copyright1994byNewYorkUniversity
Allrightsreserved
LibraryofCongressCataloginginPublicationData
Freudandforbiddenknowledge/editedbyPeterL.RudnytskyandEllen
HandlerSpitz.
p.cm.
Includesbibliographicalreferencesandindex.
Contents:"AndRebeccalovedJacob,"butFreuddidnot/YaelS.
FeldmanPrometheanpositions/EllenHandlerSpitzTheOedipus
Rexandtheancientunconscious/MarthaC.NussbaumSophocles'
OedipusTyrannus:Freud,language,andtheunconscious/Charles
SegalTheOedipusmyth/VassilkaNikolavaRecognitionin
Greektragedy:psychoanalyticonAristotelianperspectives/
BennettSimonFreudandAugustine/PeterL.RudnytskyThe
architectureofsexuality:bodyandspaceinTheDecameron/
RichardKuhnsOnHamlet'smadnessandtheunsaid/AndrGreen.
ISBN0814774377
1.Psychoanalysisandliterature.2.Knowledge,Theoryof,in
literature.3.EuropeanliteratureHistoryandcriticism.
I.Rudnytsky,PeterL.II.Spitz,EllenHandler,1939
PN56.P92F721994
809'.93353dc209325137
CIP
NewYorkUniversityPressbooksareprintedonacidfreepaper,andtheirbindingmaterialsarechosenforstrengthanddurability.
ManufacturedintheUnitedStatesofAmerica
10987654321

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ToPaulE.StepanskyandGladysTopkis

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Contents
ix

Introduction
PeterL.Rudnytsky

1."AndRebeccaLovedJacob,"butFreudDidNot
YaleS.Feldman

2.PrometheanPositions
EllenHandlerSpitz

26

3.TheOedipusRexandtheAncientUnconscious
MarthaC.Nussbaum

42

4.Sophocles'OedipusTyrannus:Freud,Language,andtheUnconscious
CharlesSegal

72

5.TheOedipusMyth:AnAttemptatInterpretationofItsSymbolicSystems
VassilkaNikolova

96

6.RecognitioninGreekTragedy:PsychoanalyticonAristotelianPerspectives
BennettSimon

109

Contributors

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128

8.TheArchitectureofSexuality:BodyandSpaceinTheDecameron
RichardKuhns

153

9.OnHamlet'sMadnessesandtheUnsaid
AndrGreen

164

Index

183

7.FreudandAugustine
PeterL.Rudnytsky

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Contributors
isAssociateProfessorofHebrewandJudaicStudiesatNewYorkUniversity.SheisliteraryeditorofHadoarandassociateeditorofProoftexts.
SheistheauthorofModernismandCulturalTransfer(1986)andcoeditorofApproachestoTeachingtheHebrewBibleinTranslation(1989).
YAELS.FELDMAN

isamemberandpastpresidentoftheParisPsychoanalyticSocietyandhasheldtheFreudMemorialChairatUniversityCollege,London.Hisbooks
includeTheTragicEffect:TheOedipusComplexinTragedy(1969),Hamletand"Hamlet"(1983),OnPrivateMadness(1986)andRvlationsde
l'Inachvement:proposduCartondeLondresdeLonardedeVinci(1992).
ANDRGREEN

isProfessorofPhilosophyatColumbiaUniversity.HisbooksincludeStructuresofExperience(1970),PsychoanalyticTheoryofArt(1983),and
Tragedy:ContradictionandRepression(1991).
RICHARDKUHNS

VASSILKANIKOLOVA

isSeniorLecturerinLatinattheMedicalUniversityofSofia.SheistheauthorofTheAphorismsofHippocrates(1989).

isUniversityProfessorofPhilosophy,Classics,andComparativeLiteratureatBrownUniversity.SheistheauthorofAristotle'sDeMotu
Animalium(1978),TheFragilityofGoodness:LuckandEthicsinGreekTragedyandPhilosophy(1986),Love'sKnowledge:
MARTHAC.NUSSBAUM

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EssaysonPhilosophyandLiterature(1990),andTheTherapyofDesire:TheoryandPracticeinHellenisticEthics(1993).
isDirectoroftheInstituteforPsychologicalStudyoftheArtsattheUniversityofFloridaandaCorrespondingMemberoftheInstituteof
ContemporaryPsychoanalysisinLosAngeles.HeistheauthorofFreudandOedipus(1987)andThePsychoanalyticVocation:Rank,Winnicott,andthe
LegacyofFreud(1991).HiseditedbooksincludeThePersistenceofMyth:PsychoanalyticandStructuralistPerspectives(1988)andTransitionalObjects
andPotentialSpaces:LiteraryUsesofD.W.Winnicott(1993).
PETERL.RUDNYTSKY

isProfessorofGreekandLatinatHarvardUniversity.AmonghisbooksareTragedyandCivilization:AnInterpretationofSophocles(1981),
DionysiacPoeticsandEuripides'"Bacchae"(1982),InterpretingGreekTragedy(1986),andLucretiusonDeathandAnxiety(1990).HisOedipus
Tyrannus:TragicHeroismandtheLimitsofKnowledgeisforthcomingintheTwayneMasterworksSeries.
CHARLESSEGAL

isaTrainingandSupervisingAnalystattheBostonPsychoanalyticSocietyandClinicalAssociateProfessorofPsychiatryattheHarvardMedical
School.HeistheauthorofMindandMadnessinAncientGreece(1978)andTragicDramaandtheFamily(1988).
BENNETTSIMON

isLecturerofAestheticsinPsychiatryatNewYorkHospitalCornellMedicalCenterandaSpecialMemberoftheAssociationforPsychoanalytic
Medicine.A198990GettyScholar,sheistheauthorofArtandPsyche(1985)andImageandInsight(1991).
ELLENHANDLERSPITZ

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Introduction
PeterL.Rudnytsky
Anyonewhoknowsyoursciencehasveritablyeatenofthetreeofparadiseandbecomeclairvoyant.
JungtoFreud,May30,1907

Psychoanalysisisadisciplinethatseekstounderstandandalleviatehumansuffering.Itspracticeisthereforeaninherentlydangerousactivity.Thepsychoanalystdares
toexplorethemostintimaterecessesofthehumansoul,tothrowopenlongbarreddoors,andtoconfrontthemonstersthatmaylieinwait.Thisisindeedaheroic
enterprise,butiftheanalystactsprecipitatelyandfailstoprovideanatmosphereofsafetyinwhichthepatient'sprocessofselfdiscoverycangoforward,heorshe
willbecomeanintruder,atrespasser,adragonratherthanadragonslayer.Theframeoftransferenceisdesignedtoimpartafictionalqualitytotheanalyticquest,but
evenillusorysparkshavebeenknowntodetonaterealexplosions.
DespitehisscientificWeltanschauung,Freudwasawareoftheatavisticsourcesofhisidentityasasoulhealerandconsistentlyturnedtoliteratureandmythto
illuminateboththemethodsandfindingsofpsychoanalysis.
IthinkDeborahAnnaLuepnitzandEllenHandlerSpitzfortheirdiscerningreadingsofthispreface.

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Worksofartarethereforenotmerelyexternalobjectstowhichpsychoanalysiscanbeapplied,butthemselvesconstitutiveofpsychoanalyticknowledge.Inasserting
thesexualandinfantileoriginsofallintellectualcuriosity,moreover,Freudimplicitlyacknowledgedthetransgressivenatureofhisownlifelongquesttounravelthe
riddlesofthehumanpsyche.
Thepapersassembledhere,byadistinguishedarrayofanalystsandhumanisticscholars,pursuethethemeofforbiddenknowledgeasitisarticulatedincanonical
worksoftheWesterntraditionfromtheHebrewBibletoShakespeare'sHamlet.ThisthemeiscrucialtothemythsofOedipusandtheFallthoseprimalnarratives
ofHellenismandHebraismtheconjunctionbetweenwhichservedasanorganizingprincipleofmyearliereditedvolume,ThePersistenceofMyth:Psychoanalytic
andStructuralistPerspectives(1988).Perhapsunsurprisingly,threeofthepresentninechaptersconcernthemselveswithOedipus,whoretainshisholdonthe
psychoanalyticimagination.ButEllenHandlerSpitzandIhaveinvitedthecontributorstolookupontherubricofforbiddenknowledgeasanevocativeandnota
restrictiveone,andtheyhaverespondedbyproducingaseriesofwiderangingmeditationsonthetragicdimensionsofhumanexperience,whichcumulativelyinvite
reflectiononwhatmightbemeantbyknowledgeforbiddentoFreud.
YaelS.Feldmanstrikesakeynotebysimultaneouslydeployingandinterrogatingpsychoanalysisin"'AndRebeccaLovedJacob,'butFreudDidNot."Feldman
arguesthatFreud'soedipalmodelofintergenerationalmasculineconflictisnotwellsuitedtotheHebrewBible,wherefathersrarelyexpressaggressionandthemost
acuteconflictsarethosebetweensiblings.AlthoughIthinkthattheweaknessofbiblicalfathersmightbemoreamenabletopsychoanalyticexplanationthanFeldman
allows,sheperformsavaluableservicebydrawingattentiontoapossiblelimitationinFreud'svisionandtothewidelyvaryingassumptionsaboutfamilialandgender
rolesthatprevailindiversecultures.
LikeFeldman,EllenHandlerSpitzeffectsadisplacementofperspective,fromtheSophocleanfigureofOedipus(bywhomFreudwasmesmerized)totheAeschylean
TitanPrometheus.Spitz'sessay,"PrometheanPositions,"carriesforwardtheprojectofherpathbreakingImageandInsight(1991)byseekingtoforgeacloser
bondbetweenpsychiatryandthehumanities.Sincetheclinician's"principaltaskistolistenattentivelytothevoiceandwordsofanotherhumanbeing,"andtodiscern
boththeprivateandculturallyencodedmeaningsthatresonatetherein,heor

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shecannotaffordtoneglectthemasterworksofthemanifoldtraditionsweinhabit,whicheventodayderiveinlargemeasurefromancientGreece.SpitzsiftsFreud's
scatteredallusionstothePrometheusmythbeforeofferingherownreadingofAeschylus'tragedy,whichhighlightsthemasochisticqualityofPrometheus'''script
writingtendencies"andtheanalogybetweenhisimmobilityandthatofananalyticpatient.
MarthaC.NussbaumandCharlesSegalaretwoofAmerica'smosteminentclassicists,andtheirdivergentperspectivesonOedipustheKingandpsychoanalysis
formthecenterpiecesofthisvolume.In"TheOedipusRexandtheAncientUnconscious"NussbaumevincesskepticismabouttheapplicabilityofFreudiancategories
toanancienttext,arguingthatSophocles'playislessconcernedwithsexualdesirethanwithreversalsoffortuneandthatitcanbebetterunderstoodwiththeaidof
thedreambookofArtemidorosandEpicureanphilosophythanthroughaFreudianlens.Nussbaum'selucidationoftheculturallyspecificmeaningsgiventodreams
andsexualbehaviorinArtemidorous(and,byextension,inFreud)isbothwittyandauthoritative,yetaclassicalFreudianmightquestionwhetherincestisreallyas
incidentaltothetragedyofOedipusasherreadingmakesout.Nussbaum,inanycase,endsbycallingnotforarejectionofpsychoanalysisbutratherforaturnto
objectrelationstheory,which,sheholds,initsconcernwiththefearsandaggressionsofinfancymorecloselycorrespondstoancientpsychologythandoes
unreconstructedFreudianism.
IncontrasttoNussbaum'sprincipledskepticism,CharlesSegalin"Sophocles'OedipusTyrannus:Freud,Language,andtheUnconscious"breathesnewlifeintoa
Freudianapproachtotheplaybyshowinghowitcancontinuetogeneratefreshandprofoundinsights.SegaladdressestheobjectionofJeanPierreVernantthat
Oedipuscannotbesaidtohavean"Oedipuscomplex"becausehisputativeoedipalfeelingswouldbedirectedtowardMerope,theCorinthianqueenwhomhe
believestobehismother,ratherthantowardJocasta.But,asSegaldemonstrates,Oedipus'relationswithbothsetsofhisparentsarecaughtupinthe"processesby
whichtheunconsciousisdisplacedintolanguage."Farfromrehearsingpreviouslyestablishedconclusions,Segal'sreadingitselfenactsaprocessthatembodiesthe
openendedandscrupulousspiritofthebestpsychoanalyticinquiry.
BoththeessaysofVassilkaNikolovaandBennettSimonusethethoughtofAristotletoconnectGreektragedyandpsychoanalysis.In

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"TheOedipusMyth:AnAttemptatInterpretationofItsSymbolicSystems,"Nikolova,aBulgarianclassicist,takesAristotle'sconceptofcatharsisasapointof
departureforherexegesisofthechangingideologicalfunctionsoftheOedipusmythinancientculture.Nikolovaarguesthatthemytharosefromasynthesisofthe
disparatemotifsoftheSphinx,theexposedchild,andtheriddleandthatincommonwithothermythsitgraduallybecameavehicleforexpressingascientificview
oftheworld.Simon's"RecognitioninGreekTragedy:PsychoanalyticonAristotelianPerspectives"movesfromanuanceddiscussionofthemeaningsofrecognition
(anagnorisis)inAristotle'sPoetics,toreflectionsonseveralancientandmoderntragedies,tothepresentationofcompellingclinicalmaterial.LikethoseofSpitzand
Segal,Simon'sessayprovidesastandardbywhichthepotentialforcrossfertilizationbetweenpsychoanalysisandthehumanitiescanbemeasured.
Myown"FreudandAugustine"juxtaposesitsprotagonistsasautobiographers,theoristsofforbiddenknowledge,andproponentsofdefinitiveinterpretationsofthe
mythsofOedipusandtheFall.IfirstundertakeapsychoanalyticreadingoftheConfessionsasawhole,thentreattheepisodeofAugustine'stheftofthepearsasa
reenactmentoftheFallthatconstitutesascreenmemoryfortwocasuallymentionedincidentsinvolvinghisparentsandraisingthespecterofincest,andfinallycontrast
thepessimismofAugustineandFreud,ontheonehand,withthemoreoptimisticoutlooksofAristotle,D.W.Winnicott,andHeinzHartmannontheother.While
grantingthepowerofboththeFreudianandAugustinianversionsofthedoctrineoforiginalsin,Istrivetomaintainacriticalattitudetowardtheirideological
implications.
ThefinaltwoessaysarebyRichardKuhnsandAndrGreen.In"TheArchitectureofSexuality:BodyandSpaceintheDecameron,"Kuhnsusesthemetaphorical
equationbetweenbodiesandbuildingstoexplorethesomberundertonesofBoccaccio'scomicmasterpiece.ConcentratingonthethreenotabletalesofMasetto(Day
3,Story1),GuiscardoandGhismonda(Day4,Story1),andRineiriandElena(Day8,Story7),Kuhnsineachcaseunearthsahiddenmeaningofphilosophical
import.CreativityforBoccaccioisshowntobeasexualaswellasaspiritualprocessthatrequiresajudiciousbalancingofbothsidesofourdividednatures.Oneof
France'smostrenownedintellectuals,Green,likeSimon,isamedicallytrainedpsychoanalystofexceptionalhumanisticerudition."OnHamlet'sMadnessesandthe
Unsaid"unravelsthetangledknotsof

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representation,incestandpatricide,andmadnessinShakespeare'stragedy.Green'sdivinationofthe"unsaid"culminatesinanavowedlyspeculativereconstructionof
"theplotoftheplaythatShakespearedidnotwrite,butaboutwhichhewouldhavedreamedbeforewritingthetragedywhichbearsitsmark."Hisprovocative
readingofHamletshouldbesetbesidethatofStephenDedalusinJamesJoyce'sUlysses,towhichhemakesreference.
AsIhaveindicated,theworksandauthorstakenuphereareallindubitablycanonicalintheWesterntradition.Thattraditionisnow,withgoodreason,under
increasingpressurefromfeministandpostcolonialcritics.Butthecanoncanbeopenedupnotonlybyaddinghithertoneglectedtextsbutalsobyreexaminingalready
establishedtextswithalteredeyes,therebymakingthemnew.Suchatransformationofthepastthroughrevisionisintegraltopsychoanalysis,inbothclinicaland
culturalpractice,andtotheprojectofFreudandForbiddenKnowledge.

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One
"AndRebeccaLovedJacob,"butFreudDidNot
YaelS.Feldman
IsaaclovedEsaubecauseofthegamehefedhim,andRebeccalovedJacob.
Gen.25:28

ThattheforceofpassionatelovewithallitsadverseandtragicramificationsisoneofthehighpointsoftheJacobstoryiswellknown.Anditispreciselythisromantic
featurethathasmadeJacobsoaccessibletomodernliteraryreworkings,fromThomasMann'sJosephtrilogy(thefirstvolumeofwhichisdevotedto"TheTalesof
Jacob")toHaroldBloom'srecenthermeneuticfiction,TheBookofJ("BeforeIbecameconvincedthatJwasawoman,ItendedtobelievethatJacobwasJ's
signature,akindofselfrepresentation"[1990,209]).
Lessobviousisthefactthatthisostensiblysuddeneffusionofpassion
TheideaspresentedherewereoriginallydevelopedinmyclassesatColumbiaUniversityandformalizedinmy"RecurrenceandSublimation:TowardaPsychoanalyticApproach
toBiblicalNarrative"(1989).Earlierversionsofthisessaywerepresentedatthe1990meetingoftheSocietyofBiblicalLiterature,a1991ColumbiaUniversitySeminaronIsraeland
JewishStudies,anda1992NewYorkUniversitySeminaronPsychoanalysisandtheHumanities.Iwouldliketothanktheparticipantsatthesemeetings,particularlyatthe
UniversitySeminars,fortheirhelpfulcommentsandchallengingcriticism.
TranslationsfromtheHebrewaretheauthor's.

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isnotasunpredictableasitmayatfirstseem.AlthoughunprecedentedintheearlierportionsofGenesis,itissubtlyrationalizedwithinthepsychologyoftheJacob
cycleitself,whichoffersacompactbutcompleteeconomyoffamilydynamics.
Itshouldcomeasnosurprisethatatthecoreofthiseconomywefindaproliferationoftheverb'ahav(love).Asweshallsee,thissingleHebrewrootcoversavariety
ofaffectsandappetitesthatrangeinthelanguageofmodernpsychologyfromtransferenceandmaternallove,bondingandattachment,togluttonyand
dependence,desireandlust.Thissemanticfieldisfurtherreinforcedbyasetofantonyms,denotinghate,derision,andjealousy(satam,sana',baz,kine'),aswellas
byarelativelyhighdensityofotherexpressionsofemotionskissing,hugging,andweeping.
Surprisingly,theselatterexpressionsareallanexclusivelymaleprerogative(notonlyinthisstory,butintheDavidcycleaswell)andunlikeothertraditions(the
HomericortheFarEastern,forexample),wheremaletearsfunctionmostlyritualistically,heretheysignalapersonalexperience.WhenJacobiscarriedawaytothe
pointofweeping(uponsettingeyesonRachelforthefirsttimeGen.29:11),thecontemporaryWesternreaderislikelytoraiseaneyebrow.Accordingtoournorms,
thisisaratherunexpected"feminine"behavior.Thisculturaldivergence(amongothers)mayperhapsbehelpfulindelineatingtheboundariesoftheissueathandthe
differencebetweenthepsychologicalmodelsimpliedbybiblicalnarrativeandthepsychoanalyticmodelsdevisedforusbyFreudandhisdisciples.
Thisissueisnotnew.SeveralcontemporarycriticshavecommentedonthedisparitybetweenOedipusandIsaac,whorepresent,respectively,filialaggressionand
rebellionincontrasttopassivityandsubmission(Wellisch1954Bakan1966Shoham1976).ButitisnotonlyIsaacwhodoesnotfittheoedipalmold.AsIhave
pointedoutelsewhere,"therecanbenodoubtthatFreudcouldnotidentifywithIsaac.NorcouldhehaveidentifiedwithAbrahaminthatfamousepisode[thebinding
ofIsaac],forhewasjustas'bound'byhisheavenlyfatherasIsaacwas"(Feldman1989,79).
ImpliedinmystatementistheclaimthatthereisofnecessityacertainlackoffitbetweenthetwosystemsunderdiscussionthatifFreudwasconsciouslyor
unconsciouslysearchingforamasterplotthatwouldrepresenttheRomanticdefianceofauthoritywhichhesawasthemotive

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forceofhislife(andwhichhegeneralizedfortheexperienceofsecularmodernismatlarge),hecouldnothavefounditinamonotheistictraditionthatmadetheAkeda
or"bindingofIsaac"(Gen.22)itscenterpiece.Greekmythology,withitsconstant"vertical"generationalstruggle,withitspotentialandactualinfanticidesand
patricides,offeredabetterfit.Evenhere,weshouldrecall,Freudhadtoperformalittlecosmeticsurgery,ignoringLaius'initialactionagainsthissonandlike
Sophocles(Rudnytsky1987,25456)locatinghisownstartingpointforthedramainOedipushimself.Biblicalnarrative,ontheotherhand,particularlyattheheight
ofitsstylisticausterityintheAkedaepisode,couldoffernosuchresource.Despiteitsdramaticpotential(developedmorefullyinthevariousmidrashicretellingsofthe
storyseeSpiegel1950Ginzberg1913,27186),itstextualrepressionsseemtobetoosuccessfultoallowafullpsychoanalyticinterpretation,namely,ameaningful
analysisofunconsciousfantasyandinstinctualdesire(Feldman1989,7980).
Butwhatoftheotherpatriarchalstories?Couldn'ttheJacob/Josephstory,withitsprofusionofaffectivestatesandaviablematernalpresence,fillthegap?Why,then,
didn'tthefamilydynamicsofthisstoryattractFreud'sattention?Andwhy,inthefinalanalysis,shouldwecare?
Deferringthislastquestiontothecloseofmyessay,letmestartbystatingthatIhavenotfoundanynewevidencetocorroboratemyclaims.Asfarasweknow,
FreudidentifiedinaratherawkwardmannerwithMoses,thegiverofthenewlaw,butalsotheobjectofpatricide,asMosesandMonotheism(1939)clearly
argues(althoughthisrunscompletelycountertotheplainsenseofbiblicalnarrativeYerushalmi1991,61etpassim).Similarly,hissocalledidentificationwithJoseph,
thefavoriteyoungson(Shengold1979),wasmarkedbyambivalence,ashemadeeveryefforttodistancehimselffromtheinterpretivetechniquesofhisancient
precursor(Frieden1990).Thefirstthreepatriarchs,however,donotfigureatallinhiswritings(except,ofcourse,whenhereferstohisfather,whosenamewas
Jacob,anironytowhichIshallreturn).SomyquestionaboutFreud'slackofloveforJacobisforthemomentarhetoricaloneaheuristicploytoexplorethe
peculiarityofbiblicalpsychologyvisvisourcontemporary,postFreudiansensibility.Thissensibility,Iwouldargue,maybetheculminationofalongWestern
tradition,butcontrarytoprevailingperceptiondoesnotnecessarilyderivefrombiblicalnarrative.Aclosereadingofthelattershouldatleast

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putintoquestionthepopular(andfacile)equationoftheFreudiannuclearfamilywiththebiblicalfamily.1
Tobeginwith,letuslookatthefamilystructure.ByequippingIsaacandRebeccawithtwinsratherthanasingleson,thebiblicalnarrativecircumventsafundamental
presuppositionofclassicalpsychoanalysisthetriangularityofallfamilydynamics."Squaringthetriangle,"sotospeak,theJacobstoryforestalls,atleastonthe
surface,thepitfallofinternalconflictimputedbyFreudtoanysonintheoedipalposition.Rather,theneatdistributionofloyalties,inwhicheachchildisalignedwith
oneparent,allowsforsomedyadicobjectrelations,resultinginbondingratherthanconflict.
Thisavoidanceof"vertical,"intergenerationalconflictisfurtherreinforcedbythepaternalposition.Orallyfixatedbyhisgluttony(or"love"offood)andblind,Isaacis
tooweakanddependenttoarousefilialdefiance.Infact,thetextcompulsivelyemphasizeshiscravingforEsau'sdelicacies(ch.27),therebyretrospectivelymaking
senseoftheuniqueexpression"kitzayidbefiv"(literally:"for[therewas]huntinhismouth"[Gen.25:28]).Playingoffitsclosestanalogue,thedescriptionofNoah's
dovereturningtotheark"(ve'alehzayit)tarafbefihah''(literally:"[andanoliveleaf]plucked[rent?]inhermouth"[Gen.8:11]),Isaac'sviewofhissonactivatesthe
synonymicparadigmtzayid=teref(hunt,prey,food,nourishment),therebyconjuringtheimageoftheparentalanimalorbirdofpreyfeedingitsyoung.Ifweaddto
thischainofintertextualassociationstheresonanceofProverbs'WomanofValorwho"bringsfood[lit.'prey']toherfamily"("vatitenterefleveitah"[Prv.31:15]),
thereversalofrolesbecomesmoreapparent:Isaac'spartialitytowardEsauiswhatpsychoanalystscall"anacliticlove,"thedependentattachmentachildformstoward
hismotherorotherprovidersofnourishmentandsimilarneeds.(Hencemytranslation,intheepigraphtothischapter,"becauseofthegamehefedhim.")This
reversalcastsEsau,inhisturn,inanunexpectedlight,implicatinghiminasecondreversal,thatofgenderrolesanintriguingissuetowhichIshallreturn.
OnecanhardlyimaginesuchapaternalfigureservingasthesourceofaFreudiancastrationthreatorofaLacanian"'No'oftheFather"thenecessarycondition,
accordingtoclassicalpsychoanalysis,fortheresolutionoftheson'sOedipuscomplex.Bythelogicofthistheory,withoutastrongfatherimagetheboyisunableto
passthetestofcivilizationtherenunciationofhisinstinctualdesires,or,inLacan'sfor

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mulation,therelinquishingofthepreoedipal,maternalImaginary.Insuchaposition,thesonwillhavedifficultyininternalizingthe"LawoftheFather,"thatprocess
whichproducesFreud'ssuperego(theconscienceormoralityprinciple)or,inLacan'sscheme,allowshimtoenterthesymbolicorder,namely,thelawoflanguage
andothersocialinstitutions(Lacan195758,39).ThatthisstructurecomesclosertotheclassicalFreudianpositiononthefemaleoedipal(non)dissolutionshould
comeasnosurprise.2 Thisisonemoreironiccluetobefolloweduplater.
Forthemoment,letmehighlighttheparadoxofmyinsinuation.FromaFreudianperspective,Isaac'sprogenyrisklosingwhathasalwaysbeenviewedastheBible's
greatestcontributionthemoralprinciple.Followingthisparadoxtoitslogicalconclusion,wemayperceivethattheyinfactdorepeattheirfather'searlytrauma,albeit
underdifferentcircumstances:Jacob/Israel,despitenarrativedeclarationstothecontrary("YoustrovewithGodandwithmen,butyouprevailed"[Gen.32:29]),is
unableto"sayno"tohissons,withratherdisastrousresults(seetheinfamousDinahepisode,ch.34).Andifweallowourselvesaglanceintothefuture,wenoticethat
David,thatfearlesswarriorleader,evincesasimilarpolicyofnoninvolvementwherehissonsareconcerned(AmnonandAbsalomaretheparamountcases[2Sam.
1319]).Ontheotherhand,theblatantexceptiontothisruleSaul'sviolencetowardDavidandevenJonathan,hisson(1Sam.1820)isrationalizedinthetextas
anaberration,theresultofan"evilspirit"visiteduponhimbyGod(1Sam.18:10).
Biblicalfathers,itwouldseem,arenotmadefortheFreudianmasterplot.Rarelyexpressingaggression,theyseemtoavoidconflictratherthanarousing(andresolving)
it.Thisdoesnotmean,however,thatconflicttotallydisappears.Itisrecreatedonthe"horizontal"level,intherelationshipbetweenthebrothers,thushighlightingone
ofthemajorwaysinwhichthepatriarchalstoriesdivergefromFreud'sinterests:theirfocusonintragenerationalsiblingrivalryratherthanonfilialrebellion.
ThereisnoneedtoreviewheretheubiquityofthisconflictthroughoutGenesis(andbeyond).Whatisofimportanceisthepeculiarmodeofrepresentationusedin
shapingit,andthewayitdiffersfromtheFreudianmodel.Andherewewoulddowelltorememberthat,althoughinpracticeFreud'slifewasmarked(bothprivately
andpublicly)byconstantfeudsandrifts,whichinfactwere"actingsout"ofsiblingrivalryhisinability

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totolerateanycompetingtheoryisbynowamatterofpublicrecord,whilehisjealousyofhisyoungerbrotherwasprivatelyadmittedbyhimandhasbeenprobedby
hisbiographersandcommentators(Jones1961,7Gay1988,11Rudnytsky1987,19etpassimYerushalmi1991,92)heshowedrelativelylittletheoretical
interestinthesubject.Noneofhispapersisspecificallydevotedtothisissue,nordidhecoinaspecialtermforit("siblingrivalry"doesnotappearintheindexofhis
works,nordoesanyotherrelatedconcept).Moreover,despitetheprominentroleattributedtothedeathofhisbrotherJuliusinhisselfanalysis,hisprobingledtothe
discoveryof"Oedipus,"not"Cain"(Rudnytsky1987,71Yerushalmi1991,92).
Settingtheironyofthisdiscrepancyaside,letusheartheevidenceofalatterdaypractitioner:
Theconflictwithsiblingsdoesnothavethesamekindofrepressive,utterlyforbiddenqualitythattheoedipalstruggledoes.Butasasourceofpoignancyandpain,thisareaof
humanrelationshiphasperhapsbeenunderestimatedincomparisonwiththeproblemsofthechildparentsituation.(Zeligs1974,88)

ThespeakerisDorothyZeligs,adevoutFreudianoftheoldorder.Hertonehereisuncharacteristicallycritical,yetthecritiqueiscarefullyhedged.Andnowonder.
ShequestionsnothinglessthanthecentralityoftheOedipuscomplexthecornerstoneofclassicalFreudiantheoryandthisnotinthecontextofcontemporary
postFreudianrevisions(Kleinianobjectrelations,feminist,orotherantiOedipuscritiques),butfromwithintheframeworkofanotherwiseorthodoxFreudian
analysis.
Notsurprisingly,theoccasionforZeligs'tacitrevaluationisherstudy,PsychoanalysisandtheBible.Anditisperhapsworthnotingthatthisrevaluationappearsonly
inthebook,publishedin1974,butnotinherearlierarticlespublishedinAmericanImagothroughoutthe1950s(Zeligs19531955a1955b).Wecansurmise,then,
thatherconclusionsweremadepossiblenotonlybythespecificmaterialshewasworkingwith,butalsobythechangingclimatewithinthepsychoanalytic
establishment,achangethatisevidencedbycollectionsofessaysandseveralbooksonsiblingrivalrythatwerepublishedmostlyinthe1980s(seeThe
PsychoanalyticStudyoftheChild1983,andPsychoanalyticInquiry1988).3
Furthermore,thatZeligsarrivesatherconclusiononlybytheendofherthirdchapter,afterimposingtheoedipalplotonAbraham,Jacob,andJoseph,isalsoquite
predictable.Siblingrivalryreachesitsfullest

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orchestrationintheJosephstory,sothatthestrainonheroedipalmodelbecomesunbearable.Thus,sheisobligedtoacknowledgetheharmonyunderlyingJoseph's
relationswithhis"fatherfigures"(1974,89),withoutactuallyrecognizingthathisisonlythemostextremecaseofageneralpattern.Theotherfactorstandinginher
wayisherinclinationtotreatisolated"personalities,"therebymissingthecentralityofsiblingrivalryintheoverallnarrativestructureofGenesis.
Indeed,theBible'smythologicalfirstmurderbynomeanscorroboratesFreud'spatricidalreconstructionoftheprimalhorde.Rather,acaseoffratricidetheonlyone
actuallycarriedoutinthetextistheprimalscene(andsin)ofGenesis.4 YetifthereisnobrotherlylovelostintheAbelandCainstory(Gen.4),brotherly
aggressioncomestobeincreasinglyheldincheck.IncontrasttoRenGirard'sinsistenceontheuniversalityandubiquityofscapegoatingand(sibling)violence(1972
1982),inGenesisthisbasichumanimpulsegoesthroughaseriesofrepresentationsinwhichthepotentialoutburstisalwaysmitigated,neutralized,ordeflected,usually
bymeansofphysicalseparation(e.g.,AbrahamandLot,IsaacandIshmael,andfinallyalsoJacobandEsau)orothercompromises(RachelandLeah).Itisinthe
Josephstory,ofcourse,thatthesiblingrivalrythemereachesitsculminationbybeingbothactedoutandreversedonagrandscale.Inthisaccount,moreover,a
narrativerepresentationoftheunconsciousappearsforthefirsttime,inJoseph'sdreamsanddreaminterpretation.Joseph,thedreaminterpreter,isalsothefirsthuman
beingtorecognizeandverbalizetheinterdependencebetweenpastandfuture.Finally,themoralimplicationsofthisrecognitionareexplicitlystatedhere(Gen.45:58
seeAlter1981,163etpassim),onlytobefurtherdevelopedandorchestratedinthenextbook,Exodus.ThejourneyfromCaintoJoseph,andlatertoMoses,may
thereforebeseenastheearliestliteraryrepresentationofamovefromblindaggressiontoreasonedinsight,fromactingouttorememberingandknowing.
Butisn'tthiswhatthepsychoanalyticprocessisallabout?Andwouldn'tthisinsightlendanewmeaningtothemostprominentfeatureofbiblicalpoetics,namely,
narrativerecurrence,knownmorepopularlyasrepetition?Yesandno.Herewerunintoanintriguingparadox.ForFreud(1920),thecompulsiontorepeatis
associatedwiththedeathdrivetheimpulsetoresistchange,progress,andlife.Theanalysand'sunconsciousrepetitions,heargued(1914),havereplacedmemory
and

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itispreciselythisviciouscirclethatthepsychoanalyticprocessmustdisrupt,sothatthesubjectcanrememberhisalienatedexperiences,therebyachievinganew
integrationoftheself.Inbiblicalnarrative,ontheotherhand,itisthroughrecallandrecurrencethatchangeisslowlybroughtabout.
YetnoticetheslightlexicaldifferenceIhaveintroduced."Repetition"isalmostamisnomerwhentalkingaboutbiblicalnarrative.Theemphasisinrecentscholarshipon
biblicalpoeticsison"themeandvariations."Whereasverbatimrepetition,saysMeirSternberg(1985),markedtheliteraryrepresentationoftheancientprebiblical
myths,repetitionwithadifferencewastheinnovationandcontributionoftheHebrewBible(Alter1981).ItisforthesakeofthispoeticdistinctionthatIhave
elsewhereproposedtosubstitute"narrativerecurrence"forrepetition(1989,82).YetbythisreformulationIhavegainedsomethingelseacommonterritoryfor
biblicalnarrativeandcertaincontemporaryviewsofthepsychoanalyticprocess.
FollowingPaulRicoeur's(1970)phenomenologicalcritiqueofpsychoanalysisandhishighlightingofboththeverbalandnarrativenatureofclinicalexperience(1977a,
83643),narrativepsychologyhasbeengainingground,asinthetheoriesofRoySchafer,MertonGill,andDonaldSpence.Inrecentyears,theemphasisonthe
functionofmetaphor(Ricoeur1977b),multiplehistories(Schafer1979),andnarrativetruth(Spence1982)inthepsychoanalyticprocesshasledtothehighlightingof
"narrativerecursion."
"Theoriginalconflictorfantasyorearlyexperience,"saysSpence,"isalmostneverliterallyrepeatedinthetransferencerather,whatweseeisaseriesofvariationson
asingletheme"(1987,191).Itisthispolyphonicclinicalrecursionthat"cutsdownonthesenselessrepetitionwhichwouldmakethepatternseemmechanicaland
unnatural,"therebyeffectingthetherapeutictransitionfromlanguagetoaction(195).
Theparametersofthisaction(e.g.,change,growth,adaptation,sublimation)andthesocioethicalnormstheyimplyarestillbeingfiercelydebatedwithinthe
psychoanalyticcommunity.Anditisperhapsinthisrespectthattherepetitioninvariation,orwhatIprefertonamethe"spiralmovement"(cyclicalandlinearatone
andthesametime)ofbiblicalnarrative,ismostinstructive.For,incontrasttoFreudianthinking,intheBiblethismovementtowardchangeandsublimationisnot
inspiredbyanotherhumanbeing,paternalorotherwise.Itisnotthe

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threatofhumanauthoritythatgetsinternalizedinthepatriarchalstories,butratherthedemandofdivineauthority.Nothingdemonstratesthisdisparitybetterthan
theconflictinginterpretationsofthefamousagonthatsecuresJacob'sblessing(Gen.32:2533).
FreudianssuchasRank(1912),Reik(1951),andZeligshavehadnoproblemidentifyingJacob'snightlyadversarywiththefigureofthefather,locatingherethe
resolutionoftheOedipuscomplex.ElaboratingonRank'sgeneralstatementthat"brotherandfatheralreadyblendinthedreamasasingleperson"(1912,242),Zeligs
claimsthat"thedreamportrayswithdramaticcondensationhowcastrationanxietybringsabouttherenunciationofinstinctualwishesandthestrengtheningofthe
superego"(1974,53),passinginsilenceoverthefactthatJacobisnowhimselfanagingpaterfamilias.
Thetextitself,however,suggestsanalternativepossibility.Evenasitsplotdramaticallypreparesusforthebrother,theenigmaticwordingoftheactualconfrontation
leavestheidentityandnatureoftheadversaryopentointerpretation.Thus,thecombatsceneisprecededbyalengthysequence(Gen.32:424),markedbylong,
repetitivesentences(atypicalforbiblicalstyle)devotedtoJacob'sfearsofEsauandtohisvariousattemptstowardoffanyconfrontation.Inthissequence,Jacob
repeatshisbrother'snameninetimes,asifhopingforsomekindofverbal,incantationalmagic.Bycontrast,verse25abruptlystates:"Jacobremainedalone,anda
man['ish]wrestledwithhimuntildawn."Thisstarkstylistictransitionfromtheverbosityofthe"Esaurepetition,"paradoxicallysignalingthetacticsofavoidanceand
denial,tothetersenessandfactualeconomyusedinthedepictionofinescapablereality,producesanuncannyeffect.Yet,asfarastheHebrewtextisconcerned,this
isnotadreamstate,asbothRankandZeligsassume,noristhe'ish("man")identifiable.Onthecontrary,hisgenericnonspecificity,reinforcedbythenotorious
syntacticambiguityofthedialoguebetweenthecombatants(Barthes1975),enablesarereadingthatrunscountertotheexpectationsarousedbythenarrativeitself.
Thusitisneitherthebrothernorthefatherwhoisretrospectivelyreadintotheagon.Rather,bothparticipantsinscribedivineauthorityintothetextuallyambiguous
space(Gen.32:2931).
IncontrasttoFreud,then,biblicalnarrativeplaysdownthepowerofthehumanfather,becauseitisnotfromhimthatthemoralobligationtoharnesstheinstinctual
drives(ratherthan"renounce"them,asFreudwouldhaveit)generallyissues.Thismaysoundparadoxical,sincethe

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HebrewBibleisperceived(bypopularChristianityinparticular)astheoriginnotonlyofmonotheismingeneral("theFatherReligion,"inFreud's[1939]formulation),
butalsoofthespecificimageoftheGodofVengeance,theobviousarchetypeofthecastrating,paternalauthoritypostulatedbyFreud.Settingasidetheblatant
partialityofthisperception,letusponderthemeaningoftheparadoxforFreud'smasterplot.
If,asIclaim,theHebrewBiblechannelsallits"paternalenergy"(bothharshandbenevolent,ifwearetobetruetothetextinallitsnuances)intotheimageofthe
heavenlyfather,itleaveslittleroomforpaternalauthoritywithinitshumandrama.Inthatsense,theBindingofIsaacmayperhapsbeemblematic,notonlyofthe
HebrewBible,butofJewishcultureatlarge.5 WhatitdramatizesisnotthePrometheandefianceofauthority(seechapter2below)glorifiedbytheRomanticsand
popularizedbyFreud'spositiveOedipuscomplex,butratherachainofsamesexsubmissionsandidentifications,moreinlinewithFreud'snegativeOedipuscomplex.
Thesignificanceofthisdivergencecannotbeoverestimated.Clearly,thereisaworldofdifferencebetweenthesetwoaspects,notonlyintheirinception(thenegative
OedipuscomplexwasnotdiscovereduntiltwodecadesafterthepositiveseeFreud1923),butalsointheirculturalappeal,evaluation,andpopulardissemination.
WhileprofessionalcliniciansinsistontheubiquityofthenegativeOedipuscomplex,andrecentscholarshipfindsit,ironically,inthematerialandbehaviorofFreud's
ownselfanalysisaroundtheturnofthecentury(andeveninSophocles'originalOedipusRudnytsky1987,25374),theconcepthardlyexistsinthepopular
imagination.Fortheaverageconsumeroftwentiethcenturywisdom,thereisonlyone"Oedipus"theonecompetingwithhisfather(figures),andnotnecessarilyover
themother.AgoodexampleofthisselectivityisHaroldBloom'sliteraryappropriationofthepositiveOedipuscomplexinTheAnxietyofInfluence(1973).This
studyperfectlyillustrateshowthevestigesofRomanticismcontinuetoshapecontemporaryculturebyabsorbingfromthenew(inthiscasepsychoanalysis)whatisin
linewithitsownpremisesandrejectingwhatisnot.ThereisnodoubtthatthenegativeOedipuscomplex,withitsbisexualandhomosexualimplications,wasa
threateningdiscoveryevenforFreud,letalonehis(andour)fellowcitizens,particularlyofthemalepersuasion.Itwasprobablythisthreatthatdelayedhisrecognition
ofit,anditmay

Page17

havebeenoneofthereasonsforhisrelianceonGreekdramaratherthanonbiblicalnarrative.
Theironyofthelastobservationshouldnoteludeus.ItwasinGreekculture,ofcourse,thatmalehomosexualitywasasocietalnorm,whilebiblicallawforbadeit
outright(Lev.18:2220:13).Thisiswhybiblicalnarrativecannotopenlyacknowledgeitsownpsychologicalmakeup.Rather,thelatterissuccessfullydisguisedbythe
rampantuseofintragenerationalconflict.Fromthispointofview,theemphasisonsiblingrivalryhelpstohighlightthedistinctivenessofbiblicalpsychology,although
psychoanalysishasusuallyrefusedtoacceptit.Freudianstendtoconflatetheoedipalandthesiblingconflicts,seeingoneasadisplacementoftheother.Theimpulses
repressedintherelationshipwiththeparents,saysRank,aredevelopedamongsiblings"inalessimpededandmorelastingmanner"(1912,363).Myargument,on
theotherhand,isthatthepsychologicaleconomyofthesiblingplotisdifferent,andthatthisdifferenceisofcrucialimportance,becauseittouchesonthe
contemporarydebateoversexualessentialismadebatethattoagreatextentisstillboggeddownbyproFreudianandantiFreudiandichotomies(seeparticularly
theFrenchfeministschool,Irigarayvs.Kristeva,forexampleFuss1989).WhatIamsuggesting,inshort,isthatbiblicalpsychology,atleastasfarastheJacobstory
isconcerned,canofferamodelthatfreesthefamilystructurenotonlyfromrigidgenerationalstrifeaspostulatedbyFreud,butalsofromthenolessrigidgenderroles
imposedonitbytheoedipalmasterplotanditsinsistenceonessentialistsexualdifference.Toillustratemypoint,letusgobacktotheopeningofthisessaythe
psychologicalstructureunderlyingtheIsaachousehold.
OfallbiblicalfamiliesthatofIsaacistheclosesttothemonogamousmodernnuclearfamily.Isaacistheonlypatriarchnottotakeorbegivenasecondwife,despite
Rebecca'slonginfertility.Buthowarewetointerpretthisuniqueness?IsitanothersymptomofIsaac'subiquitouspassivity,hislifelongrepetitionofhistraumatic
binding?Orissomeotherforceatworkhere,anewelementonlyterselyandobliquelyhintedatbythetext?
WhatIamreferringtoisthenotionofaffectiveattachment,introducedforthefirsttimewithIsaac'sloveforRebecca(Gen.24:67).Theonlyearliermentionofthe
verb"tolove"isthenotorious'asher'ahavtaofchapter22,whereGodtellsAbrahamtotake"yourson,youronlyson,

Page18

theoneyoulove"toMountMoriah(Gen.22:2).Butembeddedasthisphraseisinasubordinateclauseofareportedspeech,itdoesnothavethe"objective,"fact
establishingforceofthenarrator'sdiscourse,aswehearitrepeatedlyintheIsaacRebeccaJacobstory(Gen.24:6725:2827:1429:18,20,30,32).Thefirstof
theseinstancesisofparticularinterest,asitappearsinawonderfullyeconomicsequence,inwhichIsaac"bringsRebeccatohismotherSarah'stent,""takesher,''she
"becomeshiswife,"vaye'ehaveha(and"helovedher?""fellinlove?""wasenamoredofher?"thedensityofHebrewsemanticsmakesitdifficulttodetermine),
andasifthiswerethehiddenagendaofthewholeseries"hewascomfortedforhismother"(anothertypicallyellipticHebrewphrase,apparentlyreferringto
Sarah'sdeath,mentionedbrieflyandwithoutemotionattheopeningofthepreviouschapter[Gen.23:1]).
OneneednotbeanastuteFreudiantoreadintothisbreathlesschain,initslinearprogressionfromexternalactionstointeriorstates,abiblicalrepresentationofthe
psychoanalyticconceptoftransferencelove.ThisisneitherloveatfirstsightnorthegrandpassionthatJacoblaterexperienceswithRachel.Astheorderingofthe
verbssubtlyencodes,thisisasubstitutelove,replacinglackandgriefwiththecomfortthatgrowsoutofsharedproximity.ButitisnonethelessthefirsttimeinGenesis
thatamalefemalerelationshipisdefinedbyitsaffectiveaspectratherthanbyitsgenerativefunction(vayeda',"andheknew")orthelackthereof.
ThatthisredefinitionisintroducedthroughIsaac,theotherwiseshadowycharacter,who,withostensiblenavet,repeatshisfather'srusewiththesamelocalgentile,
Avimelech(Gen.20and26),shouldcomeasnosurprise.WemaybewitnessingherethebeginningofalongWesterntraditioninwhichtheworldofactionandthe
worldofaffectarepolarizedandunderstoodonlyintheirnegationofeachother.
WhatIwouldliketosuggest,however,isthatwhatistraditionallyseenasIsaac'spassivity,hismerelywalkinginhisfather'sfootsteps,canbeotherwiseinterpretedif
webracketourreceived,unquestionedvalorizationofactivityinthepublicsphere.TodothispermitsustonoticetheoneconspicuousdetailinwhichIsaac's
entanglementwithAvimelechdivergesfromthatofhisfather.WhileinthecaseofAbraham,AvimelechisforewarnedbyGod(Gen.20:3)whoalertshim(inadream)
that"thewomanyouhavetaken[Sarah]ishusbanded,"inthecaseofIsaac,Avimelechfindsoutforhimself(Gen.26:8)beforeanyactionwastaken

Page19

(anotherturninthespiralmovementofthenarrative,implyingthesubstitutionofhumaninternalizationfordivineintervention).Moreover,thelongdialoguebetween
AvimelechandGodinchapter20isreplacedherebyaterseobservation.AsAvimelechwaswatchingthroughhiswindowhesaw"Isaacplaying/laughing[Yitzhak
metzahek]withRebeccahiswife."Again,thecompactnessofHebrewsyntax,accompaniedbyitsdensebutelusivesemantics,makesanaccuratecontemporary
renderingofthispunalmostimpossible.Itisclear,however,thatthisAvimelechtakeshiscuenotfromdivineintervention,butfromtheobservablefactofIsaac's
apparent"joy"or"fun''or"bliss,"perhaps"jouissance,"orhoweveronewishestorendertheplayfulnessoftheverbmetzahek,inhisrelationship"withRebeccahis
wife."Thisdetail,withitshintofmutuality("with"),nicelydovetailswithIsaac'sinitiallyavowedloveforRebecca.Assuch,itaddsanewdimensiontothecharacter
traitimpliedbyhisname(Yitzhak).Formerlytheobjectofdisbelievinglaughter(Gen.18:1215)andpossiblymockery(21:9),Isaacisnowinthesubjectposition,
theagentofanotherkindoflaughter,thatofsexualplayfulnessanddomesticbliss.Wemaysurmise,then,thatinthefigureofIsaacadifferentoptionishesitantly
sketchedout,thatofinternalizedaction,thesphereoftheheartandthehearth.
IfbynowthereaderiswonderingwhyIhavebeenavoidingthesimplecodewordgenerallyassociatedwiththisspherethe"feminine"thenIhavejustmademy
point.ItisnottheBible'sfault,definitelynotpoorIsaac's,thatourperceptionhasbeensothoroughlycloudedbytwomillenniaofmisreading,reinforcedinthiscentury
byFreudiangenderessentialism.Biblicalnarrative,orratheritsideologicalunderpinnings,isnotwithoutfaults,butthisproblematicdichotomyisnotamongthem.The
popularidentificationofthemalefemaleaxiswith"activepassive"andsimilarhoarybinarisms(reasonemotionculturenaturelightdarkness),whichpersistsinour
thinkingtothisverydaydespiteFreud'scarefulquestioningofit,ishardlyknowntothebiblicalnarrator.
AndIdonotmeanjustthesurfacefact,wellpublicizedbynow,thatthewomeninGenesis(asinJudges),totheextentthattheyfigureinwhatis,afterall,amale
orientednarrative,are,inasense,"phallicwomen"ifthetermisusedneutrally,withoutanyjudgmentalconnotations.Theytakeanactivepartintheunfoldingofthe
plot,exertingauthorityinvariousways,fromtheconfrontational(Sarah)tothe

Page20

devious(Rachel),andfromtheselfcentered(Tamar)totheothercentered(Rebecca).Inaway,thesewomenillustratethecomplementarityimpliedintheGardenof
Edenstory,wherewhatMan(Adam)failedtofindamongtheanimalsofthefield(therebynecessitatingthecreationofWoman[Eve])isdenotedbythewonderfully
oxymoronicexpression''ezerkenegdo(Gen.2:20).Thetraditionaltranslationofthisphrase,"helpmeet,"sorelymissesthebalancedtensionbetweenthetwosidesof
thecoin.ThelatterisevenmissinginPhyllisTrible'swellintendedfeministcorrection:"Acompanioncorrespondingtoit"(1978,89)hardlypreservestheoriginal's
lexicalaswellasideationalcompactness.Literallymeaning"assistanceadversarialtohim/it,"itisbestrenderedas"counterpart"or''counterbalance."6 Indeed,this
expressionmaybetheearliestintimationof"differentbutequal,"ideallygivingthetwogendersfreereintocomplementeachotherinwhateverway,unhamperedby
anynormativeexpectations.
Butthefreedomdoesnotstophere.Biblicalnarrativetakesafurthersteptowardsubtlycrossingtheboundarieswithinthesamegender,sothatstereotypical
definitionslosetheirmeaning.WehavealreadyseenhowEsau,thehairy,ostensiblyvirilemanofthefield,iscastinthe(traditionally)femaleroleofthe"nourisher"vis
vishisfather.Isaac'sblindness,ontheotherhand,makeshimlosewhatcontemporarycriticismconsidersthemajor"sense"operativeinmalesexualitythescopic
orthevisual.Predictably,hehasrecoursetothe"other"senses,thosethatmakeupfemalesexualitytouchandsmell(Irigaray1977).
WhenitcomestoJacob,thecluesaremoreobviousbutalsomorecomplex.Traditionally,Jacob'scharacterizationwithrespecttoEsauhasbeenattributedtothe
polarizationofcultureandnature(Hendel1989,128etpassim).Butrarelyhasitbeenobservedthatthisdichotomyoverlapswithanotheronethatofmaleand
female.Thetentisnotonlytheabodeofthecivilizedshepherd,itisalsotheinnerspaceoccupiedbymothersandwives,asthetextsooftentellsus(seethetentof
Sarah/Rebeccaaboveandcf.Judges5:24).Jacob,then,growsupintherealmofthefeminine,exhibitingfrombirthfemalefeatures.(Wouldwegotoofarto
associatehis"hairlessness/smoothness"withthe"nakedness/craftiness"ofEve'sserpent?Orinreadingmetaphoricallyhisfearful"butIamsmooth"[Gen.27:11]as
expressingthefemale"phalliclack"postulatedbyLacan?)And,ofcourse,hehashismother'sundividedlove.Butwhatkindofloveisthis?

Page21

Withthisquestion,wearebacktothesiblingissueanditsgenderrelatedimplications.Onthesurface,Isaid,thedoublebirthmadepossibleafairdivisionofparental
love.Butthisdivisionisnotsymmetrical,justasthetwinsarenotidentical.Inasingleverse,masterfullycontrolled,weareinformedofboththesimilarityandthe
difference:"IsaaclovedEsaubecauseofthegamehefedhim,andRebeccalovedJacob"(Gen.25:28).Bothparentslove,butonlyoneofthemlovesunconditionally,
asthesuddenbreakinthesyntacticparallelismforcefullydemonstrates.("Amother'srelationtoason,"saysFreud,"isaltogetherthemostperfect,themostfreefrom
ambivalenceofallhumanrelationships''[1932,133].)Acontextualreading,however,mayyieldadifferentstory.IfIsaaclovesEsauforhisotherness,Rebeccaloves
Jacobforhissameness(heisatentdweller,asverse27informsus).Inotherwords,differenceandsimilarityarecreatedhereoutsidegenderlines,perhapsinspite
ofthem.Jacob,inshort,fulfillsthenarrativefunctionofafemale.
Onealmosthasthesensethatbeneaththesiblingrivalryofthefraternaltwinstherelurksanotherancientsymbolthatoftheoppositesextwins,whocomplement
ratherthancompetewitheachother(Glenn1966GlennandGlenn1968)."Uniqueamongallandrogynoussymbolsforitspersistencethroughtheagesisthe'identity'
ofoppositesextwins,"saysCarolynHeilbrun."Complementary,theyseemtoencompassbetweenthemcompletehumanpossibility"(1973,34).Inthebiblical
words,"Maleandfemalecreatedhethem."
AndrogynyisalsothecrossgenderqualityassociatedwithDionysus,thegodwhoconstantlychangesmasksandpersonalitiessothat"tocomprehendhimwemust
ourselvesgiveupourcontrolled,sociallydesirablesexuallimitations"(Rosenmeyer1968,154).MasqueradeandtrickeryaretheartsofRebeccaandJacob.And
Jacobistheonewhowillgoontoexperiencealifeof"completehumanpossibility"ofloveandpain,ofphysicallaborandwilysurvival,ofescapeandconfrontation,
ofweaknessandendurance.HeisascloseastheHebrewtraditionhasevercometoarepresentationofandrogyny,anandrogynythatwasmadepossiblebya
"pleasantbutsomewhatshiftlessfather"anda"doting,energeticanddomineeringmother."
TheselastcharacterizationscomefromPeterGay'sbiographyofFreud(1988,11)onecanonlyimaginehowlittleFreudcaredtoberemindedofthem.7

Page22

Notes
1."ItisonlyinaworldfreedfromtheorganizationoftheFreudianorbiblicalnuclearfamilythatanonpowerdrivenrelationshipbetweenwomenandmenis
possible,"saysCarolynHeilbruninherafterwordtothecollectionofessaysDaughtersandFathers(1989,418italicsadded).Curiously,thiscollocationisnever
repeatedintheafterword,andthe"biblicalfamily"isnotmentionedagain.Insteadtheafterwordconsistsofasustainedfeministcritiqueofthe"oedipalfamily''and
seekstocelebratefamilystructuresthatdifferfromthismodel.Ironically,asimilarcritiqueisimpliedbymyanalysis,exceptthatIclaimthatthefamilyorganizationof
theHebrewBiblemayoffersuchnonoedipaldynamics.Structurally,the"weakness"ofbiblicalfatherscanbecomparedtothefrequent"absence"offathersinblack
familiesthatservesasoneofHeilbrun'salternatives(421).ButtoseethesesimilaritiesonehastoforegotheblanketbiasagainsttheHebrewBiblethatunfortunately
hascharacterizedmuchoffeministcriticismsincetheappearanceofElizabethCadyStanton'sWoman'sBible(1895)acenturyago.
2."Thefearofcastrationbeingthusexcludedinthelittlegirl,apowerfulmotivealsodropsoutforthesettingupofthesuperego"(Freud1924,178).
3.IamindebtedtoDr.BarbaraRosenfeldforcallingmyattentiontothesecollections.
4.ThemostrecentprobingintothisdivergenceisYerushalmi'simpassioned"MonologuewithFreud":"Whyitisthatthroughoutyourworkyouhaveconcentratedso
exclusivelyonpatricide,whyonlytheOedipuscomplexandnota'Caincomplex,'hasremainedanenigmatome"(1991,92).AlthoughYerushalmi'squeryderives
fromadifferentcontext,thatofthehistoricalrivalrybetweenChristianity,"theyoungerson,"andJudaism,"theolderson,"Ihopethefollowingargumentmayshed
somelightontheenigmahepointsout.
5.Ielaborateonthispointinmyforthcomingessay,"ThePositiveortheNegative?A.B.YehoshuabetweenFreudandJewishHistory."
6.IowethissuggestiontoProf.StevenBowman,whosechallengingargumentsinspiredsomeoftheideaselaboratedhere.SeealsoEverettFox'snotetohis
translationofthisphraseinhisIntheBeginning,NewYork:SchockenBooks,1983,p.13.
7.IamdelightedtofindthatYerushalmiconcurs(atleastpartially,sincehefocusesmainlyonthefathersonrelationship)withmytacitassumptionthatthisfamilial
dynamicistypicallyJewish:"IntheseaspectstherelationshipseemsalmosttofollowanarchetypeoftherelationsbetweenimmigrantJewishfathersandtheirtalented
sonsinmoderntimes.Allsuchsonshavebeen,inasense,fatherslayers.ButunlikethePrimevalfatherofFreudianmythology,theseJewishfathershavebeen
morethanwillingvictims,eagertobeslain"(1991,63italicsadded).AlthoughYerushalmi'sexhaustiveargumenthas

Page23

convincedmeabouttheJewishidentityofFreud'sfather,Iseetheproblematicsoftheson'sJewishnesssomewhatdifferently.Itseemstomethattherecent
preoccupationwithFreud'sidentityistotallymisplaced.ThequestionshouldbenotwhetherFreudwasorwasnota"godlessJew"(Gay1987),norwhetherhe
hasorhasnotprofitedfromtheKabbalisticorTalmudictechniquesinheritedfromtheJewishtradition(Bakan1958Frieden1990),butratherthe"identity"ofhis
teaching,ofhisbasicunderstandingofhumannature.Itisinthechoiceofhismodelsthathisambivalenceismostpalpable.FordespitehisearlyJewishtraining
andhisemotionalidentificationwithMoses(and,byextension,withthelotofJewsin1939),Freudconstructedamythologythatwasveryalientohispersonal
experience,tobiblicalnarrative,andtoJewishcultureatlarge.Whetherthiswaspersonallyorpoliticallymotivatedishardtodeterminetoday(probablyboth).
ButthefactremainsthatoneofthegreatestJewishcontributionstothiscenturynotonlybearsaGreekname,butalsorunscountertothegrainofbiblicalnarrative
whichhadtoagreatextentdeterminedJewishpsychologythroughoutthecenturies.
References
Alter,R.1981.TheArtofBiblicalNarrative.NewYork:BasicBooks.
Bakan,D.1958.FreudandtheJewishMysticalTradition.Boston:Beacon.
.1966.TheDualityofHumanExistence:AnEssayonPsychologyandReligion.Chicago:Rand.
Barthes,R.1975.TheStrugglewiththeAngel.InThePleasureoftheText,trans.R.Miller.NewYork:HillandWang,pp.12341.
Bloom,H.1973.TheAnxietyofInfluence.NewYork:OxfordUniv.Press.
.1990.TheBookofJ.NewYork:GroveandWeidenfeld.
Feldman,Y.S.1989.RecurrenceandSublimation:TowardaPsychoanalyticApproachtoBiblicalNarrative.InB.OlshenandY.S.Feldman,eds.,Approachesto
TeachingtheHebrewBibleasLiterature,NewYork:MLAPublications,pp.7882.
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Two
PrometheanPositions
EllenHandlerSpitz
Nothingthathurtsshallcomewithanewface.
Aeschylus,PrometheusBound

Contemporarypsychiatrytendstoemphasizethebiologicaldeterminantsofmentalstatesandofhumanbehavior.Psychoanalysis,whichintheUnitedStateshasbeen
andcontinuestobecloselylinkedwithpsychiatry,has,especiallyrecently,beentendingalsointhatdirection.YetthetravelingexhibitionofSigmundFreud's
antiquitieshasremindedusthatFreud,bothascrupulousscientistandadevotedclinician,alsocherishedanongoingrelationshipwiththeancientworld(Gamwelland
Wells1989).Adedicatedclassicist,FreudtooktheartsandliteratureoftheGraecoRomantraditionasaprimesourceofknowledgeaboutthehumancondition.
Parenthetically,however,althoughitisnotmytopichere,itisimportanttonote,ascurrentbooks,articles,andsymposiaremindus,thatFreudwasalsodeeplyand
conflictuallyindebtedtohisJudaicheritage,anindebtednessdocumentedthroughhisantiquitiescollectionandthecontentsofhislibraryacomplexsubjectcurrently
underrein
VersionsofthischapterwerepresentedattheAmericanPsychiatricAssociationannualmeetinginNewOrleans,May1991,andatasymposiumentitled"Archaeologyand
Psychoanalysis:TheFreudConnection,"sponsoredbytheMichiganPsychoanalyticInstituteandFoundation,AnnArbor,June1991.IwishtothankCharlesSegalforhis
generousreadingofitinanearlierform.

Page27

vestigation(seeBeller1989Gay1978,1987Klein1981Yerushalmi1991,amongothers).
Peeringintentlyintotheclassicalreservoir,FreudsawhisownreflectionmostclearlyinthefigureofOedipus.Fascinatedwiththisimage,hefashionedSophocles'
versionintoacornerstoneofpsychoanalytictheory.Insodoing,however,hedeemphasizedothermythsandtragictalesthathavehadacomparablypowerfulimpact
onWesternimagination.AmongthesearethelegendsofthehouseofAtreus,whichincludethecharactersofAgamemnon,Clytemnestra,Orestes,andElectra,and
thefiguresofTeiresias,Dionysus,Phaedra,Medea,andPrometheus.Inmycatalogueessayfortheantiquitiesexhibit,"PsychoanalysisandtheLegaciesofAntiquity,"
IconsideredpossiblerestructuringsofourunderstandingofmotherdaughterrelationsbasedonanexaminationoftheDemeterPersephonemyth,whichis,however,
astorynotdramatizedinanyoftheextanttragedies(Spitz1989).Inthischapter,IshallfocusonthefigureofPrometheus,particularlyasfiguredinFreud'sown
scatteredreferencestothischaracterandhismythandintheplaybyAeschylusthatbearshisname.Therewillbespacetosketchonlyafewthemes,butIshouldlike
toprefacethembyageneralpleaforcloserrelationsbetweenthementalhealthdisciplinesandthehumanities.
Today,eventhemostthoroughtraininginpsychiatry,psychology,andpsychoanalysisgivesshortshrifttothehumanities.Yet,ifaclinician'sprincipaltaskistolisten
attentivelytothevoiceandwordsofanotherhumanbeingandendeavortomakesenseofthatperson'sprivateworldofsymbols,aworldthatresonateswithculturally
shareddesiresandmeanings,then,surely,humanisticknowledgeisoftheutmostvalue.WeintheWest,evenwithourlatelyawakenedsensitivitiestomulticulturalism,
remainindebtedinlargeparttolanguageandsymbolsystemsthatharkbacktodeeplyburiedsourcesinGreekmythology,tragedy,andphilosophy.Ingested,
assimilated,rejected,reintrojected,andingeniouslycombinedwithmyriadotherinfluences,thesesymbolsystemscontinuetoinfluenceifnotstillactuallytoshapeour
culturalheritage.Inanongoingengagementwiththislegacy,weinhabitakindofafterlifeoftheclassicalepoch.Abackwardglance,afreshlookattheoriginarytexts
themselves,cannot,therefore,failtosparkandstimulateussothatwemay,aftersuchglances,attendwithmorenuancedsensitivitytocontemporaryspeech,
behavior,andfantasy.Attheveryleast,anengagementwithantiquity,bothitstextsanditsobjects,remindsusthat

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theendeavorsofmoderncliniciansexistonacontinuumthatextendsbackintimetothedawnofWesterncivilizationthusofferinghistoricgroundforbothprideand
humility,nottomention,occasionally,despair.
EspeciallyfecundaretheGreektragedies!For,likethemodesinwhichweviewourownlives,theytooaredramas,narratives,spectacles.Tenaciously,theyinsiston
thepersistenceofambivalenceinthemostintimateofhumanaffairs.Relentlessly,theytracktherootsandconsequencesofthatambivalence.Aboveall,they
demonstratethedeeplyhumanprojectofattemptingtowrestmeaningfromtheuncertainty,arbitrariness,anddevastationofhumanlife.Tograppleonadailybasis
withtheentanglementsofindividualsandfamiliesistorecognize,inthetapestryofimagesevokedbythesedramas,familiarbrocadesbothpersonaland
professional.TorevisittheancientGreektragediesistohoneandextendourattunementtofantasy.Turbulentwillsofhusbands,wives,siblings,lovers,andchildren
clashinchillingstrifeintheseparadigmdramas,grandpassionsareenactedonstage,andconflictsstrippedofdisguise.
Thevalue,therefore,ofrestoringtopsychiatry,psychoanalysis,andthementalhealthprofessionsmoregenerallyanengagementwithantiquityandwiththehumanities
morebroadlyis,Iwouldsuggest,toenrichourinterpretiverepertoirebycompellingconfrontationswithtemplates,backdrops,scrims,andstagesetsagainstwhich
contemporarypsychicenactmentscontinuetobeplayedoutinourlivesandcanbeevenmoreinsightfullyobserved.
Freud,insomehalfdozentextualmomentsscatteredthroughouttheStandardEdition,makespassingreferencetothefigureofPrometheus,although,unlike
Oedipus,thisenigmaticTitanalwaysremainedperipheraltohistheorizing.Ishall,inthefirstsectionofmyessay,reviewsomeofFreud'sallusionstothemythof
Prometheusandofferglossesonthem.
Inalateessayentitled"TheAcquisitionandControlofFire"(1932),FreudfocusesonPrometheusinhisroleasfirebringer.Accordingtomyth,andasrecountedby
thecharacterofPrometheushimselfinAeschylus'tragedy,he,thoughhimselfaTitan,chosetoalignhimselfagainsthisbrethrenbysidingwiththenew,rebellious
forcesofZeusinthelatter'ssuccessfuloverthrowofKronos,ruleroftheTitans.Thiswas,furthermore,asupplantingthatreplicatedanearlieruprisingbyKronos
againsthisownfatherUranos,whomhehadcastrated.Later,however,switchinghisallegianceyetagain,Prometheuschoosesthistimetodefy

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hisformerallyZeusbystealingfirefromtheforgeofHephaestus.Bringingthisfiredowntoearth,hebestowsitonthehumanraceandteachesmenandwomenthe
artsofcivilization,therebyempoweringthemtoevadethedestructionplannedforthembyZeus.Itisforthisactofdefiance,compassion,andcunningthatZeus
punisheshimconfininghiminaspectacleofcruelbondagewithcomplexfigurativemeaningsinAeschylus'play,PrometheusBound.
Inhis1932paper,Freuddevelopsacharacteristicallyanatomicalreading.Takingflamesassymbolicofthealternatelyrisingandcollapsingphallus,heinterpretsthe
Prometheanfire,byextension,assignifyingtheunquenchabilityofhumansexualdesire.Further,heanalogizestheinabilityofthemaleorgantoperformitsprocreative
andurinaryfunctionssimultaneouslytotheincompatibilityoffireandwater,andthepunishmentofPrometheustothestolenfireitself,namely,totheeroticdesiresthat,
althoughdailysatisfied,neverthelesscontinuallyrevive.ThisworkscleverlysincePrometheusis,accordingtomyth,mutilatedbyaneaglewhofliestohimdailywhere
heischainedtotherockandsatesitselfonhisliverwhichisthenregeneratedeachnight.Thus,thetearingbeakoftheeagleconjoinedwiththeattackedfleshthatis
continuallybeingreplacedservesasavariantonthemotifofreiteratedselfmutilationandselfconsumptionthattheflamesthemselvesalsoseemtosuggest.Flames,
furthermore,notincidentally,initiatemankindintocivilization(Ehrenzweig1967).Metaphorically,therefore,civilizationitselfcanbeseenasbroughtaboutby,and
maintainedatthecostof,continuouspain.Onthisreading,themythservesFreudasillustrativeofseveralpsychicmechanismsthathehastheorized,includingsymbolic
representationandreversalintoanopposite.
Apropos,furthermore,oftheparallelismbetweenfireandsexualitythatFreudemploysinthispaper,itisfascinatingtonotethatthemythofPrometheusisoneof
irreversibility(Blumenberg1979).NeitherPrometheushimself,norhisantagonistZeus,northehumanraceonwhomfirehasbeenbestowedisallowedtoreturninthe
endtoanoriginalstate.Allarechangedpermanently.Oncefirehasbeenstolenfromthegodsandconferreduponmankind,itishenceforthnolongertheexclusive
prerogativeoftheinhabitantsofOlympus.Itworkstorendermortalsresistant,forever,todivinecontrolandanger.Thisissobecausetheancientmethodof
producingfirebyfriction(rotatingstick,softboard,socketagainstwhichitrubs[Blumenberg1979])canbeseenasrepre

Page30

sentingsymbolicallycarnalknowledge(genitalsexuality)which,onceknownandexperienced,cannotberetracted.Thus,Zeusisprecludedfromwreakingvengeance
byreversingthePrometheantheft:hecannot,onceithasbeengiven,repossessthefire.
Thislevelofmeaning,whenaddedtotheinterpretationthatPrometheusis,aboveall,acultureherowhoempowersmankindtodiscoverbymeansoffireallthearts,
crafts,andsciences,tiesthemythtoFreudiantheory,specificallytothenotionofsublimation,thatis,toeffortstounderstandrelationsbetweeneroticandintellectual,
creativeandsocialenergies.For,justasthesexualitysymbolizedbyfirebecomes,oncediscoveredandexperienced,apermanenthumanpossession,solikewise
doescultureculturedefinedhereasanunboundedsetofirreversibletransformationswroughtbyfireonnature(onethinks,forexample,of"cookedfromraw,"asin
thediscourseofLviStrauss).Thus,boththeconanddivergenceofthesedoubledstrataofmeaningthestolenandgivenfireasrepresentativeofsexualityand
ofculture,interlockingelementsinthePrometheanmythpresagetheproblematicsofFreud'sowneffortstolinktheserealms.Ashasbeenpointedout(Bersani
1986),Freud'stheoreticalmovesonthisproject,particularlyhisfrettednotionofsublimation,haveensnaredhiminwebsofproliferatingcontradiction.Yet
contradiction,albeitinimicaltotheory,is,arguably,crucialtothedeepstructuresofmyth.ThefieryemblemofPrometheus,burninginitsvermilionviscosity,signifying
bothhumansexualityandculture,thusprefiguresthesteamingalloysconcoctedcenturieslaterbySigmundFreud.
Myfurtherglossonthis1932paperanditssexualfocusinvitesconsiderationoftherelatedmythofPandora.HereZeusattemptstorevengehimselfonPrometheus
forthetheft.HecommandsHephaestustoformabeautifulandcharmingwomanofclayasalure.Wreathedwithflowers,sumptuouslydressed,andbroughttolifeby
Athena,thiswomanPandoraistaughtallmannerofguileanddeceitbyHermesandthensentbyZeuscannilynottoPrometheusdirectlybuttohismoregullible
brotherEpimetheuswho,despitefraternalwarning,acceptsthelovelycreature.
LavishlygiftedbyeachoftheOlympiangods(hence,hername,Pandora,"AllGifts"),thiswoman,inturn,wringsareversal.Fromthedepthsofherinfamousjar,she
bestowsonmortalsamiasmaofplaguesandevils.Insodoing,sheincarnatesakindofdemonizedsexuality.Herfemininepresenceinthisquintessentiallymisogynistic
talethusservesas

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agentforZeus'counterattack,Zeusbeing,ofcourse,ironically,aninveteratewomanizer.AndthegreatPrometheangift,thefirethatsymbolizes,aswehaveseen,
bothcultureanderotism,isnowtainted.Zeus,byusingPandoratoaccomplishhisdeception,rendersitforeverambiguous.AfterPandora,afterPrometheus,themale
heterosexualobjectofdesireis,eveninitsproteanembodimentsandmyriadculturaldisplacements,eternallysuspect,equivocal,dangerous...
Inothertexts("PsychopathicCharactersontheStage"[1906]andTotemandTaboo[1913]),FreudtreatsthestoryofPrometheusquitedifferently.There,theTitan
becomes,directlyinthefirsttextandimplicitlyinthesecond,aparadigmoftherebelliousherowhotransgressesprescribedlimits,who,inFreud'sterms,standsinfor
theprimalhordeinitsuprisingagainstthefatherandwhoatthesametimeplaystheroleofsacrificialvictimwithwhomthathordecanidentifyandthroughwhomitcan
vicariouslyexpiateitsownguilt.
ThisthematicpermitsustosegueintothetextofAeschylus'play.Inanexquisitedisplayofempathyinitsclosingmoments,thefemalechorus,daughtersofOceanus,
whohavewaveredthroughout,seemingtosidenowwithPrometheus,nowagainsthim,huddleatlastaroundhimand,standinginclose,recitethewords,"We/will
bearalongwithhimwhatwemustbear"(lines106768).Astheysurroundhim,hedeclaimshisfinalspeechofdefiance("Nowitiswordsnolonger")beforebeing
dashedbythunderboltsintotheblackrecessesofTartarus.
ThusPrometheus,prototypicinsurrectionist,mustendurelongandterriblepunishment,mustsuffer,asitwere,formankind,for,specificallyinhiscase,thehuman
beingshehasassisted.WhatIfindinterestingtonotehereaswellisthat,derivedfromthoseantiquegodsassociatedarchaicallywithpotter'skilnandsmithy'sforge,
Prometheusinfactcreateshumankinddoublybothliterally,outofclay,accordingtomyth,and,secondarily,byprovidinghumanbeingswiththemeansof,and
importantly,themotivationfor,ongoingcreativity.Parenthetically,Genesisalsooffersadoublestoryofcreation(fordiscussioninrelationtothearts,seeSpitz1991).
Freud'seyes,however,blindedbythetoweringfigureofSophocles'Oedipus,wereneverable(aswereNietzsche's)toseethisaspect:Prometheusasafigureforthe
creativeartist,asagreatgeniusof"sternpride"forwhomeveneternalsufferingismerelyaslightpricetopay.Inmyview,thisperspectivemattersdeeplyhereand
offers,forexample,

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apersuasivereadingoftheferocityofZeustowardhisformerally:thebrutalanimosityasmotivatedbyenvyofthelatter'screativity,envyofhisinitiativeandartifice.
Intheopeningscene(towhichwe'llreturnlater),Hephaestus,nailingPrometheustotherock,claimsadeepidentificationwithhimthatencompassescraftaswellas
blood.Inhissecondspeechafterthebondagehasbeencompleted,Prometheuscriesoutthathe,agodwhoshouldbeenvied,isnot:''Look,seewithwhatchains/I
amnailedonthecraggyheights/ofthisgullytokeepawatch/thatnoneshouldenvyme"(lines14144,myemphasis).Yet,itispreciselyenvyand,asMelanie
Kleinhassobrilliantlydescribed,thewishtospoilanddestroytheother'screativitythat,inpart,canbeseenasmotivatingpunishmenthereapunishmentby
enchainmentthatworkspreciselytoprohibitfurtheraction.AttheendofAeschylus'tragedy,whenHermesissentasmessengerbyZeustowarnPrometheusofhis
dreadfulfatethefallintoTartarusPrometheussaysheistheenemyofallthegods(lines97576).Hermesthentellinglyreplies:"Noonecouldbearyouin
success"(myitalics).
Myfurtherreflections,whichconstitutethesecondhalfofthischapter,wereaugmented(andchallenged)bythecommentsofpsychiatryresidentsandpsychology
fellowsatCornellaswellaspsychoanalyticcandidatesatColumbiawithwhomIhavereadtheplayinmyteaching.Theytaketheformofquestionsonthemesthat
clusteraroundahintfoundinthetitleofAeschylus'play.Parenthetically,PrometheusBoundwaswritten,webelieve,afterthegreatPersianWarbattlesatMarathon
in490,B.C.,andSalamisin480B.C.,inwhichitsauthorproudlyparticipated.Aswascustomary,thistragedybelonged,apparently,toatrilogy,butitscompanion
plays,putativelyentitledPrometheusUnboundandPrometheustheFirebringer,arelost.Tocomplicateuncertainty,notonlyareboththeexistenceandorderof
thoselostplaysindispute,buttheveryauthorshipofthepresenttexthasbeencalledintoquestion(Griffith1977).Debatesovertheseandothertextualperimeters,
conductedintheacademybyclassicalscholars,deservepassingmentionherebecausetheyremindusofthemethodologicalsnarlstowhicheverydisciplineissubject.
Here,however,IhavereliedexclusivelyonDavidGrene's1942translationastext,anidiosyncraticchoicebasedonpersonalhistory:thiswastheversionIfirst
encounteredasanundergraduateandthat,asafirstlove,Ihaveneverbeenablesubsequentlytoabandon.

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Aeschylus'titlehonesinontheideaofprobingalimitorboundary.Andindeed,thisprovesamotifthatresonatesthroughoutthedrama,theopeningsceneofwhich
takesplaceonabareanddesolatecragatwhatisdescribedastheedge,therimoftheearth.Theintroductorylinesread:"Thisistheworld'slimitthatwehavecome
to...anuntroddendesolation."
Nailed,chainedtoarockatthebiddingofZeusbyhisservantsMightandViolenceandtheOlympiansmithHephaestus,Prometheusremainsimmobilethroughoutthe
drama,hisactionslimitedtochoicesbetweensilenceandspeech.HeisvisitedinsuccessivescenesbyOceanus(afellowrebelTitan),byIo(another,butfemale,
victimofZeus),andfinallybyHermes(themessengersentbyZeustowarnPrometheusofhisimpendingfate)eachoftheseacharacterwhointensifiesour
participationinhisplightandworkstoengageuswithitbothempathicallyandcritically.Physicallyinertbutpsychicallyalert,metaphoricallyatthelimitsofhisown
enduranceandunderstanding,Prometheusmaysuggesttousthefigureofananalyticpatientwho,likewiseinpainthatoftenseemsatleastinitiallyimposedfrom
without,mustsubmit,forthedurationofeachtreatmentsession,tothesuspensionofactioninordertoprobepsychiclimits.
AndtheinhibitionofactionmattersfocallyheretotherangeofperspectiveaffordedtoandbyPrometheus,whosename,ofcourse,means"Forethinker."Whatare
therelationsposedherebetweenstasisandforeknowledge?Betweenparalysisandprediction?Betweenaninabilitytoacteffectivelyintheworld,fantasiesof
omniscience(oromnipotence),andaclingingtopain(seethefinearticleonmasochismbyNovickandNovick1991,thatinterrelatesthesethemes)?
Whatwoulditdotousifwewereactuallyabletoforeseefutureevents?Woulditstopusdeadinourtracks,immobilizeus,videPrometheus?Ordowealreadyina
certainsenseknowwhatwillhappen(asPlatoteaches,andaspsychoanalysishintsviatherepetitioncompulsion)?Isitthatweknowbutmercifullyand/orperilously
forget?Aeschyluscontinuouslyinvitesustoprobethebenefitsanddangersofforeknowledge.Aloneonhisrock,Prometheus,speakingforthefirsttimeafterhis
binding,criesout:
Ohwoeisme!
Igroanforthepresentsorrow,
Igroanforthesorrowtocome,Igroan

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questioningwhenthereshallcomeatime
whenhe[Zeus]shallordainalimittomysufferings.
WhatamIsaying?Ihaveknownallbefore,
allthatshallbe...
nothingthathurtsshallcomewithanewface.
(Lines95102)

Canwehearinthislamentthescriptwritingtendenciesofthemasochisticpatientwhoestablishespowerfulpropheciesofpainthataresubsequentlybothenactedand,
importantly,displayed,whiletheselfissimultaneouslyexperiencedasvictimized(NovickandNovick1991)?.
Later,whenthechorusofdaughtersofOceanusappearonstagehorrifiedathissufferings,theyaskPrometheuswhathecouldpossiblyhavedonetosoprovokethe
wrathofZeus.TheTitananswersthathehassavedthehumanracefromdestructionanddonesobygivingthemgifts.Thefirstgifthementions,however,isnotfire.
Rather,thegifttowhichAeschylusaccordspriorityhereis,fascinatingly,"blindhopes,"or,inotherwords,falseforeknowledge.Prometheusrespondstothechorus:
"Iplacedinthemblindhopes."TowhichtheOceanidsapprovinglyrejoinder:"Thatwasagreatgiftyougavetomen"(lines25253).
Ourtext,then,impliesthat,forhumanbeingstoliveatall,tocare,towilltheirown(ourown)continuingexistence,alltrueknowledgeofwhatistocomemustbe
forbidden.Wecannotbeprivytothedetailsofourownmortality.Wemustbedefendedfromtheknowledgeofwhenandhowourendswillcome.Tokeepusfrom
perishing,whatweneedarefalsehopes,defenses,illusions,fantasies,shades,or,asthatgreatAmericanheirtoAeschylus,EugeneO'Neill,putitpiquantlyinThe
IcemanCometh(1939),"pipedreams."Selfdeceptionstaysselfdestruction.Tocontemplatehumanlifeintherawnessofitsbrevityandmiserycanonlybefatal.
Thus,evenbeforePrometheusbestowsthegiftoffire,heequipsmenandwomenwithblindhopeswithoutthese,thetextimplies,evensexualityandculturemust
cometonaught.
Prometheushimself,however,can,infact,presagehisownfutureaswellasthatofothers.Whataretheconsequencesofhisforeknowledge?Andwhatrole,thetext
invitesustoask,doessecrecyplayinthepreservationofathreatenedandtormentedself?For,inadditiontoadvancenoticeofhisownsuffering,Prometheusalso
bearsapowerfulsecret:asForethinker,heknowsthedetailsofthefuturedemiseofhistormentor

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Zeus.Yet,despitethedirestofthreats,herefusessteadfastlytospeakofthem.Why?Arethere,theplayasks,secretsperhapsthatmaynotbetoldwithout
dismantlingthescaffoldingoftheself?
Howdoesretainingasecretaffectthelimitsofsufferingthatcanbeimposed,andwhataretheresultsofpain?Canphysicaltorture,initsvisibilityandonstage
specularity,workasafigureformentalanguish?Prometheusisinactive,nailedtotherock,buthismindcontinuestowanderandcannotbesopinioned.Orcanit?
ForPrometheusrefusessteadfastlythroughouttheplaytoalterhisstancevisvisZeusandmaintains,despiteallthreats,hisrebelliousness.Henever,onemight
argue,changes.Withstandingthetrialsforceduponhim,heremainsunwaveringinhisopposition.Doesthisintransigencebetokenaheroicsenseofprinciplethat
transcendsbodilyagonyoraninsaneandirrationalmasochismthatembracespain,asHermesaccusesintheclosingmomentsoftheplay?Orperhaps,does
Aeschylus,consummateartistthatheis,pinusdownandforceustoadmitacertaininextricabilityofmoralityfrommasochism?
Inanycase,thestubbornnessconstitutes,forbetterorworse,aconstant.Itforcesustoquestiontheroleofphysicalandmentalpainintheacquisitionofknowledge.
Isthere,inotherwords,alearningprocessfiguredintheprotagonistasthescenesunfold,oristheportrayaloneofthethoroughgoingstasis?
Take,forexample,thepoignantscenewhenIoappears.Io,atragicandderangedgirlwho,havingbeenrapedbyZeusandtransformedthereafterintoaheifer,is
portrayedasbeingstungcontinuouslybyagadflywhopursuesher.Forcedtowanderaimlesslyovertheearth,sheexquisitelyfiguresforourmodernsensibilitythe
endlesseffectsofrapeandsexualtraumaonthemindandbehaviorofyounggirls,traumainthiscaseassociatedwithindifference,rejection,anddisguisedincestuous
longingonthepartofherfather.
HereisthetaleIotellsPrometheusshortlyafterherappearance,dancing,onstage:"Therewerealways/nightvisionsthatkepthauntingmeandcoming/intomy
maidenchamberandexhorting/withwinningwords,'Omaiden...Zeusisstricken/withlustforyouheisafiretotry/thebedoflovewithyou:donotdisdain
him...'WithsuchdreamsIwascruellybest/nightafternightuntilItookthecourage/totellmyfather...[who]castmeout/ofhomeandcountry....He[her
father]drovemeoutandshuthisdoorsagainstme"(lines64571).

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Confused,fragmented,intorment,IothuslivesoutahellthatisgendereddifferentlyfromthestasismetedouttoPrometheus.Ratherthanbeingfettered,likethe
actioncravingmale,she,whoyearnstorest,tonest,tosettledown,toestablishroots,home,stability,iscursedwithceaselessmovement,eternalwandering.Sheis
caughtintheimmediatepresentofhercrazedcondition.Prometheus,meanwhile,despitehisboundlimbs,can,bycontrast,rangementallyfarintothefuture,canoffer
heracenteringandafocuscanprovideher,fromhisrock,withatemporalandspatialorganizationcanorienthercangiveherthekindofdirectionalknowledgehe
gavealso,importantly,tomortalswhenhetaughtthemtowriteandtocalculate,thustorememberandtoprojectintothefuture(lines440508).Howyoked,we
mightask,isforethoughttostasis?Contemplationandreckoningtotheinhibitionofaction?
Whatotherlimitsarefiguredhere?What,theirdimensionsandfunctions?Andhowcanwejudgebetweentheirpositiveandnegativeforce?PrometheusandZeus,for
example,are,despitetheirmanifestlytiltedrelation,actually,aswegraduallylearn,twinned.Eachmustsubordinatehimselftoanoverarchinglimitofnecessity,fate.
Neitherisfree.Nor,asweknow,isanytherapistfreeinhisorherrelationtoasufferingpatient.Power,knowledge,andtheconfinesofthedomainitselfimposelimits
thatmayprovealternatively,evensimultaneously,bothfertileandreductive.
Whatdoesitmeanthat,fromapositionofbondage,PrometheuschallengesthelimitsofZeus'spowerandopposestheuttermostofhiscunningandintellecttothatof
bruteforce?IsthePrometheanstanceitselfsustainedbyimplacableenmity?Despiteallentreaties(onthepart,forexample,ofhisfellowTitanOceanuswhocomes
astrideahippocamptopersuadehimopportunisticallytocapitulatetoZeus),anddespiteallthreats(onthepartofHermes,thatis,whocomeswithominouswarnings
directfromZeus),Prometheus,aswehaveseen,refusestoalterhisheroicstubbornness,hisintransigence,hisembraceofpain.Aproposofhisobstinacy,Hermes
says:"Theseareamadman'swords,amadman'splan:/Isthereamissingnoteinthismadharmony?/...aslackchordinhismadness?"(lines105355).Eitherway,
intrepidorinsane,thesteadfastnessofPrometheusconstitutesalimitbeyondwhichhedoesnot,cannot,willnot,go.Heis,asHermesputsit,"slavetotherock"

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(lines96869),andwegraspevermorefullythecomplexityandintimacyofthisenslavementasthedramaunfolds.
Perhapstheplaysuggeststhenthatmaintenanceofunwaveringoppositionmustbecoercedbyshacklesthatheroism,liketheravenouseagle,feedsuponoppression,
injustice,harshreprisalthatnecessity,law,kinship,andmightimposedifferingandconflictuallimits.Perhapsithintsthatsuchlimitsonlyseemtobeevadedbycraft,
wit,andintellect.Surely,asnoted,itispartlyenvyofcreativity,thementalprowessofPrometheus,thatmotivatesZeuswhereasPrometheusbycontrastexpresses
opencontemptforthebrutishnessofhisenemywho,newlyinstalledasrulerofthegods,exemplifiestoourmodernclinicalconsciousnesstheoverzealousnessofa
primitivesuperego.InthewordsofHephaestus,ashenailsPrometheustotherock,"forthemindofZeusishardtosoften.../andeveryrulerisharshwhoseruleis
new"(lines3334).
Whataboutboundariesinthetripleregistrationofmankindasdivine,human,andanimal?WheredoesPrometheusstand(orfall)inthishierarchy?Thecontoursblur.
Inthefirstscene,asheisfetteredtotherock,thetermsappliedtohimareappropriateforanimals:Prometheusisboundwithchainsthatnormallyconnectabridlebit
withtheguidingreinheisthrownaroundandgirtasifbeingsaddledheisharnessed,tethered,broken,asonedoesahorse.Atthesametime,he,havinghelpedand
identifiedwithmankind,is,inanotherregister,compelledtosufferthepeculiarlimitsandrestraintsofthehumancondition.Meanwhile,alsoagod,aTitan,heis
possessedofprodigiouspsychicstrengthandofthepowerofprophecy.Furthermore,aswehaveseen,he,inwhatreadsasaninstantiationofmasochisticpathology
avantlalettre,objectifieshimself,notonlybyrelatingtheadvancenarrativeofhisafflictionsbutbypointingtohimselfasaspectacle,anobjectofridiculeandscorn:
"look,seewithwhatchains/Iamnailedonthecraggyheights"(lines14041)"NowasIhang,theplaythingofthewinds,/myenemiescanlaughatwhatI
suffer"(lines15859).
Relatedthen,totheoverarchingmotifoflimitsareotherthreads,woventogetherandalldevelopedambiguouslyeachundecidedand,perhaps,undecidable.
Thematizingtherepresentationofpleasurablepainforexample,thetextresonateswithafindingreportedintheNovickand

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Novickarticlecitedabove:"These[masochisticpatients]remainedexclusivelyandanxiouslytiedtotheirmothers,withthefeelingthatsafetyandsurvivaldepended
solelyontheirmothers"(1991,315,myitalics).
BoththefirstandlastwordsspokenbyPrometheusareaddressedtohisabsentmother.Identifyingherwithalltheelementsofnature,heapostrophizes:
Brightlight,swiftwingedwinds,springsoftherivers,numberless
laughterofthesea'swaves,earth,motherofall,andthe
allseeingcircleofthesun:IcalluponyoutoseewhatI,
agod,suffer
atthehandsofgods
(lines8992,myitalics)

Andtheplayendswithhispleasandprotest,againtoheraswitness:
Oholymothermine,Oskythatcirclingbringsthelighttoall,
youseeme,howIsuffer,howunjustly.
(lines109092,myitalics)

Tofeelthepower,inconclusion,thepsychologicalastutenessandauthorityofthisplay,letusturnbackquicklyandzoominonitsinitialscene,atourdeforceof
dramaticconceptualization.MightandViolencehavejustdraggedtheirvictimonstagebeforeus,andHephaestusisbeingenjoinedtoperformtheactofenchainment.
Prometheusissilentthroughout.
Forthedurationofthescene,MightandHephaestussparwitheachother,oneincitingthereluctantothertoperformhiscrueltask.Mightspeaks:"Hurrynow.Throw
thechainsaroundhim....Putthemonhishands:strongnowwiththehammer:strike.Nailhimtotherock....Hammeritmoreputinthewedgeleaveitloose
nowhere.He'sacunningfellowatfindingawayevenoutofhopelessdifficulties....Drivetheobstinatejawoftheadamantinewedgerightthroughhisbreast:driveit
hard"(lines5265passim.).
Protesting,Hephaestusidentifieswithhisvictim,forPrometheusisbothhisrelation(theyaredescendedfromUranos)andfellowartist:"Ihavenotthehearttobind
violentlyaGodwhoismykinhereonthiswintrycliff,"hedemurs."Yetthereisaconstraintuponmetohavetheheartforjustthat,foritisadangerousthingtotreat
[Zeus']wordslightly"(lines1415).Thenlater,hesaysaboutPrometheus:"Ourkin

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shiphasastrangepower"(line39).So,inhisspeech,tiesofbloodarepittedagainstdictatesoflaw,astheyareintheOresteia,andhere,asthere,thelatterwinout
overtheformer.
Hephaestus,furthermore,expressesthequintessentialambivalenceofeveryartisttohisownart,hisawarenessofitscapacitytoharmaswellastoheal.Hecurseshis
expertise:"OhandicraftofminethatIdeeplyhate!"(line44).Fascinatingly,however,Mightturnsonhimasheprotestswhilehammering:"You,"hepointsout,"can
besofthearted.Butdonotblamemystubbornnessandharshnessoftemper"(lines7980,myitalics).Inotherwords,thoughapparentlyopposed,thetwo
charactersareinfactlockedindeeppsychologicalembrace.Theirattitudesaremutuallydependentjustas,theplaygraduallyreveals,PrometheusandZeusform
mirrorimagesofoneanother.ThecharactersofMightandHephaestusinstantiateoppositesidesofonecoinidentificationwiththeaggressor(onthepartoftheone
whoisnottheactualperpetrator)andidentificationwiththevictim(onthepartoftheonewhoperformstheactualact).OnlybecauseMighteggshimoncan
Hephaestusindulgeempathicfeelings,whereasHephaestus'softheartednessspursMighttoeverescalatingdisplaysofverbalsavagery.Thus,brilliantly,Aeschylus
createsbeforeus,hisaudience,aperverseandsadomasochisticscenariowhereforbiddencruelty,expressedbyonecharacter,islegitimizedbyrepeatedrepudiation
onthepartofanother.Thisstrategemopensanaestheticdistance,aspace,whereinguiltlesspleasurecanbeexperiencedandmeditateduponbyspectators.
And,crucially,duringthisentireopeningscene,Aeschylusgiveshisheronowords.Prometheusremainsutterlysilentasheisrivetedtotherock.Whataboutthis
silence?Doesitworktoprovidearichandfertilefieldforprojection?FocusedontheconflictbetweenMightandHephaestus("Iamforcedtodothisdonotkeep
urgingme.""Yes,Iwillurgeyou,andhoundyouonaswell....Hammerthepiercingfetterswithallyourpower"[lines7172,74]),wehearnotsomuchasagroan
fromPrometheus.
Wedoseehim,however,onstagebeforeoureyes.Wemaynotavoidhim.Hisforbearance(orrather,thatofAeschylus)compelsustoroundoutandcompletethis
sceneofbondage.Hissilenceimplicatesus.Itcompelsus,asaudience,tomakethestageresoundwithechoesfromourowninnerlives,fromourownmemories,
fantasies,andimagination.
Boundnowmyselfbytheconstraintsoftheessayformat,Imuststop,

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havingneverthelesstriedintheforegoingtoprovideaglimpseofthepsychologicalrichnessthataboundsinjustoneancientmythandtext.Freud,mezmerizedbythe
plightofOedipus,leftPrometheustohanguponcraggyheights,aplaythingofthewinds.We,however,maychoosetogazemorekeenlyathim.For,inalltheenigma
ofhisexistentialpain,hepresentsuswithanimagethat,intheclosingyearsofthetwentiethcentury,wecannotaffordtoignore.
References
Aeschylus.1942.PrometheusBound,trans.D.Grene.InAeschylusII:TheCompleteGreekTragedies,ed.D.GreneandR.Lattimore.Chicago:Univ.of
ChicagoPress,1956.
Beller,S.1989.ViennaandtheJews:ACulturalHistory.Cambridge:CambridgeUniv.Press.
Bersani,L.1986.TheFreudianBody.NewYork:ColumbiaUniv.Press.
Blumenberg,H.1979.WorkonMyth,trans.R.M.Wallace.Cambridge,MA:MITPress,1985.
Ehrenzweig,A.1967.TheHiddenOrderofArt.Berkeley:Univ.ofCaliforniaPress.
Freud,S.1906.PsychopathicCharactersontheStage.S.E.,7:30510.
.1913.TotemandTaboo.S.E.,13:1161.
.1932.TheAcquisitionandControlofFire.S.E.,22:18793.
Gamwell,L.,andR.Wells,eds.1989.SigmundFreudandArt:HisPersonalCollectionofAntiquities.NewYork:Abrams.
Gay,P.1978.Freud,Jews,andOtherGermans.Oxford:OxfordUniv.Press.
.1987.AGodlessJew.NewHaven:YaleUniv.Press.
Griffith,M.1977.TheAuthenticityof"PrometheusBound."Cambridge:CambridgeUniv.Press.
Hogan,J.C.1984.ACommentaryontheCompleteGreekTragedies:Aeschylus.Chicago:Univ.ofChicagoPress.
Klein,D.B.1981.JewishOriginsofthePsychoanalyticMovement.Chicago:Univ.ofChicagoPress.
LviStrauss,C.1973.FromHoneytoAshes.IntroductiontoaScienceofMythology,Vol.2.,trans.J.WeightmanandD.Weightman.NewYork:Harperand
Row.
Nietzsche,F.1872.TheBirthofTragedy,trans.W.Kaufmann.NewYork:Vintage,1967.
Novick,J.,andK.K.Novick1991.SomeCommentsonMasochismandtheDelusionofOmnipotencefromaDevelopmentalPerspective.J.Am.Psycyoanal.
Assn.,39:30731.
Rose,H.J.1959.AHandbookofGreekMythology.NewYork:Dutton.

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Spitz,E.Handler1989.PsychoanalysisandtheLegaciesofAntiquity.InGamwellandWells1989.pp.15371.
.1991.ImageandInsight.NewYork:ColumbiaUniv.Press.
Yerushalmi,J.H.1991.FreudandMoses:JudaismTerminableandInterminable.NewHaven:YaleUniv.Press.

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Three
TheOedipusRexandtheAncientUnconscious
MarthaC.Nussbaum
Ishallbediscussingthepracticalnatureoftheancientunconsciousitspreoccupationwithquestionsofgoodandbadfortune,controlandlackofcontrol,security
andinsecurity.Ishallbearguingthatthesequestionsaremorecentraltoitsworkingsthanquestionsofsexualitynarrowlyconstrued,indeed,thatsexualanxieties
functionasjustonespeciesofpracticalanxietyaboutcontrolandsecurity.Itthereforeseemsappropriatetobeginwithadream,toallappearancessexual,which
reallyhas,accordingtotheancientinterpretation,anonsexualpracticalsignificanceforthefortunesofmostofthecontributorstothisvolumepeople,thatis,who
makealivinggivinglecturesandexchangingarguments.InthefirstbookofArtemidorosofDaldis'workondreaminterpretation(ArtemidoriDaldianionicocriticon
libriV),inasectiontowhichIshallreturnondreamswhosecontentisthatwhichviolatesconventioninsexualmatters,Artemidoros,aprofessionaldreamanalyst
ofthesecondcenturyC.E.1 interpretsthedreamthatoneisperformingoralsexonastranger.2
Ingeneral,Artemidorossays,thisdreamisabadone,indicativeofsomebadfortunetocomethisinkeepingwiththepervasiveGreekviewthatsuchintercourseis
uncleanandbase(Winkler1990,3738Henderson1975,22,25,18386).Butthereisanexception.Withhischaracteristicpragmatismandflexibility,Artemidoros
notesthatthe

Page43

dreamisahappyone,indicativeoffuturegoodfortuneandsecurity,''forthosewhoearntheirlivingbytheirmouths,Imeanflutists,trumpetplayers,rhetors,sophists,
andwhoeverelseislikethem."Thesexualactischeerfullyreadasametaphorforthesuccessfulpracticeofone'sprofession.Beyondtheinformationitimparts,so
interestingtotheprofessionalacademic,thisexamplebegins,Ihope,togiveasenseofsomeprofounddifferencesbetweenancientGreekandFreudianattitudes
towardwhattheunconsciousmindcontainsandhowtodecipheritscontents.ThesedifferencesandalsotheirsignificanceforthereadingofSophocles'Oedipus
Rexwillbethesubjectofthisessay.3
IhaveoftenfeltdiscomfortwhenhearingdiscussionoftheFreudianOedipuscomplexinconnectionwithSophocles'play.ForwhileitseemsplainthatbothFreud's
theoryandSophocles'playexploreimportantaspectsofhumanexperienceandevokeintheirreadersavaluablesortofreflectionaboutexperience,Ihave(along,I
suspect,withmanyreadersoftheplay)muchdifficultyfindingthecloserlinkthatFreudianinterpretationsoftheplaywishustodiscover.Foritseemsdifficulttoavoid
theconclusionthattheplayitselfisnotverymuchconcernedwithsexualdesireassuch,orwithdeephiddensexualurgestowardone'sparent,combinedwith
aggressivewishestowardone'sparentalrival.Itssubjectmatterdoesverymuchappeartobethatofreversalinfortune.SoithasbeenunderstoodsinceAristotle's
Poetics,whereitprovidesthecentralillustrationoftheconceptofperipeteiaand,itappears,withgoodreason.Incestseemstofigureintheplotasthatwhich,
whendiscovered,causesOedipustoplummetfromthesummitofgoodfortunetotheverybottom.Itis,ofcourse,crucialtotheplotthatOedipusisnotexperiencing
desiretowardthepersonwhomhetakestobehismother,towardthewomanwhoraisedhimasamother,nor,indeed,towardanywomanwhonursed,held,or
caredforhimatanytime.Sofarastheintentionalcontentofhisdesireisconcerned,Jocastaissimplyawellplacedeligiblestranger.Itisalsoperfectlyclearthathis
aggressiveactionagainstLaiosisinandofitselfculturallyacceptable,acounterattackinselfdefense.4 NoristhereanysignthatOedipushasatanylevelhidden
knowledgeabouttheidentityofthestrangerhekills.Howcouldhe,whenhewouldneverhavelookeduponhisface,evenininfancy?Finally,thewholequestionof
eroticdesiredoesnotappeartobesalientintheplay'streatmentofthemarriagetoJocasta.Themarriageisapoliticalone,andisneverdescribedasmotivatedby
ers.Ersismentionedfrequentlyin

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Sophoclesbutnotinthisplay.Inshort:theplayseems,asAristotlesays,tobeconcernedwiththevulnerabilityofeventhebestfortunetoabruptdisaster.Anditis
crucialtoitsconstructionthatthecollocationofcircumstancesthatstrikesOedipusdownisnotregarded,byhimorbyanyoneelseintheplay,astheproductofhis
sexualintentions,whetherconsciousorunconscious.
Tosayallthisistostatetheobvious.AndyetwepostFreudianshavelearnedtodoubttheobvious.Wehavelearnedtolookintheplayforsignsoftherepressed
desires,eroticandaggressive,thatFreudmadethesubjectmatterofhistheoryoftheOedipuscomplexandhisreadingoftheplay.PeterRudnytsky'sbook(1987)
persuasivelydocumentsthehistoryofFreud'sreading,settingitagainstthebackgroundofnineteenthcenturyGermanviewsoftragedy.Itwouldbeinstructiveto
couplethishistorywithahistoryoftheavoidance,inthatsameperiodofpostKantianGermanthought,oftheapparentlyunseemlyconclusionsofancienttragedy
aboutthevulnerabilityofhumanflourishingandevenofvirtuousactiontochangesinfortune.5 ButifwearetomovefromunderstandinghowFreud'saccountofthe
playcameabouttoassessingitasanaccountoftheplaythatSophocleswrote,wemustaskwhether,infact,anancientGreekaudiencewouldhavemadethe
connectionsaFreudianmakesbetweenthesurfaceoftheplayanddeeperquestionsofsexuality,orwhether,ontheotherhand,myinitialhunchaboutthegulf
betweentheplay'spreoccupationwithsecurityandFreud'spreoccupationwithsexualityiscorrect.Butinordertoknowthisweneed,inturn,toknowagreatdeal
morethanFreudianinterpreterscharacteristicallytellusaboutancientattitudestotheunconsciousmindanditsdecipherment.
Thisisavasttask,butIintendatleasttobeginithere,arguingthatinsomesalientand,Ithink,representativepiecesoftheevidencewefindthattheancientGreeks,
unlikeorthodoxFreudians,didnotthinkthatsexualityliesbehindeveryotherwish.Instead,theyunderstoodthemind'sdeepestandmostanxiouspreoccupationsto
bepreoccupationsfrequentlyunconsciousonaccountoftheirupsettingcharacteraboutcontrolandlackofcontrol,securityandtheabsenceofsecurity.Thusit
willturnout,Ithink,thatthebestreadingofthetragedydoespresentmaterialbearinganaccountofwhattheunconsciousmindcontainsbutnotinthewaythatthe
Freudiansupposes.
NowofcourseifonebelievesthatFreud'stheoryiscorrect,and

Page45

universallyso,onewillnotbemuchdeterredfromtheFreudianinterpretationofSophoclesbythediscoverythattheFreudianinterpretationisculturallyanachronistic.
ForitwillseemplausibletosupposethatSophocles'brilliancehasputhimintouchwithtruthsthatothermembersofhisculturewereslowtodiscover.And,onthe
otherside,Iconfessthattheexplanatorypowerandthegeneralhumanplausibilityofancientprotopsychoanalyticviewsis,forme,apart,atleast,oftheappealof
readingtheplayinconjunctionwiththeseviews,ratherthanwiththeFreudianviews.Butifweleavetoonesidethequestionofpsychoanalytictruth,wecanstillsee
thatsettingtheplayinitsculturalcontextpromotesamuchmoreeconomicalandunstrainedreadingofthetext,onethatcanrecognizeassalientwhatthetextitself
presentsassalient,ratherthansearchingforsignsofwhatitnowheresaysorimplies.
IshalldevotemostofthechaptertotheexaminationoftwoverydifferentancientGreekaccountsoftheunconsciousmindanditssymbolicandmotivationalactivity.
FirstIshallexamineaportionofthedreambookofArtemidoros,which,thoughwritteninthesecondcenturyC.E.,givesusthemostextensiveevidencewehave
aboutpopularbeliefsconcerningthesemattersandtestifies,itisclear,todeepandpersistentculturalbeliefsaboutthecrucialimportanceof"externalgoods"inthe
structureofthementallife.Artemidorosconfineshisaccounttothereadingofdreams,whichis,ofcourse,histradehehasnotheorycomparabletoFreud's
concerningthemotivationalroleofrepressedunconsciousdesiresinone'swakinglife.Ishallthereforeturnnexttotheoneancienttheoryofthemindknowntomethat
doesdevelopinsomedetailsuchamotivationalaccountnamely,totheEpicureantheoryofunconsciousfearsandlongings,andtheirroleinexplainingbehavior.I
shalldrawsometentativeconclusionsaboutthecommongroundbetweenthesetwoviews,andthenturnmorebrieflytotheplay,toseewhatlight,ifany,this
backgroundmighthaveshedonhowwemightapproachit.Finally,Ishallbrieflyandtentativelysuggestthatthereisacontemporarypsychoanalyticapproachthat
comescloserthanFreud'sdoestotappingtheplay'scentralpreoccupationsnamely,the"objectrelations"approach.
Artemidoros:
IncestandFortune
ThedreambookofArtemidorosofDaldishasrecentlybeenthesubjectofsomevaluableanalyses:byMichelFoucaultinthethirdvolumeof

Page46

hisHistoryofSexuality(1986)moreconvincing,Ithink,thanthesecondvolume(1985)asareconstructionofGreekpopularthought6 andbyJohnJ.Winkler
inhisrecentbookTheConstraintsofDesire:TheAnthropologyofSexandGenderinAncientGreece(1990,1744,21016).7 Winkler'sanalysisis,Ithink,
morefinetunedandgenerallymoreincisivethanFoucault's,especiallyinitsstressontheflexibilityandindividualityofArtemidoros'dreamreadings.Ihavethehighest
respectforWinkler'sworkonthedreammaterial(seeNussbaum1990a)whatIsayheredoesnotgoveryfarbeyondwhathehasalreadydone.ButIwishto
connectthismaterialwithsomemoregeneralobservationsaboutancientideasofthemind,andothertextsdealingwiththemind,inordertopreparethewayfora
contrastwiththeFreudianviewandforaconfrontationwithSophocles.ForthisreasonIshallbelookingmorecloselythanWinklerdoesatcertainsectionsofthe
textespecially,atitsaccountofbodilypartsasdreamsignifiers,anditsaccountofdreamsofincestwiththemother.
First,somegeneralobservations.Artemidorosisimportanttoanyonewhowantsabetterunderstandingofancientattitudestodreamingandsex(andmanyother
thingsbesides)because,althoughheishimselfanexpertpractitionerwithatheory,thetheoryoperatesthroughadetailedunderstandingofpopularculturalsymbolism
anddeeplyrootedculturalattitudes(Winkler1990,28ff).Tofindoutwhatadreamsignifies,Artemidorosneedstoknowthevarioussymbolicassociationsofthe
partsofthedreamcontent.Usuallyhedoesthisingeneralculturalterms,sinceheiswritingageneralhandbook.Buthemakesitclearthatthegoodinterpretermust
reallyalwaystakeintoaccountthepeculiaritiesofthedreamer'sownhistory,hisorherownpersonalvariationsontheculturalsymbolism.Inanonjudgmentalwayhe
mustseektouncoverthefactsaboutthedreamer'sownpracticesandassociations,sothatnorelevantsymbolicconnectionwillhavebeenoverlooked.Inmyopening
example,theinterpreterneedstoknowthedreamer'sprofessionforthiswillinformhimthatthedreamofgivingsexualpleasurewithone'smouth,whichhasdire
associationsformostpeople,hasassociationswithprofitandsuccessforthedreamer,asmemberofoneoftheoccupationalgroupsnamed.Elsewherehemakesit
clearthathealsoneedsfullinformationaboutthedreamer'ssexualpractices,ifdreamswithasexualcontentaretobecorrectlyunderstood.Intwocaseswheremales
dreamed,oneofperformingcunnilingusonhiswife,theotherofbeingfellatedbyhis,

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Artemidorosatfirstexpectedsomethingbadtohappen.Hewasamazedwhenitdidnot,andthisseemedtohimmost"unreasonable."Butlaterthepuzzlewassolved.
Hediscovered(hedoesnottellushow)thatthetwomeninquestionactuallyhadallalonghadapersonaltastefororalgenitalactivity,atastethattheyhadnot
reportedtoArtemidoros,presumablybecauseoftheculturalstigmaattachedtoit."Bothwereinthehabitofdoingthat,andnotkeepingtheirmouthsclean.Soitwas
plausiblethatnothinghappenedtothem,sincetheysimplysawwhatexcitedthem"(4.59).8 Thus,thoughmanydreamsrefertofutureevents,theirsignificancemust
bereadasinthecaseofFreudianinterpretationintermsofthedreamer'sownpersonalhistory,wishes,andassociations(Winkler1990,29).9
Artemidorosingeneraldividesdreamsintotwotypes:enhupniaandoneiroi.Enhupniaaredreamsthatdirectlyexpressacurrentphysicaloremotionalstate.For
example,"alovernecessarilyseeshimselfwithhisbelovedinhisdreams,andafrightenedmanseeswhatheisafraidof,thehungrymaneats,thethirstyman
drinks"(1.1)Thesignificanceofsuchdreamsissimpleandrelativelysuperficial:theysignifythedreamer'scurrentstateinatransparentway(Winkler1990,32).In
general,thepresenceinadreamofsuchindicationsofstrongcurrentdesirestendstodisqualifythedreamfromhavingamorecomplexsignificance:"Havingsexwitha
knownandfamiliarwoman[sc.inadream]whenoneisfeelingsexyanddesiresherinthedreampredictsnothing,becauseoftheoverridingintensityofthe
desire"(1.78).And,aswehaveseen,thefactthatthetwoclientsturnedouttobedevoteesoforalsexdisqualifiedtheirdreamfrompredictivesignificance,even
thoughtheywerenotnecessarilyinastateofsexualarousalatthetimeoftheirdreams.
Ontheotherhand,whendreamsdonotderivefromthedreamer'simmediatestate,theycanhaveafarmoreprofoundmeaning.Theclassofsuchdreams,oneiroi,
arethesubjectmatterofArtemidoros'tradeand,hemakesclear,ofmanycompetingtheoriesandpracticesofinterpretation,priortoandcontemporarywithhis.
Theinterpreterapproachesthedreamasacomplexwholelookingnotjustatoneortwoimages,butat"thesystematizedtotalityofthedreamimages"(4.28).10
Andthiswholeisregardedasakindofsymboliccodedlanguageinwhichthedreamer'ssoulspeakstoitselfaboutmattersofthegreatestimportance.Muchofthe
code,asIsaid,iscommonandculturalthatiswhyitispossibleforArtemidorostowriteageneralmanualofdreaminterpre

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tation.Butamostimportantpartofitispersonal,aswehaveseen.Togiveanotherexampleofthis,thistimefromaclearmemberoftheclassofoneiroi,adreamof
beatingone'smother,whichwouldusuallyhavebeenillomened,isauspiciousforaparticularpotter,whocameintoaprofitafterwardstheinterpretationbeingthat
hebeatclay(motherearth)foraliving,andthatthedreamusedacodedpersonallanguagetopointtotheprofitableexerciseofhisprofession(4.2).Theartofthe
interpreterconsistsinunravelingsuchcomplexcodes.
Ifonenowasksabouttheplaceofthesexualinallthis,threedramaticdifferencesbetweentheFreudiantheoryandtheancienttheorywillimmediatelyemerge.The
firstandclearestdifferenceisthatforArtemidorosalldreams,sexualdreamsincluded,signifyfuturecontingentevents,usuallyeventsofthenearfuture,whereasfor
Freudiananalysistheirsignificanceisusuallytobereadintermsoftheremotepast,whichisseenashavingdecisivelyformedthepersonality.Thisisaprofound
differencebutoneshouldnot,Ithink,overemphasizeit,takingittoimplythattheArtemidorantheoryismagicalandofnopsychologicalinterest.ForArtemidorosas
forFreud(asFreudhimselfsaw)dreamsarewaysthesoulhasoftalkingtoitselfaboutdeepandimportantthings,usuallybyspeakinginacondensedanddisplaced
associativelanguage.IfArtemidorosbelievesthesoulcanhaveaccesstothenearfuture,hisdreamcontentsstillreveal,nolessthanFreud's,patternsofsignificance
withinthedreamer,andconnectionssodeepthattheyarenotalwaysunderstoodbythedreamer,perhapsbecausetheylietoodeeptobeconfrontedinwakinglife
withoutanxiety.Oneiroi,Artemidorosinsists,"aretheworkofthesoulanddonotcomefromanythingoutside"(4.59).Inthecaseofboththeorists,then,dream
interpretationisthedecodingofpeople'scrypticandhiddenmessagestothemselves.
Second,againaratherobviouspoint,oneisstruck,instudyingthesectionsondreamsofthesexual,bythecompleteabsenceofanybeliefininfantile,oreven
childhood,sexuality.InBookI,Artemidorosarrangesthedreamcontentsaccordingtothetimeoflifedepictedinthecontent,frombirthtodeath.Dreamsof
intercoursecomerightinthemiddle,afterdreamsconnectedwithbeinganephebe,goingtothegymnasium,winningathleticcontests,andgoingtothebathsinother
words,asphenomenaconnectedwithadultmidlife.11Artemidorosisnotaloneinthis,clearly.Inallthecompetingancientphilosophicaltheoriesaboutthenatural
andfirstdesiresoftheinfant,sexualdesireisnotadvanced

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asacandidatebyanyone.12Epicureansascribetotheinfantabasicdesireforfreedomfrompainanddisturbance.Stoicsdefend,instead,thedesireforself
preservation.Aristoteliansback,inadditionorinstead,adesireforcognitivemastery.SofarasIamaware,notheoristevenmentionssexinconnectionwiththe
infant,andIthinkancientreaderswouldhavefoundthisideaabsurd.(Longus'DaphnisandChloegivesonerepresentativeexampleofthefactthatsexualdesirewas
takentoawakenatpubertyforbothmalesandfemales,thereforeearlierforfemalesthanformales.)TheradicalandunconventionalnatureoftheFreudianviewis
easytooverlook,sincebynowtheviewsoinfusesourpopularculture.(OnedramaticreminderofitsradicalandsuddennaturecanbefoundinRousseau'sEmile,
thegreatestaccountofthedevelopmentofdesireandemotioninthechildinthecenturiesimmediatelybeforeFreud.Forthereitistakenforgrantedverymuchasin
theancientworldthatsexualdesirewillawakeninthemaleatagesixteen.Muchismadeofthisfactinaccountingforthe[late]genesisofotherregardingemotions
likepity,andtherelatedethicaldispositions.)
ThefactthatFreud'sideasonthissubjectarecompletelyabsentfromtheancientGreekworldisnotatrivialoneformyproject.Forifwearetomanagetoascribeto
Oedipusanyformationofsexualdesireinconnectionwithhisparentsseenassuch,wewillobviouslyhavetopushthisdesirebackintoveryearlyinfancy,beforehis
exposure.Whetherweareevenentitledtodothisis,ofcourse,unclear,sincetheplaydoesnottelluswhetherthisbabyeverlookedonitsmother'sface,orwasheld
inherarms.Jocastagavethebabytotheherdsmaninperson,somuchisclearbutpresumablyshedidsosoonafterthebirth,withoutnursingthechild,andwehave
noreasoneventosupposethatshewouldhaveheldthebabyherself.CertainlytheplaygivesusnoreasontosupposethebabyeverseteyesonLaios,eveninthe
mostearlyandattenuatedsense,afactwhichtheremotenessofancientGreekfatherhood(especiallyupperclassfatherhood)wouldinanycaserendermostunlikely.
Evenifitismarginallypossiblethatthisinfanthadsomevestigialawarenessofitsparents,thecompletesilenceoftheplayaboutsuchmattersalthoughnursingand
holdingmightveryeasilyhavebeenmentionedtogetherwithitsemphasisonthefactthatOedipus'onlyrealnursewasCithairon,shouldmakeuswaryofreading
intothetextanyinterestininfantilepatternsofdesire.TheculturalevidencethatsuchdesirewasnotrecognizedbytheGreeksingeneralshouldmakeusfarmore
warystill.

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ButthemoststrikingaspectofArtemidoros'viewaboutsexualdreaming,forthepostFreudianreader,isthetypeofsignificanceheattachestothesexualinthe
interpretationofthesoul'sdeliverances.ThepostFreudianinterpreterisinclinedtoseekforasexualmeaningbeneathapparentlynonsexualdreamcontents.The
deepestpointatwhichonecanarrive,inunravelingthemind'ssymboliclanguage,isapointatwhichonearrivesatsomesexualwish.Artemidorosmoves,onthe
whole,injusttheoppositedirection.Forhim,evendreamsthathaveanovertlysexualcontentare,likeallotherdreams,readoffashavingasignificancefortherise
andfallofthedreamer'sfortunes,hisorhercommandorlackofcommandoverimportantitemssuchasmoney,status,friendships,andtheotherimportantthingsin
life.13Infact,ifonereadsthetextinconnectionwiththehistoryofphilosophicalethics,onenoticesastrikingcoincidencebetweenthelistofimportantsignifiedsto
whichArtemidoros'accountrecursagainandagain,andthelistsof"externalgoods"or"goodsoffortune"thatfigureinAristotelianandotheraccountsofeudaimonia
(seeNussbaum1986a,chs.1112).Theitemsinquestioninclude:wealth,health,reputationandstatus,familyandchildren,friendships,politicalrolesinshort,all
thethingsgenerallythoughtpertinenttoeudaimonia(whetherasinstrumentalmeansorasconstituentparts)14thatarenotsecurelyandstablypossessedor
controlled.TheirimportanceinlifeisthereforeasourceofmuchanxietytomostordinaryGreeks,ananxietythatmotivatesavarietyofreconstructivephilosophical
projectsaimedatgreaterselfsufficiency.15Dreams,forArtemidoros,andsexualdreamsamongthem,signifythedreamer's(future)commandorlackofcommand
overthesesignificantexternalgoods.
Sexcansometimesfigureontheothersideofaninterpretation,assomethingsignifiedbyadreamcontent.Forsexfiguresinvariouswaysamongtheexternalgoods,
beinganelementinmarriage,anecessaryconditionforchildbearing,anaspectofone'sstatusandselfassertionasacitizen,16and(inthecaseofunlawfulsexual
activity)thesourceofadiminutionofstatusorcitizenship.Butitisinthisconnectionwithexternalgoodsthatdreamsareread,ontherelativelyrareoccasionswhen
theyare,asbeingaboutsex.Muchmorefrequently,onediscoversanapparentlysexualdreambeingreadas"really"aboutexternalgoodssuchasstandingand
reputation(seealsoWinkler1990,3435).
Acorollaryofthisemphasisonexternalgoodsandthedreamer's

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positionintheworldisthattheinterpretermustcarefullyscrutinizethespecificdetailsoftheapparentlysexualdream,takingnoteofthetypeofsexualactivity
performed,andaboveallofthepositionsoftheactors.Fortheverysameactivitythatmightbeauspiciousifoneisoneselfpenetratinganotherwillbeextremely
inauspiciousifoneisonthereceivingend.Thereisnoclearerexampleofthisandofmygeneralpointaboutthenonsexualsignificanceofthesexualthanin
Artemidoros'matteroffactdiscussionofdreamsofbestiality.Whatevertheanimalspeciesinquestionis,saysArtemidoros,ifonedreamsthatoneismountingthe
animal,thenone"willreceiveabenefitfromananimalofthatparticularspecies,whateveritis."Butifonedreamsthatoneisbeingmountedbyananimal,one"will
havesomeviolentandawfulexperience.Many,afterthesedreams,havedied"(1.80).
Theclaimthatsexualdreamsare"really"aboutcommandoverexternalgoodscanbeillustratedfromanynumberofpassagesinArtemidoros'accountandnotleast
fromitsoverallconstruction.Forsexualdreamsoccupyonlyabriefthreechapters,slippedinbetweendreamsofbeinggivenacrownanddreamsofbeingasleep.But
forourcomparativepurposesitwillbeusefultofocusontwoportionsofArtemidoros'analysis:theaccountofthemanifoldsignificanceofthepenis,andtheaccount
(withinthethreechaptersectiononintercourse)ofdreamsofincestwiththemother.Artemidorosdiscussesthepenisasasignifyingdreamcontentinthecourseof
discussing,eachinturn,thepartsofthebody.Itisimportanttonotethatitisnotmoresignificantthanmanyotherparts.Itisanalyzedaftertheliverandbeforethe
testicles(whicharesaidtosignifyprettymuchthesamethingasthepenis).Althoughittakesupafairamountofspaceinthediscussion(27linesoftext,slightlymore
thanthe18allottedtothechest,the20tothelegs,andthe25tohands,justunderthe28giventofeetandthe29tothetongue,butfarlessthanthe79allottedtohair
andbaldness,the84toteethandthelossofteeth)itisnot,asthesenumbersshow,singledoutashavinganyveryspecialsignificance,orasacentralfocusof
anxiety.Thepoignantanxietiessurroundingbaldnessandthelossofteethseemclearlytobefarmorepressingitemsinthesoul'sinternaldiscourse.17Infact,the
penistakesupasmuchspaceasitdoesonlybecausetherearesomanyslangtermsforit,givingrisetoavarietyofverbalassociations.Hereis

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Artemidoros'reportontheassociationsconnectedwiththepenisingeneral,whicharetobeofusetotheinterpreterinapproachingconcretecases:
Thepenisislikeaman'sparentssinceitcontainsthegenerativecode(spermatikoslogos),butalsolikehischildrensinceitistheircause.Itislikehiswifeandgirlfriendsinceitis
usefulforsex.Itislikehisbrothersandallbloodrelationssincethemeaningoftheentirehouseholddependsonthepenis.Itsignifiesstrengthandthebody'smanhood,sinceit
actuallycausesthese:forthisreasonsomepeoplecallittheir"manhood"(andreia).Itresemblesreasonandeducationsince,likereason(logos),itisthemostgenerativethingof
all....Itfurthersuggestssurplusandpossessionsinceitsometimesopensoutandsometimesisrelaxedanditcanproduceandeject.Itislikehiddenplanssincebothplansand
thepenisarecalledmdeaanditisanalogoustopoverty,slavery,andimprisonmentsinceitiscalled"necessity"andisasymbolofconstraint.Itisliketherespectofbeingheld
inhonor,sinceitiscalled"reverence''(aids)and"respect."(1.45,seeWinkler1990,42)

Theselectionofwhichassociationtofollowupwilldepend,hereaselsewhere,onthetotalityofthedreamcontentandontheroleoftheseassociationsinthe
dreamer'sparticularhistory.ButthiscatalogueshouldsufficetoshowthatGreekbeliefsdonotunderstandthepenisassignifyingitselfatleast,notveryoften.More
often,itspresenceinadreampointselsewhere,tothenetworkofexternalandpublicrelationsthatconstitutethefocusofamalecitizen'sanxieties.Freudexpressed
theviewthattheexcessivepreoccupationwithmoneyandsuccessthatheencounteredinAmericashowedthatAmericanswereoverlygiventosublimation,and
indeedhadbecome,asaresult,sexualnonentities.18WhatisforhimsublimationisforanancientGreekthecoreanddeepestpointofdesireandanxiety.
Theaccountofmothersonincestoccursaspartoftheanalysisofdreamsofsexualintercourse,whichitselffallsintothreesections:dreamsaboutintercourse
"accordingtoconvention,"aboutintercourse"contrarytoconvention,"andaboutintercourse"contrarytonature"(seeWinkler1990,3341).Inthefirstcategoryare
dreamsofallkindsofnonincestuousandnonoralintercourse,bothactiveandpassive,withpartnersofeithergender(theoneexceptionbeing"awomanpenetratinga
woman,"which,asweshallsee,fallsinthethirdcategory).Althoughthegoodnessorbadnessoftheeventspredictedbythedreamisoftenconnectedwiththe
generallyapprovedornonapprovednatureofitscontentthusthedreamofpenetratingsomeoneisusually,thoughnotalways,moreauspiciousthanthedreamof
beingpenetratedthewhole

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groupiscalled"accordingtoconvention,"regardlessofthegendersandpositionsoftheactors."Againstconvention"aretwosortsofdreamcontents:dreamsof
incest,anddreamsoforalsex.''Againstnature"arecontentsthatsimplyseemtoArtemidorostooweirdtohaveanyordinarysocialsignificationatall,thingsthatare
justofftheordinarymaphavingsexwithagod,havingsexwithananimal,havingsexwithoneself(thisnotinthesenseofmasturbation,butinthesenseofself
penetrationandselffellatio)and,finally,"awomanpenetratingawoman."19Itisimportanttonotethatthedreamofsomething"againstnature"neednotbeill
omenedeverythingdependsonthefurtheranalysisofthecontent,theposturesoftheactors,etc.(Thus,aswehaveseen,itcanbeverygoodtodreamofmounting
ananimal.)
Artemidoros'accountofmothersonincestislongerthananyotherdiscussionintheincestsectiononaccountofthefact,hesays,that"theanalysisofthemotheris
intricateandelaborate,andsusceptibleofmanydiscriminations.Ithaseludedmanydreamanalysts"(1.79).HereisthemainpartofArtemidoros'accountthe
ancientanalogue,ordisanalogue,ofFreud'soedipalwishing:
Theintercourseinitselfisnotsufficienttoshowtheintendedsignificanceofthedream,buttheposturesandpositionsofthebodies,beingdifferent,maketheoutcomedifferent.
Firstweshouldspeakoffrontalpenetrationwithalivingmotherforitalsomakesadifferenceinthemeaningwhethersheisaliveordead(inthedream).Soifonepenetrateshis
ownmotherfrontallywhichsomesayisaccordingtonatureandsheisalive,ifhisfatherisingoodhealth,hewillhaveafallingoutwithhim,becauseoftheelementof
jealousywhichwouldoccurnomatterwhowasinvolved.Ifhisfatherhappenstobesick,hewilldie,forthemanwhohasthedreamwillassumeauthorityoverhismotherasboth
sonandhusband.Itisagooddreamforallcraftsmenandlaborers,foritisusualtorefertoone'scraftas"mother,"andwhatelsecouldsexualintimacywithone'scraftsignify
excepthavingnoleisureandbeingproductivefromit?Itisgoodtooforallofficeholdersandpoliticians,forthemothersignifiesthefatherland.Sojustashewhohassex
accordingtotheconventionsofAphroditecontrolstheentirebodyofthewomanwhoisobedientandwilling,sotoothedreamerwillhaveauthorityoverallthebusinessofthe
city.
Andhewhoisonbadtermswithhismotherwillresumefriendlyrelationswithher,becauseoftheintercourse,foritiscalled"friendship"(philots).Andoftenthisdreamhas
broughttogethertothesameplacethosewhoweredwellingapartandhasmadethembetogether(suneinai).Thereforeitbringsthetravelertoobacktohisnativeland,provided
hismotherhappenstobelivinginthefatherlandotherwise,whereverthemotherisliving,thatiswherethedreamistellingthetravelertoproceed.

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Andifapoormanwholackstheessentialshasarichmotherhewillreceivewhathewantsfromher,orelsehewillinherititfromherwhenshediesnotlongafter,andthushewill
takepleasureinhismother.Manytoohaveundertakentocareandprovidefortheirmothers,whointurntakepleasureintheirsons.
Thedreamsetsrightthesickman,signifyingthathewillreturntothenaturalstate,forthecommonmotherofallisnature,andwesaythathealthypeopleareinanaturalstateand
sickpeoplearenot.ApollodorosofTelmessos,alearnedman,alsoremarksonthis.Thesignificanceisnotthesameforsickpeopleifthemother(inthedream)isdead,forthe
dreamerwilldieveryshortly.Fortheconstitutionofthedreamwomandissolvesintothematterofwhichitiscomposedandconstitutedandmostofitbeingearthlikerevertsto
itspropermaterial.And"mother"isnolessanamefortheearth.Whatelsecouldhavingsexwithadeadmothersignifyforthesickmanbuthavingsexwiththeearth?
Foronewhoisinvolvedinasuitoverlandorwhowantstobuysomelandorwhodesirestofarm,itisgoodtohavesexwithadeadmother.Somesaythatitisbadforthefarmer
alone,sayingthathewillscatterhisseedsondeadland,thatis,hewillhavenoyield.Butinmyopinionthisisnotatallcorrect,unlesshoweveronerepentsoftheintercourseor
feelsupset.
Further,hewhoisinadisputeoverhismother'spropertywillwinhiscaseafterthisdream,rejoicingnotinhismother'sbodybutinherproperty.
Ifoneseesthisdreaminone'snativecountryhewillleavethecountry,foritisnotpossibleaftersogreatanerror(hamartma)toremainatthematernalhearths.Ifheisupsetor
repentstheintercoursehewillbeexiledfromthefatherland,otherwisehewillleavevoluntarily.
Topenetrateone'smotherfromtherearisnotgood.Foreitherthemotherherselfwillturnherbackonthedreamerorhisfatherlandorhiscraftorwhatevermightbehisimmediate
business.Itisalsobadifbotharestandinguprightduringintercourse,forpeopleadoptsuchaposturethroughlackofabedorblankets.Thereforeitsignifiespressuresand
desperatestraits.Tohavesexwithone'smotheronherkneesisbad:itsignifiesagreatlackbecauseofthemother'simmobility.
Ifthemotherisontopand"ridingcavalry,"somesaythismeansdeathforthedreamer,sincethemotherislikeearth,earthbeingthenurturerandprogenetrixofall,anditlieson
topofcorpsesandnotontopoftheliving.ButIhaveobservedthatsickmenwhohavethisdreamalwaysdie,butthehealthymenliveouttheremainderoftheirlivesingreat
easeandjustastheychooseacorrectandlogicaloutcome,forintheotherpositionsthehardworkandheavybreathingareforthemostpartthemale'sshareandthefemalerole
isrelativelyeffortlessbutinthispostureitisjusttheoppositethemantakespleasurewithoutlaboring.Butitalsoallowshimwhoisnotinthelighttobehiddenfromhis
neighbors,becausemostofthetelltaleheavybreathingisabsent.(1.79)

Therefollowsabriefdigressiononthenaturalnessofthefrontalpositionandthen,inatransitiontothefollowingsectiononoralsex,Artemidoros

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analyzesthedreamoforalsexwithone'smother.Tothatdreamweshallturnlaterfirst,however,somecommentsonthematerialjustcited.
ThestrikinglynonFreudiannatureoftheanalysisisevidentbutafewconcreteobservationswillhelptopinitdown.First,thereisnothingspecialaboutmotherson
incestinArtemidoros'accountofthesoul'sinnerlanguage.Itisjustonemoresignifier,anditisnotsingledoutasplayinganespeciallyfundamentalrole.Itisranked
alongwithothercasesofincest,andallincestalongwithoralsexand,aswehavealreadysaid,theentireaccountofsexualdreamingisaverybriefportionofthe
longeranalysis.
Second,thedreamofmothersonincest,likeothersexualdreams,issignificant,notintermsofunderlyingsexualwishes,butintermsofthingslikegettingcontrolover
anestate,havingauthorityinthecity,gettingonwellwithone'sfamilyandfriends,gettingorlosingone'shealth,andsoforth.Themother'sbodyfrequentlysignifies
countryorproperty.Evenwhen,intheopeningparagraph,adisputewithone'sfatherismentionedasonepossiblesignificanceofsuchadream,itismadejustone
possibilityamongmany,andisnotbasictowhatfollowsinanysense.Furthermore,thefather'sjealousyisjustordinarysexualjealousy,"theelementofjealousywhich
wouldoccurnomatterwhowasinvolved."Thedreamsignifiesaruptureinone'sfortunes,sincegoodrelationswithone'sfamilyareconventionallytakentobea
centralpartofone'sfortunes.Butneitheritsspecificallysexualsignificancenortheidentityofthepartiesisdweltupon.Andwemusttakenoteofthefactthatvery
manyofthedreamsinthissectionareauspiciousagainimpossibleiftheywerereadasineverycasedenotingahostilewish.
Third,thesignificanceofthesedreamsistobeunderstoodnotbyfocusingexclusivelyonthefactofincesttowhich,ofcourse,theFreudianaccountsinglemindedly
directsusbutratherintermsofthespecificsexualpositionsandactivitiesemployed.Artemidorosisveryinsistentaboutthis.Thus,topenetrateone'smotherfrom
thefrontisusuallygood,topenetrateherfrombehindusuallybad.Standingintercourse,incharacteristicfashion,isimmediatelytakentohaveaneconomic
significance,intermsofthelackofbedclothesandfurniture.ThepositionwiththemotherontopinArtemidoros'novelinterpretation,ofwhoseclevernessheis
evidentlyproudisauspicious(forahealthyman)becauseitisassociatedwitheaseandanabsenceofheavybreathing.

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Fourthandfinally,thereisnottheslightesthintherethatthedreamshouldbeconnectedtoanydeepandextendednarrativepatternofsexualwishinggoingfarback
intoone'schildhoodandrepressedinadulthood.Suchdreamsarereadmatteroffactly,likeothers,intermsofthedreamer'scurrentprofession,fortune,andsoforth
themother'ssignificanceinthedreamfrequentlycomesfromhiscurrentprofessionalactivities.Andfarfromexpressingdisturbingrepressedsexualmaterial,the
dream'ssexualcontentisnottakentobeespeciallydisturbing.Considerthecaseofthefarmer,whosedreamofincestwiththecorpseofhismotherisauspicious,
"unlessonerepentsoftheintercourseorfeelsupset"apparentlynottheusualcase!Wemightaddthattherangeandvarietyofdreamsofthistypethatwere
reportedtoArtemidorosmayitselfgiveevidenceofanabsenceofrepressionofsuchideasinGreekculture.Formanycontemporarypeoplewhoreadthissection,
whatseemsoddestisthatallthesedreamsshouldhaveoccurredatall,inthisundisguisedform.TotheGreeksitseems,apparently,perfectlynormalandnatural,just
asnaturalasthefactthatone'sespeciallydeepanxietiesaboutmoney,health,andcitizenshipshouldassume,inadream,adisguisedform.Inshort,ifanythingis,here,
sodisturbingthatitinvitesrepression,itisthesoul'sanxietyaboutexternalgoods.20
Nowwemustturntoonefurtherdreaminthesequence,"themostawful(deinotaton)dreamofall,"saysourauthor.Forthisdreammightseeminitiallytocastdoubt
onsomeofourclaimsalthoughmorecloselyinspected,Ibelieve,itsupportsthem.Thisdream,asIhavesaid,formsthetransitionbetweenthesectiononincest
dreamsandthesectionondreamsoforalsex.Itsanalysisgoesasfollows:
Themostawfuldreamofall,Ihaveobserved,istobefellatedbyone'smother.Foritsignifiesthedeathofchildrenandlossofpropertyandseriousillnessforthedreamer.Iknow
someonewhohadthisdreamandlosthispenisitmakessensethatheshouldbepunishedinthepartofhisbodywhicherred.(1.79)

AFreudianinterpretermightsupposethatArtemidoroshereatlastbetraystheFreudiannatureofhis,andhispatients'concerns.Forthe"mostawfuldream,"afterall,
isadreamofintercoursewiththemother.Andhavingthedreamislinkedtotheideaofameritedsexualpunishmentforatransgressionthatis,apparently,specifically
sexual.Sexualerrorsignifiesasexualloss.Don'twehavehere,afterall,theproofthatthedeepestandmostfearfulthingsintheancientunconsciousare,afterall,

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sexualthings,andthatarepressedthoughtofincestis,afterall,connectedinthisculturewithafearofthelossofvirility?
Thingsarenotsosimple.Firstofall,thereisanobviousandstrikingdeparturefromFreudianconcernsinthefactthatthedreamisterriblenotonaccountofits
incestuouscontentmanyincestdreams,werecall,areauspiciousbutonaccountofthemodeofcopulation.Here,aselsewhereinthediscussion,Artemidoros
expresseshisculture'sviewthattoperformoralsexisuncleanandbasetobemadetoperformitonsomeoneelseisahumiliation.Thediscussionthatensuesmakes
itplainthattheuncleannessoftheperformer'smouthisthoughttomakeitimpossibletosharekissesorfoodwiththispersonanymore.(Ingeneral,anydreamoforal
sexwithaknownpersonsignifiesaseparationfromthatperson.)Thusthedreamofthefellatingmotherisunderstoodasadreamofthehumiliationofthemotherby
theson,ahumiliationthatisboundtodestroythehousehold.Itisforthisreason,andnotonaccountofitsspecificallyincestuouscontent,thatitissoinauspicious.And
theson'serror,forwhichheispunished,isnottoengageinintercoursewithhismotheritistocausehismothertoperformanuncleanactafterwhichthehousehold
canneverbethesame.Wellmightsuchadreamsignify"thedeathofchildrenandlossofpropertyandseriousillness."
Second,whatthedreamdoesinfactsignifyis,aswejustsaid,"thedeathofchildrenandlossofpropertyandseriousillness."Themanwholoseshispenisisjustone
caseof"seriousillness,"acasepickedoutbyArtemidorosbecauseofitsironicallyappositenature.But,aselsewhere,the''real"significanceofthedreamisinthe
dreamer'srelationto"externalgoods."Andthepunishmentofthedreameristheloss,notonlyofabodilypart,butofthechancetohave,inthefuture,afamilyofhis
own.Becausehedidsomethingdestructiveandantifamily,helosesthechancetohaveafamily,andtoenjoythepositionofstatusandcontrolsignifiedbythepenis.
Inshort:thedreamofincestis,atbottom,acode,throughwhichthesoulspeakstoitselfaboutwhatitmostdeeplyhopesandfears.Notsex,butcontrolover
externalgoods,arethecontentofthosemostbasichopesandfears.
EpicurusandLucretius:
UnconsciousFearsandWakingActions
WithEpicuruswereturntothefourththirdcenturiesB.C.E.althoughmostofthematerialIshalldiscussisactuallypreservedonlyinLucretius'

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DererumnaturaofthefirstcenturyB.C.E.ItisnotclearwhichelementsinLucretius'accountofunconsciousfearcanbetracedbacktothethoughtofEpicurus,but
fornowIshallproceedasifthereisasinglecoherentsharedviewhere.21Itwillbecomeevident,Ithink,that,whateverthedateofthisview'sorigin,itreflectsmany
oftheculturalpreoccupationsthatstillanimateArtemidoros'accountsomewhatlateranditseemspossibletotreatitasasourcehowevertheoreticallydistinctive
formanysimilarpointsaboutwhatthemindrepressesandhowitspeakstoitself.
TheEpicureanviewoftheunconsciousdiffersfromArtemidoros'viewintwocrucialways.First,itabjuresthepopularconnectionbetweenthelifeofthesleepingor
otherwiseunconsciousmindandfutureevents.Dreamsandothervoicesinthebreasthavesignificanceastherecordofhabitsandpractices,asthesignsofabodily
condition,orastherehearsalofpervasiveanxieties.Thesecategoriesareconnectedinthatthepervasiveanxietiesofthesoulfrequentlyrecordthehabitsofareligious
society.Anxietiesarenotinnate,butlearned,andhabitsofdiscourseandthoughtformpatternsoffearandlonging.Thisfocusonthepresentandthepastofthesoul
mightseemtomakeEpicurus'viewincomparablewiththatofArtemidorosforhemightseemtobedenyingtheexistenceofwhatArtemidoroscallsoneiroi,and
givingusanaccountmerelyofenhupniaandrelatedphenomena,allofwhichArtemidorosfoundratheruninteresting.Butacloserlookshows,Ithink,thatthingsare
notthissimple.ForEpicurus'theory,likeArtemidoros',concernsitselfwithasecretlanguageofthesoul,acomplexinternalizedsymbolisminwhichthemind
discoursestoitselfaboutwhatprofoundlymatterstoit.Epicurus,likeArtemidoros,isnotconcernedmerelywithtransientstatesoflittledepth.And,likeArtemidoros,
heisinterestedinthatwhichisstillatworkpowerfullywithinso,onceagain,heisnotfocusing,anymorethanArtemidoros,onobviousrepetitionsoftheday's
activitiesandwishes.
Thefirstmajordifference,then,islessmajorthanitatfirstappears.Thesecondismoresubstantial.ThisisthatEpicurususeshisaccountofunconsciouswishingand
fearingtoexplainbehaviorinwakinglife.TheEpicureanunconsciousisactiveinsleep,butnotinsleepalone.Aspeoplelivetheirdailylives,thetheoryclaims,they
areinfluencedinavarietyofwaysbywishesofwhichtheyarenotaware.Thesewishescanbebroughttolightbyphilosophicalexaminationandwhentheyare,they

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willturnouttohavebroadexplanatorysignificance.Thisextensionoftheunconscious'explanatoryrole,togetherwiththecomplexEpicureanaccountofhowsuch
desiresareproperlyunearthedandconfronted,givesEpicurusaclaimtobecalledtheprimaryancientforerunnerofmodernpsychoanalysis.Buthisaccount,aswe
shallsee,ismostunpsychoanalyticinitsconcretecontent.22
AccordingtoEpicurus,then,themindspeakstoitselfaboutwhatitmostdeeplywantsandfears.Anditsdeepestwantsandfearsconcernitsownfinitude.The
longingforimmortalityandthefearofdeathareattheheartofitsdiscoursetoitself(Nussbaum1990d).Thisfearorlongingis,asweshallshortlysee,inthefirstplace
aresponsetothehumanchild'sperceptionofitselfaspowerlessinasituationofgreatdanger,asitemergesnaked,hungry,needy,intotheworld.Astheinfant
becomesincreasinglyaware,ontheonehand,ofitsgreatweakness,and,ontheotherhand,ofthedelightofliving,itdevelops,progressively,adesiretosecureitself
inlifebyprotectingitsfragileboundaries.Thisideaispursuedthroughvariousstratagemsofaggressionandselffortification,describedbyLucretiusinconvincing
detail.Moneymaking,forexample,isanattempttofortifyoneselfagainstdeath,sincepovertyfeelslikeaconditionveryvulnerabletodeath(Nussbaum1990d).
Warlikeaggressionis,onceagain,anattempttomakeoneselfinvulnerable(Nussbaum1990d,1990b).Thepursuitofhonorandfameisapursuitofone'sown
deathlessness,throughsecuringpoweroverone'ssociety(Nussbaum1990b).Andfinally,eroticloveis,amongitsotherfeatures,astratagemtosolidifyandsecure
oneself,byachievingafusionwithapersonwhoisseenasanembodieddivinity(Nussbaum1989,1990b).Allofthesestratagemsarenourishedbyreligiouscult,
whichholdsouttheideaofanafterlife,furtherfeedingbothdesireandfear.Butintheirbasicform,suchanxietiesseemtobelongtotheconditionofhumanlifeitself.
Lucretiusmakesitclearthatmostofthetimepeopleareunawareofthefearsthataremotivatingtheirbehavior.The"truevoices"areburied"deepinthebreast,"
beneatha"mask''ofconfidence(Nussbaum1990d).Theysaythattheydonotfeardeathandyettheirbehaviorbetraysthem."Thuseachpersonflees
himself"(LucretiusIII.1068)andisaware,atmost,ofasensationofgreatweightintheregionofthebreast.Inmomentsofabruptconfrontationwiththefactsof
one'scondition,however,rationalizationbecomesnolongerpossible,andthetruevoicesemerge.Itisthispossibilityofaconfrontationwhichbringsconfirmation

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ofthefearfromthepatientherselfthatgivesthehypothesisofunconsciousfearotherwisesupportedprimarilythroughthelinkingofbehaviorpatternssuch
convictionandpower(Nussbaum1990d).
AcentraltaskoftheEpicureanphilosophicalcommunityistodiagnoseandthentocuresuchanxieties,andthe"boundless"longingthatislinkedwiththem.Thereis
evidencethatthecommunityencouragedpupilstodivulgetheirhiddenthoughtsandfeelingstotheteacher,inordertoreceivehisphilosophicalcriticismandtherapy
(Nussbaum1986b,and1994,ch.4).Theimportanceofthissortof"frankspeech"isrepeatedlystressedasanessentialtooloftherapyandone'sfriendsparticipate
intheprocess,helpingtheteachertoknowasmuchaspossibleaboutthestructureofthepupil'sillness.WeknowlittleabouthowtheEpicureanteacherwentabout
bringingrepressedunconsciousfearstothesurfacebutthemanyanalogiesbetweenphilosophicalteachingandmedicaldiagnosisshowthattheywerewellawareof
thisasaproblemandinvestigatedtheresourcesofpersonalnarrativewiththisinmind(Nussbaum1986b,1994,ch.4).Meanwhile,theschoolplacedgreatemphasis
onmemorizationandrepetition,inordertodrivethehealthfulteachingsofEpicurusdeepdownintothesoul,toalevelatwhichtheymayeven,asLucretiusreports,fill
one'sdreams(Nussbaum1986b,1989).Memoryandrepetitionarethestudents'waysoftakingEpicurusintoherunconscious,sothathisteachingwill"become
powerful"(LettertoHerodotus85)inherinnerworld,andcanhelpherinherconfrontationwitherror,evenwhensheisnotconsciouslyfocusingontheproblem.
LikeMenoeceus,she"willneverbedisturbedeitherawakeorasleep''(LettertoMenoeceus132)forthewiseperson,andthatpersonalone,"willbethesame
whenasleep"(DiogenesLaertiusX120),undisturbedbyanyfloodofpentupanxieties,suchasthosethatoccurinmostpeople'slives.Memorymakesphilosophical
discourseactiveandeffectiveinthepupil'ssoul.
Itshouldbynowbeapparentthat,despitethedifferencesintemporalorientationandnormativestructure,theEpicureanviewhasmuchincommonwiththepopular
beliefssummarizedbyArtemidoros.Thisshouldbenosurprise,sinceEpicurus'therapeutictargetisjustsuchpopularbeliefs,andtheirdeleteriouseffectonthemental
life.WhatArtemidorostakesforgrantedandmakesthesubjectofhistrade,Epicuruswishestocurebyphilosophicaltherapy.Butthecontentisverymuchthesame.
Inbothcases,thehumanmindisseenasstructured

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aroundaverygeneralsetofanxietiesaboutone'slimitedcontroloverone'sworldlyposition.Theseanxietiesareseenastosomeextentveryhardtoavoidforeven
Lucretiusstressesthateverylivingthinglongsforthecontinuationofitslife,andconsequentlyshrinksfromdeath(Nussbaum1990d).Buttheyarepowerfullyfedby
culturalteachinginwhichgreatimportanceisattachedto"externalgoods"thatthepupildoesnotcontrol.Themindobsessivelybroodsaboutcommandoverthese
goodsanditcooksupelaboratesymbolstomeditateaboutitsfuturewithrespecttothem(inthecaseofArtemidoros),oritspresentemotionalstatesthatrelateit
towardanuncertainfuture(inthecaseofEpicurus).ForEpicurus,themindgoesstillfurther,movingtheagenttoundertakeprojectsofselffortificationinwakinglife,
projectsofwhoserealsignificancetheagentisunaware,andwhichwillnotreallyachievethedeepgoalforwhichtheagentpursuesthem.
ForEpicureans,asforArtemidoros,sexisjustoneelementinthispursuitofcontrol.Epicurushaslittletosayaboutsexinthesurvivingtextsbutheclearlydoesnot
thinkofitasaverydeeporcentralforceinhumanlife.Thedesireforsexualgratificationisclassifiedasadesirethatis"naturalbutnonnecessary":i.e.,onethatisnot
merelytheproductoffalsesocialteaching,butonewhosegratificationisinessentialtothegoodhumanlife(Nussbaum1989).Inafamouslyoddpassage,heranks
sexualenjoymentsalongwithotherindulgencesinunnecessaryluxuryitems:
Thetrulypleasantlifeisnotproducedbyanunbrokensuccessionofdrinkingboutsandrevelsnotbytheenjoymentofboysandwomenandfishandtheotherthingsthata
luxurioustablepresents.Itisproducedbysoberreasoningthatseeksoutthecausesofallpursuitandavoidanceanddrivesoutthebeliefsthatareresponsibleforourgreatest
disturbances.(LettertoMenoeceus132,seeNussbaum1990c)

ThispassagepresentsEpicurus'view,notthepopularviewshecriticizes.Butstill,itisevidenceforhisbeliefthatinnopersondoessexualdesirego,sotospeak,to
theverycoreofthepersonality.Peoplemaythinksexualdesiretobedeeperthanitis,justastheyallegedlythinktheneedforfishandmeattobedeeperthanitis.
But,likeotherdesiresforluxuries,sexualdesireisthesortofdesirethatcaninfactbetherapeuticallyremoved,withoutinjuringthepersonalityintheprocess.Even
culture,whichranksittoohigh,doesnotmakeitsocentraltothepupil'slifethatshewillbeinjuredbygettingridofit.

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Thusevenfromthepointofviewoftheculturalmaterialthatisinternalizedandburiedintheaverageperson'sunconsciousmind,sexapparentlydoesnotplayacentral
role.Lucretius'famouscritiqueoferoticlovedoesshowindetailhowsociallylearnedconstructsofersinfluencebothwakingandsleepinglife.Buthedoesnot
seem,anymorethanEpicurus,tothinkofsexasofferingacluetotheessenceofthepersonality.Heshowsthattheconstructionofloveoutofnaturalbodilydesireis
justapeculiarchapterinthesoul'squestfortranscendenceofitsmortallimits.Forthewishoferoticdesire,asIhavesaid,istoachievefusionwithapartnerwhois
seenasagoddess(Nussbaum1989a,1990c).Thepoetshowsthatthiswishisthevehicleofamoregeneralwishtotranscendone'sownfinitemortalconditionits
onlyremedyistolearnto"yieldtohumanlife,"humanisconcedererebus(LucretiusV.1172).Eroticdesireisaformofthebasicdesiretotranscendone'slimitsand
insecurities,achievingcontrolandstability(Nussbaum1990b).
Lucretiusspeaksofthefamilyanditsdesires.But,onceagain,thetreatmentfocusesonsecurityratherthanonsexuality.Firstofall,therelationbetweenmotherand
childgetsnospecialtreatmentinthepoem.Bothparentsarebelievedtobeintenselyconcernedaboutthesurvivalandsafetyoftheiroffspringandthe"softening"that
comesaboutwhentheybeginthinkingofhowtoprotecttheirvulnerablechildrenisamajoringredient,thepoemshows,inthedevelopmentofmoralityandsociety
(Nussbaum1990b).Butwhenthelifeoftheinfantitselfisdescribed,itisnotthemother,butratherthenurseasonemightexpectinthissociety,atleastinthesocial
classeswhowouldbeLucretius'primaryreaderswhoplaysthecentralrole.Andinthisrelationshiptoo,theissueisneedandsecurity,notsexuality.Theinfant,
helplessandweepingfromthedisturbancesofbirth,
likeasailorcastforthfromthefiercewaves,liesnakedontheground,withoutspeech,inneedofeverysortoflifesustaininghelp,whenfirstnaturecastsitforthwithbirth
contractionsfromitsmother'swombintotheshoresoflight.Andiffillsthewholeplacewithmournfulweeping,asisrightforsomeonetowhomsuchtroublesremaininlife.
(5.22227)

The"gentlenurse"nowcalmsthechildwithrattlesandbabytalk,ministeringtoitslackofselfsufficiencyandthepoetbleaklyremarksthattherougher,better
equippedwildbeastshavenoneedofsuchsoothingamusements(22930).Thedramaofinfancyisadramaofvulnerabilityandprotection.Theinfant'sdesireisfor
freedomfrompainand

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disturbance.Theworlditencountersisaworldthatcontainscountlesssourcesofpainanddisturbance.Itscentralperceptionofitselfisthereforeasabeingveryweak
andveryhelpless.Anditsrelationtotheadultsarounditfocusesonitspassionatedesiretosecuretoitselfwhatnatureonthewholewithholds:comfort,clothing,food,
protection.
IbelievethattheEpicureanaccountofthepredicamentoftheinfant,andofthefruitsofthispredicamentinlateranxieties,providesacomprehensiveexplanatory
underpinningforthepopularbeliefsabout"externalgoods"thatArtemidorosrecords.23ItalsoprovideswhatArtemidoros,givenhispracticalprofessionalgoals,
doesnottrytoprovide,anaccountoftheearlyoriginsoflaterdeepanxieties.TheEpicureananalysisoftheanxietiesofmosthumanbeings,andoftheirrootsin
infancy,reallydoes,itappears,getatwhatpeoplewerereallymostdeeplyandoftenunconsciouslyworryingabout.Thisshouldnotsurpriseus,sinceEpicurusinsists
thattherapycannotproceedwithoutcorrectdiagnosisandEpicurus'greatnessasapsychoanalysthasbeenremarkedbefore.Butifweputthetheorytogetherwith
therichandconcreterecordofordinarybeliefinArtemidoros,wehaveatleastthebasicoutlinesofanonFreudiantheoryofinfancy,andoflaterunconscious
anxieties,fears,andhopes.Thistheoryfocusesonthehumanbeing'slackofnaturalsecurityandonitsconsequentlyurgentneedsforvariousexternalgoods.Relations
toparentsandothercloseadultsareunderstoodasmediatedbythisgeneralneed.Adultsareprovidersofwhatisneeded,bulwarksagainstdanger,sourcesof
support.24InanotherconnectionLucretiusremarksthatwhenprotectionfailsonaccountorsomeactornonactofanother,thenaturalconsequencewillbeangerand
aggressivebehavior.Althoughhedoesnotapplythisobservationtothecaseoftheinfant,itwouldnotbehardtodoso.25Thuswewouldalsohavethebasisfora
complexandinterestingaccountofaggressivewishestowardparentsandothercaretakers,whenpainanddisturbancearenotwardedoff.Butthisaggressionwould
havelittletodowithspecificallysexuallongingandjealousy,everythingtodowiththedesireforsecurityandcontrol.26Itwouldbeafascinatingtasktoworkout
furtherthedetailsofsuchatheory.27
OedipusandHisFortune
Butnowinstead,alltoobriefly,Iwanttomakesomesuggestionsaboutwaysinwhichthissetofconcernsmightilluminateourapproachtothe

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OedipusRex.Ihavespokenelsewhere(Nussbaum1986a,1992)ofthecentralroleoftragedyinprovidingGreekcitizenswithamapofhumanpossibilities,showing,
asAristotlesays,"thingssuchasmighthappen"(Poetics9)inahumanlife.Ihavealsosaidthattragediesfrequentlyseemtodothisbyexploringextremecases,
nightmares,sotospeakofthehumanattempttolivewellinaninsecureworld(Nussbaum1986a,ch.13).Iwouldnowliketosuggestthatwemightfruitfully
approachtheOedipusas,sotospeak,adreamissuingfromtheunconsciousofitscitizenwatchers,butanunconsciousoftheancient,ratherthantheFreudian,kind.
WhatImeanisthatifweaskourselveshowanancientaudiencemightactuallyseeintheplayakindofpossibilityforthemselves,connectingthemselvestothe
charactersthroughtheemotionsofpityandfear,which(asAristotlepersuasivelysays)require,bothofthem,thebeliefthatone'sownpossibilitiesarethesameas
thoseoftheprotagonistsifoneasksthisquestion,oneisboundtofocus,notontheliteraleventsoftheplay,butonwhatonemightcalltheirArtemidoran
symbolism.IntheworldwhosepreoccupationsIhavetriedtodepict,anaveragememberoftheaudienceisveryunlikelytobelieveitasalientpossibilityforhimself
thathewouldactuallydowhatOedipusdoeshere,killinghisfatherandmarryinghismother.Foronething,thenetofcircumstancesthatbroughtthisaboutin
Oedipus'lifeistoostrangeandcomplextobeverylikelytobereplicated.Butif,ontheotherhand,weseetheliteraleventsasrepresenting,asinanArtemidoran
dream,possibilitiesfortheriseandfallofhumanfortunes,wecanfarmoreeasilyseewhatacitizenwouldfindterrifyinghere.Ifsomeonewhoenjoystheextremeof
control,prosperity,andingeneralgoodfortunecanbesobroughtlowbyeventsandcircumstancesbeyondhiscontrol,thennohumanlifeseemssafefromthis
possibility.Formostlivesstartoutmorevulnerableandlessprosperousthanhiswas.Suchwas,infact,theunderstandingoftheplayputforwardastheobviousone
byaveryperceptiveancientcritic,namely,theStoicphilosopherEpictetus.Tragediesingeneral,hewrote,show"whathappenswhenchanceeventsbefallfools"by
"fools"meaninghumanbeingswhoattachvaluetoitemsbeyondtheircontrol(Nussbaum1992,1993).AndseeingthefallofOedipusshould,heargues,remindus
justhowuncontrolleditemslikepower,wealth,andfamilyconnectionsreallyare,givingusamotivationtoseverourconcernfromsuchthingsandtoadopttheaustere
valuesofStoicism.

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Ifoneturnstotheplaywiththeseideasinmind,oneisstruckbythefactthatwhile,ontheonehand,ersseemstobeabsentfromit,tuchisomnipresent.28
Oedipusisintroducedaskratiston,mostpowerful(40)andyetthecityitselfhasbeenafflictedbyforcesbeyonditscontrol,sothatthecitizenscanalreadybe
addressedas"pitiablechildren,"paidesoiktroi.Atline145,beginningonhisfatefulsearchforthecausesofthepollution,Oedipusannounces,"Weshalleither
emergefortunate(eutucheis),withthegod'shelp,orasfallen(peptkotes)."ImmediatelytheChorus,entering,beginstospeakofitsanxiousfearandtension
(151ff.).Andofcourse,fromthefirst,Oedipusispresenttotheaudience(throughhisnamealone)asacripple,someonecastoutnakedintotheworldandmaimed
byitsdangers,aLucretian,ratherthanaFreudian,infant.
Thedetailedworkingoutofthisreadingmustwaitforanothertime.Itsdirectionandoutlinesshouldalreadybeclear.ButIcanendthisadumbrationofsuchareading
bymentioningthat,whetherthefinallinesaregenuineornot,theysuitadmirablythefocusoftheplayasawhole,andofthisaccount:fortheyportrayOedipusas,on
theonehand,successfuland"mostpowerful,"ontheother,asonewho"cameintosuchagreattidalwaveofmisfortune."Andtheirfamousmoralisthemoralofso
muchoftheancientGreekethicaltradition,insofarasitdoesnotrejecttheimportancetraditionallyattachedtoexternalgoods:"Callnomortalprosperous...before
hepassestheendofhislifehavingsufferednothingterrible"(152930).
Whatrelationshipmightsuchareadingoftheplayand,ingeneral,suchanaccountofthestressesofinfancyandofunconsciousfears,longings,andaggressions
havetopsychoanalysis?Ihavespentmostofthischaptershowinghowmuchancient"psychoanalysis"forIthinkwemaycallitthatdivergesfromasingleminded
andpossiblyreductiveconcernwithsexualitythatwefindinsomepartsoftheFreudiantradition.Indeed,itseemstoshowtheFreudianemphasisonsexualityastime
bound,thelocalfeatureofasocietyunusuallyanxiousaboutthisparticularaspectofhumanlife,andthereforeinneedofrepressiononthattopic.
Butthereareotherpsychoanalyticapproachesthatseemfarmoreintunewiththeemphasesandconcernsofancientpsychology.29Iplaninfutureworktocompare
theideasIhavejustinvestigatedwithsomeofMelanieKlein'sideasaboutinfancyandthegenesisoffearandaggressionandwithotherrelatedworkintheobject
relationsschool.For

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whiletheKleiniantheoryisstillinsomerespectsFreudian,heraccountofinfancyendowsitwithcomplexrelationshipstoobjects,seenasprovidersorhinderersof
support.30Andusuallytheissueoftheinfant'sgreatneedinessanditsinevitablepainandfrustrationisstressedinherwritingsfarmorethanthatofsexualdesireper
se.Herinfant'srelationtothebreastthateitherfeedsorfailstofeeditcouldusefullybecompared,Ibelieve,totheLucretianaccountofthegenesisofaggressive
wishes,particularlyifweexpandhisaccountasIhavesuggested.AndsincetheKleinianpictureoftheinfant'slifeendowsit,earlyon,withthepossibilityofcomplex
emotionssuchasfear,anger,andenvy,onceagainthisseemstoinvitecomparisonwiththeEpicureanaccountofsimilarmaterial,andofitseventualrepression.Even
thoughKleindoespayhomagetoFreudconcerningtheprimacyofsexualdesire,itseemsplainthatmostofthetimeherconcerniswithabroadrangeofneedsand
longings,mostofthemconnectedaroundtheissueofselfsufficiencyandincompleteness.Pursuingthecomparisonwouldbeofinterest,ifonlyforcomparison'ssake.
Butmyrealinterestinitisadeeperone.ForIbelievethattheancientviewsIhavediscussedareprofoundandhighlyplausibleinawaythatgoesbeyondstrict
culturalboundariesandyet,equallyclearly,thattheyarecultureboundincertainways,andlack,insomeareas,arichnessofdevelopmentthatwouldberequiredif
theywereevertobecomepowerfulandplausibleforacontemporaryunderstanding.Itmightemerge,however,thattheconfrontationbetweentheseviewsandthe
modernviewsofthinkerssuchasKlein,Fairbairn,andWinnicott,andofbothwiththebestofrecentcognitivelyorientedworkinexperimentalpsychology,for
exampletheworkofLazarus(1991)andSeligman(1975),mightgenerateaphilosophicaltheoryofthehumanlongingforcontrolandselfsufficiencythatwould
preservethebestfeaturesofbothsources,andlinktheminanewaccountoffear,aggression,pity,andlove.31
Notes
1.ForanexcellentstudyofArtemidoros,towhichIshallreferfrequentlyinwhatfollows,seeWinkler(1990).
2.Itisclearthatboththedreamerandthedreamer'ssexualpartnermaybe

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eithermaleorfemale:inthiscaseasinmanyothers,thatdoesnotaffectthedream'ssignificance.Hereaselsewhere,theGreekusesbutasinglewordforwhatwe
distinguishasfellatioandcunnilingus:arrhtopoisai,"dotheunmentionable."TheoperativedistinctioninArtemidoros'accountisbetweenitsactiveandpassive
voices,asthedreamereitherperformssuchactivityorhasitperformeduponhim/her.
3.ThischapterwasoriginallywrittenforaconferenceonSophocles'playandmodernpsychoanalysisinthisversionIhavechosentoretainthefocusonthis
particulartragedyonaccountofthegreatinfluenceofFreud'sreading,althoughnumeroustextscouldhavedoneaswellformypurposes.
4.ItisparadigmaticofthetypeofactionAristotlecallsinvoluntaryoutofexcusableignoranceNicomacheanEthics,III.1.Idiscussthiscase,withotherreferences,
inNussbaum1986a,ch.9andinterlude2.SeealsoSophocles'OedipusatColonus,whereOedipusdescribeshisactsasinvoluntary:lines27074,521149,960
87,andcf.1565.
5.Ontheissueintragedy,seeNussbaum(1986a)andontheGermancritics,especiallych.13.
6.IreviewedVolume2criticallyinNussbaum(1985)therelevantpointtoemphasizehereisthat,byconcentratingonphilosophicalwriterssuchasPlatoand
Xenophon,andneglectingothermorepopularsources,suchastheoratorsandAristophanes,Foucaultcouldonlyreachpartialconclusions.
7.SeealsoPrice(1986).
8.For1.7880,IfollowWinkler'stranslation(1990,21016)elsewherethetranslationsaremyownwhereWinklerdoesnottranslatethepassage,hiswhenhe
does.Thiscaseisdiscussed(thoughnottranslatedinfull)inWinkler(1990,29).
9.FreudismistakenaboutthisaspectofArtemidoros'theory,charginghimwithreadingdreamsaccordingtoafixeduniversalkeyseeWinkler(1990,2930),
referringtoInterpretationofDreams(Freud1900,9899).
10.ThisshowstheunfairnessofFreud'scritiqueofArtemidorosforneglectinginterconnectionsamongdreamimages.
11.Herewefindconfirmationoftheculturalviewinaccordancewithwhichtheyoungmaleswhoaretheobjectsof(older)maledesiretheermenoiarenot
thoughttofeelsexualdesirethemselves(oratleast,thisistheculturalnormDover1978Halperin1990).Thisiswhysexualdreamsbelongtoalatertimeoflife.Of
courseayoungpersonmightstillusesexualimagerytosignifysomeunderlyinganxietybutIthinkthatitisArtemidoros'pointthatthesignifiershavetobefamiliar
fromexperience,inordertoestablishtheirconnectionswiththedeepersignified.
12.Onthestudyofchildrenandtheirinclinationsinancientthought,seeBrunschwig(1986).OntheappealtothenatureofthechildaspartofEpicureanethical
argument,seeNussbaum(1994,chs.4,12)andtheearlierversionoftheargumentinNussbaum(1986b).
13.SeealsoWinkler(1990,2627,33ff.).

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14.Friendshipsare,forAristotle,constituentsofeudaimonia,notjustexternalinstruments.Money,property,etc.areinstrumentallyvaluable.Virtuousaction,the
primaryconstituent(s)ofeudaimonia,isnotcalledan"externalgood,"sinceitiscausedbyvirtuoustraitsofcharacter,whicharewithintheagent'sowncontrol.
Strictlyspeaking,however,itcanbeimpededbyfortunebytheabsenceofsomeoftheusual"externalgoods."
15.Centralinsuchprojectsisusuallytheclaimthatvirtueissufficientforeudaimoniathisideaisdefended,itseems,bySocrates,Plato,andtheGreekandRoman
Stoics.
16.Onthissee"TheDemocraticBody,"inHalperin(1990).Onsexasanaspectofthepublicsphere,seealsoWinkler(1990,27).
17.Ofcourse,strictlyspeaking,anxietyiswhatissignifiedbyadream,notthesignifierinadream.ButArtemidorosseemstosuggestthatexperiencesthatare
themselvessourcesofanxiety(baldnessforexample)willnaturallyserveasignifiersforotherdeeperfears.
18.SeeAbelove(1993)forreferencestoFreud'scorrespondenceonthispoint.
19.PenetrationisthefundamentalsexactfortheGreeksseeWinkler(1990,passim)Halperin(1990).Sofundamentalisitthatasexactbetweentwowomencan
onlybeimaginedas(perimpossibile)aformofpenetrationanditisforthisreasonthattheactseemstorequireanalterationinthelawsofnature.
20.ItisnoteworthyherethatArtemidorosdoesnotdwelloftenontheanticonventionalorillicitstatusofincestuousintercourse,whichmighthavebeenawayof
linkingincestwithexternalfortuneswithoutfocusingcentrallyonitssexualwishcontent.This,Ithink,isthedirectionPlatotakesinthepassageondreamingin
RepublicIX,wherehespeaksoftheincestdreamassomethingthatappetitewillcontrive,unfetteredbyreason:inotherwords,unfetteredbyreason,appetiteis
altogetherlawless.
21.Forfurtherdiscussionofthispoint,seeNussbaum(1990),andNussbaum(1994,ch.4).
22.FullerdevelopmentoftheaccountpresentedhereisfoundinNussbaum(1989,1990d,1990b,1990c,and1994,chs.47).(Ch.5isalaterversionof1989a,
ch.6of1990d,ch.7of1990b.)Allofthesearticlescontainfullreferencestotherelevantancienttexts,andtothesecondaryliterature.
23.WearrivehereatacomplexissueinEpicurus'thought.Fortotheextentthathepresentstheconcernforexternalsasmotivatedbyanappropriateandmoreor
lessinevitableconcernforone'sownsafety,hewouldappeartoendorsetheseconcerns,oratleastsomeofthem,asrational.Ontheotherhand,heisdeterminedto
rejectmostoftheconcernssocietyactuallyhasforthesegoodsincludingallanxiousconcernaboutdeathasirrational.Thedifficultiesthiscreatesforhisproject
areanalyzedinNussbaum(1990d,1990b).
24.ComparetheviewofanimalsandinfantsinLazarus(1991)andtherelatedobservationsinBowlby(1982,1973,1980).

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25.SeeespeciallyBowlby(1973),Klein(1984,1985).OnLucretius,seeNussbaum(1990b).
26.Ontheenormousimportanceofcontrolfortheemotionallifeofbothanimalsandhumans,seetheremarkableanalysisinSeligman(1975).
27.ThisiswhatIamtryingtodoinNeedandRecognition:ATheoryoftheEmotions,TheGiffordLecturesfor1993.
28.Tuchdesignatesthoseaspectsoflifethathumanbeingsdonotcontrol:itmeans"luck"inthatsense,notinthesenseof"randomness."
29.Indeed,cognitivepsychologyisnowtoagreatextentconvergingwithpsychoanalysisonthispointseeLazarus(1991)Seligman(1975)Oatley(1992).
30.Klein(1984,1985),Fairbairn(1952).Thesameistrueofthetheoryofemotionnowmostfavoredincognitivepsychology:seeLazarus(1991)Ortony,Clore,
andCollins(1988)Oatley(1992).
31.ThischapterwasoriginallypresentedatCornellUniversityataconferenceontheOedipusRexandmodernpsychoanalysis.IwishtothankPhillipMitsisforthe
invitation,andforhelpfulcomments.IamalsogratefultoMylesBurnyeatandPeterRudnytskyfortheirsuggestions.
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Klein,M.1984.EnvyandGratitudeandOtherWorks,19461963.London:Hogarth.
.1985.Love,Guilt,andReparationandOtherWorks,19211945.London:Hogarth.
Lazarus,R.1991.EmotionandAdaptation.NewYork:OxfordUniv.Press.
Nussbaum,M.1985.ReviewofFoucault.NewYorkTimesBookReview,November10.
.1986a.TheFragilityofGoodness:LuckandEthicsinGreekTragedyandPhilosophy.Cambridge:CambridgeUniv.Press.
.1986b.TherapeuticArguments:EpicurusandAristotle.TheNormsofNature,ed.M.SchofieldandG.Striker.Cambridge:CambridgeUniv.Press,31
74.
.1989.BeyondObsessionandDisgust:Lucretius'GenealogyofLove.Apeiron22:159.
.1990a.ReviewofHalperin1990andWinkler1990.TimesLiterarySupplement,June.
.1990b.''ByWords,NotArms":LucretiusonAngerandAggression.InThePoeticsofTherapy,ed.M.Nussbaum,Apeiron23:4190.
.1990c.ThereapeuticArgumentsandStructuresofDesire.Differences2:4666.(VolumeonSocietyandSexualityinAncientGreeceandRome,ed.D.
KonstanandM.Nussbaum.)
.1990d.MortalImmortals:LucretiusonDeathandtheVoiceofNature.PhilosophyandPhenomenologicalResearch50:30351.
.1992.TragedyandSelfSufficiency:PlatoandAristotleonFearandPity.LongversioninOxfordStudiesinAncientPhilosophy10.Shortversionin
EssaysonAristotle'sPoetics,ed.A.Rorty.Princeton:PrincetonUniv.Press,pp26190.
.1993.PoetryandthePassions:TwoStoicViews.InPassions&Perceptions,ed.J.BrunschwigandM.Nussbaum.Cambridge:CambridgeUniv.Press.
.1994.TheTherapyofDesire:TheoryandPracticeinHellenisticEthics.Princeton:PrincetonUniv.Press.
Oatley,K.1992.BestLaidSchemes:ThePsychologyofEmotions.Cambridge:CambridgeUniv.Press.
Ortony,A.,Clore,G.L.,andCollins,A.1988.TheCognitiveStructureofEmotions.Cambridge:CambridgeUniv.Press.
Price,S.1986.TheFutureofDreams:FromFreudtoArtemidorus,"Pastand

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Present,113:337.Rpt.inHalperin,D.,Winkler,J.,andZeitlin,F.,eds.,BeforeSexuality:TheConstructionofEroticExperienceintheAncientGreek
World.Princeton:PrincetonUniv.Press,1989.
Rudnytsky,P.1987.FreudandOedipus.NewYork:ColumbiaUniv.Press.
Seligman,M.E.P.1975.Helplessness:OnDepression,Development,andDeath.NewYork:Freeman.
Winkler,J.J.1990.TheConstraintsofDesire:TheAnthropologyofSexandGenderinAncientGreece.NewYork:Routledge.

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Four
Sophocles'OedipusTyrannus:
Freud,Language,andtheUnconscious
CharlesSegal
FreudianinterpretationsoftheOedipusTyrannustendtoconcentrateonthecontentsoftheunconsciousasactedoutinthedramaticevents,andthesecontents
makeupthecoreplotofthe"Oedipuscomplex."Theplaygripsus,Freudargued,becauseitenactsthe(male)viewer'smostburiedfearsanddesires,namelythe
wishtokillthefatherandpossessthemother.Equallyimportant,however,andinsomewaysmoresuggestiveforliterarystudy,areFreud'sremarksontheprocessof
discoveringunconsciousknowledge:"Theactionoftheplayconsistsinnothingotherthantheprocessofrevealing,withcunningdelaysandevermounting
excitementaprocessthatcanbelikenedtotheworkofapsychoanalysisthatOedipushimselfisthemurdererofLaius,butfurtherthatheisthesonofthe
murderedmanandofJocasta"(Freud1900,26162).
ItremainsFreud'sachievementtohaveextrapolatedfromtheOedipusamodelofreadingintermsofahiddenothersideofreality,asidethatbeginstosurface
throughthecracksintherational,logicalstructureofourwordsandourlives.ItisthisradicalothernessforwhichtheFreudianunconsciousstandsandtowhichit
points.Sophocles'play,asFreudremarked,isanalogoustotheworkofpsychoanalysisinthesensethatbothSophoclesandFreudexplorementalandlinguistic
behaviorsinwhichactionsand/ordesiresrepressedintothedarknessoftheunknow

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ableandunspeakableareforcedintoconsciousspeechand,inthecaseoftheTyrannus,intoclear,theatricalvision.1
Theplayexploitsthespecialpowerofdramabyplayingthevisualenactmentofeventsbeforeoureyesoffagainsttheunknown,demoniceventsinthebackground:
theplague,theSphinx,thevariousoracles,theexposureofachild,thekillingofafather.Itgraduallyworksbacktothisworldofahidden,terriblepastanduncovers
it.Theclimaxoftheactioninthepresentisalsoanactofuncovering,namelytherevelationofJocasta'ssuicideandofOedipus'discoveryofherbody.Thesescenes
arenotshownonstagebuttheyarenarratedinsuchawaythatwebecomeconsciousofpenetratingintoaclosed,innerspace,aterribleinteriorchamberwhose
doorsweforcein,withOedipus,torevealtheawfulsight(lines125185).Afterthisnarrationweseedoorsreallyopeningthistimethedoorsofthescenebuilding
representingthepalacegatetoshowOedipustous,nowblinded,onthestage(lines129697).2 TheMessengerbeginshisnarrativebyemphasizinghispartial
knowledgeofwhathappened:"Ofthethingsthatweredone,themostpainfulareabsent,forvisionwasnotpresent.But,asmuchasliesinmymemory,youshalllearn
thesufferingsoftheunhappywoman"(lines123740).Heendsbyannouncingthethrowingopenofthegates"toshowtoalltheThebans"theland'spollution(lines
128788).Hislastwordscallattentiontothe"spectacle"thusrevealed:"Thesefasteningsofthegatesareopeningsoonyouwillseeasightsuchthateventheone
wholoathesitwilltakepity"(lines129496).Andthechorusrespondswithwordsthatunderlinetheimpactofthisvision:"Osufferingmostterribleformento
see''(line1298).
Thissceneisboththeclimaxoftheplayandamicrocosmofitsaction,whichconsistsinmovingfromtheunseentotheseen,fromthehiddentotherevealed.Inthat
patternitusestheresourcesofthetheatertothefullesteffect.Forthesamereason,itisthequintessentialplayforpsychoanalysis,foritrevealsthehidden,repressed
realmoftheirrationalbeneaththesurfaceofrationalconsciousness.
Thefamous"tragicironies"oftheplayaresopowerfulbecausetheyaredoubledbythetheatricalsituation:inamanneranalogoustoPoe'smuchdiscussed"Purloined
Letter,"whatisinplainsightoftheaudienceishiddenfromtheparticipants.Theplay'scentraltropeforthisironyisofcoursetheinterchangebetweenblindand
sighted.ButSophocles'specialgeniuslayinenormouslyenhancingthisvisualeffectbymaking

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languageitselfthefieldthatmostfullyenactstheplaybetweenthehiddenandtheobvious.Oedipus'wordsseemtospeakatruththathehimselfcannot(consciously)
utter,asifhislanguageweresomehowoutofhiscontrol:itwantstospeakatruththathedoesnotfullyknow.Hesetshisinvestigationunderway,infact,witha
glaring"misstatement"when,byakindofFreudianslipofthetongue,heinsistsonthesingular"robber"afterCreonhasemphaticallyreportedthesolesurvivor'sreport
thattheassailantswereplural,acting"notwithsingleforcebutwithamultitudeofhands"(lines12025).3
ThescenebetweenOedipusandTeiresiasputsonthestagetheparadoxicalcontrastbetweentheking'seyesthatdonot"see"andtheblindprophet'sthatdo.Butthe
paradoxesofblindvisionaredoubledbyparadoxesofdeafhearing.Oedipuscannot"understand"thetruthspokeninTeiresias'unambiguouswords,evenafterhis
ownangerhasspurredtheprophettotearawaytheveilofsilencethathehadhopedtothrowoverthetruth(lines33258).Oedipus'insistentangerevenpushes
Teiresiastoleavehisenigmaticlanguageofrevelation(lines35053)forthemostopen,blatantaccusationpossible:"Ideclareyoutobethekillerofthatmanwhose
murdereryouareseeking"(line362).Truevisionbelongstotheblindman,butOedipusis,ashesaysofTeiresias,as''blindinhisearsasinhiseyesandmind"(line
370f.).
Theseparadoxesofsynesthesiainascenewithablindbutinwardlyseeingprophetentwinethehiddennessoftruthwiththefallacyofsenseandspeech.The
parachresiscallsattentiontothefactthatSophocleshasstagedtheparallelismbetween"blind"languageandblindedvision.Synesthesiahasprobablyneverbeenused
withsuchtellingeffect(Segal1977).Itsoverdeterminationoffalsesensoryperceptionandverbalerrorsetsoffthespecialnatureofaknowledgethatcanbespoken
onlythroughthedistortingmechanismsoflanguage,theprocessesofcondensation,displacement,splitting,doubling,thatFreudbegantostudyintensivelyinhis
InterpretationofDreams.(1900)4
Truth,altheia,isamajorissueintheplay,andweshallreturntoitinmoredetaillater.Focusingonthecastingofstatementof"truth"intodistortedlinguisticforms
enablesustoappreciateanumberofspecificfeaturesofthetextthatotherwiseescapeobservation.Atissuehereistherecognitionthatpoeticlanguage"means"by
indirectsuggestionandparadoxaswellas(orindeliberatecontradictionwith)onetoonecorrespondence.AFreudianapproachdemandsanevenmoreradicalview

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oflanguage:wordsmaymeantheoppositeofwhattheysay,ortheir"meaning"maylieinwhattheydonotsay.
InanacuteandinfluentialcritiqueoftheFreudianapproach,JeanPierreVernanthasobjectedthatOedipushasno"Oedipuscomplex"becauseany"oedipal"feelings
wouldbedirectedtowardMerope,whomhebelievestobehismother,nottowardJocasta,whohasnomaternalassociationsforhim(Vernant1972,1079).For
Sophocles'play,however,Oedipus'relationtoJocastaandMerope,andtoLaiusandPolybusaswell,alsobelongstothelinguisticprocessesbywhichthe
unconsciousisdisplacedintolanguage.5 MeropeandPolybus,thepeoplewhomheassumestobehisrealmotherandfather,areparentalfigureswhomthelanguage
ofOedipusconstructsinwaysthatarebothilluminatingforandilluminatedbyFreud'stheoriesofrepression,language,andtheunconscious.Thescenesinvolving
MeropeandPolybusarecrucialforOedipus'constructionofhispastandsoofhisidentitythroughthelanguageofnarrationandweshallbeginwiththeseandthen
movebothforwardandbacktootherpartsoftheplay.
Itisimportanttoobserve,firstofall,thatonlynewdatafromtheexternalworldcanpushOedipusoutsidetheclosedcircleofhisownattemptstolearnabouthispast
andhisguilt.ThishappenswiththearrivaloftheCorinthianMessengerwhobringsthenewsofKingPolybus'death.Lefttothemselves,heandJocastaremain
trappedindeductions,conjectures,partialmemories,andincompleteknowledge.Thisconditionitselfresemblesastateofneuroticanxiety,andweseeOedipus'keen
investigativemindincreasinglyparalyzedbythisanxietyashetriestorecallandputtogetherthefragmentsofhisburiedpast.
IntheprevioussceneJocastaandOedipussharedtheirrecollectionsofthepast.JocastatoldofLaius'oracle,theirchild,andhisexposureOedipustoldoftheevents
ofhisyouthatCorinth,climaxinginhiskillinganoldmanatthecrossroadsbetweenDelphiandThebes(lines707858).Theyexitwiththerepeateddeterminationto
questiontheOldHerdsman,thesolesurvivoroftheattackonLaius(lines85962).ThechorusofThebancitizensthensingsitsodeonthe"highfootedlaws"of
Olympusandthedangersofanabruptfallthatawaitsthetyrantwhoisliftedtoohighinprideandviolence.Theyaretroubledbytheproblemofreconcilingtheir
continuingbeliefinOedipus'innocencewiththeirbeliefintheoraclesandinamoraldivineordergenerally(line910).
Attheendoftheirsong,Jocastareturnstothestagebearingpropi

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tiatoryofferingstoApollo.SheisdeeplydisturbedbyOedipus'anxieties.Hisswingsofemotionseemtodeprivehimofaclear,rationalcourseofaction:"For
Oedipusliftshisspirittoohighinpainsofeverykindnor,likeamaninfulluseofhismind(ennous),doeshemakeinferenceaboutthenewthingsbymeansofthe
thingsofold,butisatthemercyofwhoeversaysanythingifhespeaksoffears"(lines91417).Atthisemotionalcrisis,theCorinthianMessengerentersinsteadof
theOldHerdsmanwhomOedipusandJocastaareawaitingandofferstotallyunexpectedbuteagerlywelcomedrelief,thenewsofKingPolybus'death(lines924
44).JocastaimmediatelysummonsOedipus,tosharethegoodnewsofthepresentastheypreviouslysharedtheanxietyprovokingmemoriesofthepast(lines
945ff.).Oedipushasamomentofeuphoricexultation(lines96472)butatJocasta's"Itoldyouso,"hespeaksagainof"fear''(phobos,line974)andrelapsesinto
anxiety(oknein,line976)abouttheotherpartofhisoracle,incestwithhismother:"AndhowmustInotfearmymother'sbed?"(line976).Jocastarepliesbytaking
uphisword"fear"(phobos,line977)andtriestodispelitbyurgingtheinconclusivenessoforacles.Humanlifeissouncertain,andthereisnoclearforeknowledgeof
events.Sothebestthing,sheadvises,isto"liverandomly"(lines97779).
ThiscontextofdismissingtheveracityorprognosticpoweroforaclesisthesettingforJocasta'sfamousspeechabouttheincestuousdreamsinwhich"manymenhave
sleptwiththeirmothers"(lines98183).Thesedreams,sheargues,arenottobetakenseriously,andsoshecounsels,"Hetowhomthesethingsareasnothingbears
lifemosteasily"(line983).Althoughshedismissestheoraclewiththegeneralizing,euphemisticexpression"sleepwithone'smother,"herpreviouslinereferredmore
specificallyto"marriagewithone'smother,"tamtrosnympheumata(line980).Hereshereplicates,inreverseorder,Oedipus'firstaccountofhisoracleinthe
previousscene.There,inreporting"thefearfulandmiserablethings"predictedbyApollo(line790),hefirstreferredtotheincestinexplicitlysexualterms,"mingling[in
intercourse]withmymother"(mtrimeichthnai,line791)andproducingoffspring,"araceunendurableformentosee"(seeHay1978,70).Alittlelater,however,
hedescribesthisunionas"beingyokedinmarriagewithmymother"(gamoismtroszygnai,lines82526),softeningthehorrorwiththegeneralterm"marriage"
andtheconventionalmetaphorof"yoking."
ThearrivaloftheCorinthianMessenger,thoughintendedtobring

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comfort,plungesOedipusbackintohisdreadedpastanditsfears.Itisnotentirelysurprising,then,thatJocasta'swordsdonotallayOedipus'anxietiesandhe
repeatsthatpowerful"fear"(oknein,line986cf.line976)aboutthemotherwhoisstillalive.6 Thetwothenhavethisbriefexchange:
Jocasta:Andyetthefather'stombisagreatjoy[literally,"eye,"ophthalmos].
Oedipus:Great,Iagreebutthereisfearofthe[mother]whoisalive.(Lines98788)

Aswemoveclosetotherevealingofunconsciousfears,andfearsoftheunconscious,whichJocasta'smentionofincestuousdreamshasalreadycalledintoplay,the
dialoguetakesonaneerie,phantasmagoricquality.Herethesonrejoicesinthe"tombofthefather"andisafraidofthe"livingmother."Inpronouncingandsharingwith
Jocastahisophthalmicjoyinhisfather'sdeath,heisactingout,unknowinglyandinlanguage,theoracle,thatis,the''fate"thatdefineshislife,orthestructureofthe
unconsciousthatFreuddefinedastheOedipuscomplex.
Whenthesefears,sodeeplyembeddedinOedipus'past,areevoked,theyhavetobedisplacedinitiallyintotheneutraltermsorthegeneralized,conventional
metaphorsofsocialinstitutions,likethe"marriage"and"yoking"inlines82526(quotedabove).AstheMessenger'snewsseemstoremovetheoracle'spredictionof
patricide,thehorrorinthewordsthatOedipushadused"murderofmyfatherwhobegotme"(line793),"killmyfatherPolybus"(lines82627)fadesandsoftens
intothegeneralterm"tomb"or"burial"(taphoi,line896).Thistoningdownoftheaggressiveviolenceofthepatricidetoanendurablealternativethatbrings
psychologicalreliefisalreadyatworkintheMessenger'swayofdescribingPolybus'death:"Heexistsnolongerbutperished"(line956)"hedepartedindeath"(line
959)."Thepoormanperishedbyillness"isOedipus'conjectureinreply(line962).OnlyJocasta,specificallyevokingtheoracleandthepastinherfirstimpulseofjoy
andrelief,usedtheactiveverb"kill"(ktanoi)andassociateditwithOedipus'physicalreactionof"trembling"inafearthatsheregardsaslongpastandinfactaboutto
becomeobsolete:"Oyouoraclesofthegods,whereareyou?Oedipusfledlongagotremblinglesthekillthisman.Butnowthismanhasperishedfromchance,
notfromOedipus"(lines94649).Herverymovementfrom"kill"(ktanoi)to"perish"(ollen),fromthetransitive

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totheintransitiveverb,enactsinlanguagethedenialofthetruthoftheviolencethatOedipusis"fated"tocommitandhasalreadycommitted.
Therestofthescene,callingupthosepastfearsandprobingthem,graduallyremovestheveilsofeuphemism,thelinguisticdevicesthathaveshieldedOedipusfrom
(unconscious)knowledge.Asthetruthoftheoraclesemergesintothelight,itdefeatsthelinguisticstrategiesthatOedipusandJocastahavebothusedtoblockor
softenit.Therepressedsexualandaggressiverealityofthe"fated"actsbeginstoreemergefrombehindthewordsmarriageandtomb,justasthetruthofincestand
patricideemergesfrombehindthenames"Merope"and"Polybus."
TheMessenger,respondingtotheatmosphereoffear,asks,"Forthesakeofwhatwomanareyousoafraid?"(line989).Thequestionseemsinnocentand
reasonable,buttheMessenger'swordfor"woman"here,gyn,alsomeans"wife,"Oedipus'formofaddresstoJocastashortlybefore(lines950,964),Wethe
audience,ofcourse,knowthetruthhiddenfromhimthathiswordsaresaying,namelythatthis''livingmother"(line988)isthe"woman/wife"whonowstandsbeside
himonthestage.Thevaguefearofafutureincestwillsoonbecometheabsoluteterroroftheincestthathehasalreadycommitted.
ItisatthispointthatOedipus,forthesecondandlasttimeintheplay,nameshistwosupposedparents,PolybusandMerope:
Messenger:Forthesakeofwhatwoman/wifeareyousoafraid?
Oedipus:Merope,oldman,withwhomPolybusdwells.(Lines98990)

Andimmediatelyafter,herepeatshisoracleofthepatricideandincest,nowforthethirdtime(lines99498).Thesenseofhorrorbecomesmoreinsistentaswehear
thewords"fear"(phobos)or"terrible"(deinon)againandagaininthisscene.Theywillberepeatedofteninwhatfollows.7
Theelementof"fear"hereisasignofwhatFreud,inafamousessay,referredtoas"theuncanny":"anuncannyexperienceoccurseitherwheninfantilecomplexesthat
havebeenrepressedareoncemorerevivedbysomeimpression,orwhentheprimitivebeliefsthathavebeensurmountedseemoncemoretobeconfirmed"(1919,
249).Theliteraryeffectof"theuncanny"heretakestheformofthesimplestwordsbecomingvehiclesofthe"fearful"or"theterrible"(phobos,deinon)thatsurfaces
fromrepressedknowledge,fromtheunspeakable.Whatcouldbemoreordinarythangivingthenameofone'sfatherandmother?ThisishowOedipusbeganthe
storyofhislifeinthepreviousscenewithJocasta:

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"MyfatherisPolybustheCorinthian,mymotherMeropeofDoris"(lines77475).Yetthismostnaturalandmostassuredofallhisstatementsistheonemostfraught
withhorror.Thathorrorbeginstoemergeasthevague"Merope,"namedonlyhereandinline775,becomesanobjectofthe"fear"thatdominatesthescene.When
hepronouncesthenamenow,itisamidaclusterofwordsfor''fear"(lines987,989,991,992)andinthecontextofwhatis"speakable"or"knowable"(line993).
ByinvokingMeropesovividlyintheMessengerscene,Sophoclesintroducesacontrastbetweenthreemotherfigures:thewomanOedipusassumestobehis"real"
mother(Merope)theunknownmotherofhisfears,withwhomheisfatedtocommitincestandJocasta.Theaudience,knowingthetruth,watchesthisrelation
destabilizebeforeitseyesasthefearedmotheroftheincestuousrelationturnsintoJocasta(lines9641025).Hencethespecialpowerofthisscenederivesfromthe
rapidsuccessionofthefollowingmotifs:Jocasta'sfamouslinesaboutmensleepingwiththeirmothersindreams(seeFreud1900,264)Oedipus'satisfactionathis
father'sdeathhisrecountingofhisversionoftheoracleoftheincestandpatricidethathereceivedatDelphilongagoandtheMessenger'srevelationwhichnow
opensupthegapbetweenthesupposedlyknown"parents"inCorinthandtheunknown,dreadedparentssomewhereelse.ThismentionofMerope(line990)
introducesapowerfulplayofdifferenceandsamenessbetweenMerope,themotherstillunknowntoOedipushimself,andofcourseJocasta.WhentheMessenger
mentionsanunknownsetofparents,heconvertsthesceneofinitialreliefintoanightmareworldofanxiety(phobos)inwhichtheoraclemustoncemorebeallowed
itsvoiceasapossiblytruestatementofOedipus'condition.
The"truth"thatlanguageconveysnowshiftsfromthe"sayable"and"knowable"(line993)totheunspeakable.InFreudianterms,thecontentsoftheunconscious,
whicharecontainedintheoracle,cannolongerbesuppressedbutarebreakingforthintothelight."Ishallspeakforththetruthtoyou,Owife,"Oedipussaysto
Jocastaashebeginsthefatefulaccountofthetripleroadinline800,shortlyafterhisannouncementofhis"parents"names(lines77475)."IfIdonotspeakthe
truth,Ideservedeath,"theCorinthianMessengersaysinlines94344,asheswearstheveracityofPolybus'death.Thetwoaffirmationspointtotwodifferent
versionsofthe"truth"aboutthedeathofthefather.ThedifferencethatkeepsthemapartisthesubstitutionofPolybusforLaius."Tospeakthe

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truth,"althlegein,occursinonlyoneotherplaceintheplay,againinthemouthofasupposedstrangerandagainatthevergeofaterrifyingrevelationaboutfathers
andsons,namelytheOldHerdsman'sreluctantconfirmationoftheMessenger'sstoryaboutOedipus'birth:"Youspeaktruth,althoughfromalongtimepast"(line
1141).Beforeline800thatis,beforethepointatwhichOedipusbeginstounveiltheviolenteventsofhispastallthestatementsabout"truth''areconfinedto
Teiresias,introducedas"themanwhoalonehastruthasinbornnature"(line298f.).8 ToOedipus,however,"truth"comesonlythroughstruggleandwithpainful
reluctance,andwhathehas"frominbornnature"isdeeplyconcealed.Thewordfor"truth"wasoftenunderstoodetymologicallyinearlyGreeceasanegationof
"forgetting,"alth,andwemaywonderwhetherthismeaningisalsopresentinourplay,sointentonverbalambiguity.9
This"unforgetting"of"truth"isallthegreaterbecauseitcontrastswiththegentler,morelovingsurfaceofconscious(buterroneous)relationships.WhenOedipus
enterstoheartheCorinthianMessenger'snews,hefirstaddressesJocastainthemostaffectionateterms:"Odearestpersonofmywife,Jocasta"(line950).Literally,
thisversereads,"Odearestheadofmywife,Jocasta."TheeffectoftheGreekpoeticidiom,sostiltedinEnglish,isdifficulttoconvey(seeCarneRoss1990,113
14)buttheaffectionandhopefulnessinthisaddresswillbedashedtothegroundatthereportofJocasta'ssuicide,whichusesthesamehonorificmetaphor:"The
divineheadofJocastahasdied"(line1235).Thepoeticphrase"divinehead"recallsthelanguageofHomerandgivesthequeenthedignityofanepicheroine(inthe
Iliad,forexample,Helenis"divineamongwomen").Asthefulltruthemergeshere,however,Jocastaisthemostwretchedandpollutedofwomen.
AfteraddressingJocastainline950,OedipusasksaboutthemannerofPolybus'deathandexpressespityforthedeathofanoldman:
Messenger:Asmallblowputstosleepbodiesthatareold.
Oedipus:Poorman,hediedbyillness,asseemslikely.(Lines96162)

Oedipusthenexultsthathehasescapedhisterribleoracle(lines96469),buthechecksthishappymoodwiththemoresomberreflectionthatperhapsPolybus
"wastedawaywithlongingforme,andinthiswaywouldbedeadfromme"(line969f.).
Oedipushereoffersanalternativestoryofthedeathofafatherand

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oftherelationbetweenafatherandason.Insteadofthemurderousblowoftheclubatthecrossroads,thisfatherdiesbythemetaphorical"smallblow"ofillnessin
oldage.Insteadofafatherwhofearsandhatesthesonwhomaykillhim,thisfatheriskilledbyloveandlongingforasonwhoisaway.Indeed,Oedipus'phrase,
"longingforme,"mayechoafamoussceneoftenderaffectionbetweenparentandchildinHomer,themeetingbetweenOdysseusandhismotherAnticleiainthe
Underworld.Hereshetellshimhowshediedoutof''longing"forhim(Od.11.202).Butoveragainstthisrelationofloveandlongingandthegentle,guiltlessdeathofa
fatherstandsthenightmarish"truth"ofOedipus'relationwithhisunknown,absent,fatherthe"truth"(line800)thathehaddescribedtoJocastainthepreviousscene
asabrutal,anonymousmeeting.Oedipuscanenvisageinconsciousnessandinspokenlanguageametaphorical"smallblow"ofillnessagainstanaged,belovedfather
(lines96162,96870)buthiddeninthebackgroundistheviolent,murderousblowagainstapowerfulfather,fullofvigorandauthority,whostruckhimfirst.10In
likemanner,thehorrific,nightmarerelationwiththeunknownmotherstandsbehindtherelationwiththeknown,namedmotherinCorinth.
Whenweapproachtheoraclenowinitsdramaticandlinguisticcontext,weappreciateanewFreud'sinsight:theoracleproclaimsasfacttherepressedincestuousand
patricidaldesiresoftheunconscious.InafamouspassageoftheInterpretationofDreamsFreuddescribedtheoracleas"thefateofallofus,"namely"todirectour
firstsexualimpulsetowardsourmotherandourfirsthatredandourfirstmurderouswishagainstourfather"(1900,262).
Thespecificnamesof"Merope"and"Polybus"asOedipus'sparentsatCorinth(lines990,77475)standbetweenhimandthegeneric"mother"and"father"against
whomheistocommitthecrimespredictedbytheoracleatDelphi(lines82133).Oneachofthetwooccasionsofnaminghisparents,infact,herepeatsthisoracle
abouthis"motherandfather"immediatelyafterwards.Henowdefendshimselfagainsthisterrible,unacknowledgedknowledge,ashehasdefendedhimselfagainstthe
inexorable"fate"hangingoverhim,byinterposingthenameofPolybusandthestoryofPolybus'peacefuldeathfroma"smallblow"asthescreenbetweenthe
OedipuswhoisajustandrespectedkingatThebesandthemurderous,criminalOedipus,or,aswewouldsaytoday,theselfimagethatOedipushasburiedinhis
past,inhis

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unconscious.ThisistheimpetuousyoungOedipuswhotraveled,temporarilynameless,inthetriangularnoman'slandbetweenCorinth,Delphi,andThebes,killedhis
father,andmarriedhismother.
Themannerinwhichthisoracleemergesintonarrativeconsciousnessalsorequirescloserobservationthanitoftenreceives,forittooparticipatesinthisparadoxical
knowledgeandignorancethroughwhichthe"uncanny"emergesfromapparentlymatteroffactlanguage.11Whatis"uncanny"hereispreciselythewayinwhichthis
matteroffactclaritybecomestransparenttofearedandhorribleacts.
AccordingtoOedipus'accountofhisvisittoDelphihisfirststatementabouthisoracleintheplay(lines78893)ApollogavenodirectanswertoOedipus'
questionabouthisparentsbutonlyanegativeresponse,whichOedipusreportsasfollows:"Hesentmeforthunhonored,"i.e.,withoutthehonorofareply,atimon
exepempsen(line789).Byutteringthesewords,Oedipusplacesinhisownmouththatgestureofbeing"sentforth"or''expelledwithouthonor"thathasmarkedhis
lifefromhisfirstdays(cf.lines71719)andthathewillbecompelledtorepeatagainandagain(cf.lines387,399,657,1081,134046,138183,141113,1451
54).Thedisjunctionbetweenhisquestion,Whoaremyparents?andthegod'sanswer,Youmustcommitincestandpatricide,containsoneoftheplay's
profoundestexplorationsoftragicknowledge.TheselfthatOedipusisdriventodiscoverishiddenintheriddleofApollo'sprophecy.
Inthenextstageofhislife'sjourney,thisriddlewillbeencodedintoanotherenigmaticdiscourse,theriddleoftheSphinx.Theoracleandtheriddlearesymmetrical
andanalogous,andTeiresiasplaysontheinterchangeabilityofthetwoterms(cf.lines439,393Segal1981,23840).Thereisalsoaninvertedsymmetry(a
structuralchiasmus)betweenthesetwotrialsofOedipus'youth,theconsultationoftheoracleandthemeetingwiththeSphinx.Bothresultinan"enigmatic"
pronouncement.AtDelphiOedipusquestions,andthedivinepower(Apollo)answersatThebesthedivinepower(theSphinx)posesthequestion,andOedipus
answers.Butinbothcases,asalsointhescenewithTeiresias,thecommontermisOedipus'ignoranceofwhoheisandwhereheis,bothliterallyandinaFreudian
sense.
DelphiisthepointoftransitionbetweenthesetwostagesofOedipus'life:achildhoodandadolescenceburiedinignorance,andamanhoodmarkedbygradual
discovery.Weviewthesceneofhisconsultingthe

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oracleretrospectivelythroughtheeyesoftheyoungandconfusedwanderer.HecomestoDelphihelplessandinneed,andheleavestheoracularshrinenotonly
ignorantbutingreaterdistressthanwhenhecame.InhismeetingwiththeSphinx,hedemonstrateshisstrengthanduseshisspecialintelligence.Oedipushimself,
however,saysalmostnothingabouttheSphinx,exceptthathedefeateditbyhiswits.Indeed,Sophocles'play,unlikethemodernversionsofCocteau,Hofmannsthal,
orPasolini,forexample,omitsanydetailedaccountofthismythicalepisode,foritsfocusisonthetragicqualityofthehumanreality,notthefabulouselementinitself.
WhenOedipus,frightenedbyJocasta'sstoryofLaius'death,tellsabouthisjourneyfromCorinthtoThebes,hemakesnomentionofmeetingtheSphinxontheway.
Hissilenceaboutthismajorvictorynow,incontrasttohisprideinthisexploitwhenheconfrontedTeiresias,markstheanxietythathascometoovershadowhisview
ofhispast.Now,atthiscriticalpointintheaction,hegivesahighlydetailedaccountofthefatalencounterwithhishumanadversaryatthecrossroads(line798ff.).
Sophoclesthuskeepsthehumaneventsintheforegroundandshiftsthefabulouselementstotheremotebackground.Buthealsokeepshisemphasisonthepoint
whereignoranceratherthanintelligenceinactionprovestobethedecisivefactorforthemeaningofthiseventintheprotagonist'slife.
ThissymmetrybetweenignoranceandknowledgedarklyinthebackgroundofthissectionoftheplaydominatesOedipus'lifeasSophocles(re)constructsitbefore
oureyes.ThatsymmetryisalreadyactiveintheTeiresiassceneinthepresent,whichbothparallelsandcontinuesOedipus'consultationofApolloatDelphiinthepast.
Bothscenesarecharacterizedbythemisunderstandingofrevealedtruthandthedisjunctionbetweenthequestionandtheanswer.IntheTeiresiasscenethequestion
is,WhokilledLaius?andtheanswer,oroneanswer,isastatementaboutOedipus'origins(cf.lines413ff.,436f.).AtDelphithoseelementsappearedinthereverse
order:OedipusaskedabouthisoriginsandimmediatelyafterkillsLaius.
WhenOedipusaskedApolloifPolybusandMeropewerehisparents,Apollogavenoreply.Yetdespitetheuncertainty,Oedipusstillbelievesinhisputative
Corinthianoriginsenoughto"measuretheCorinthianlandhenceforthbythestars"(line794f.)andrushto"theseplaces"(i.e.,thecrossroadsnearDelphi)wherethe
oldkingwillmeethisdeath(line798f.).SophoclesdoesnottelluswhatOedipus'consciousmotivesmay

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bebut,thankstotheveryabruptnessandillogicalityoftheoracularresponse,thescenedoesfollowtheFreudianmodeloftheunconscious,andspecificallyinthe
areaoftheOedipuscomplex,thatis,concernwithdesireforthemotherandhostilitytothefather.Themanwhoasksabouthishiddenoriginsreceivesfroma
mysteriousdivinevoicethereplythatheisdoomedtohaveunionwithhismotherandkillhisfather(lines79093).Heatoncedeniesthatknowledgebyheadlong
flightfromit,onlytofulfillitwithoutconsciouslyknowingthatheisdoingso.12
ThefirstmentionoftheoracleinthehouseofLaiusisJocasta'sstoryofherchildthatwouldcauseitsfather'sdeath(lines71114).WhenOedipushearsthis,he
respondsnottothecoincidence(partial,tobesure)ofJocasta'soraclewithhisown,buttohermentionofthetripleroad(line730).Hefocusesonatinyfragmentof
hernarrativeandmissesthetotalpattern.Whenhenarrateshisownoracle,ashedoestwiceintheensuingdialogue(lines78893,82129),heconnectsitwith
Jocasta'saccountonlyinsofarashisidentityasLaius'killerwillcausehisexpulsionfromThebesandthusbringabouthishomelessness,forhecannotreturnto
Corinthlesthefulfillhisoracleinthefuture.Heisutterlyblindtothepossibilitythathehasalreadyfulfilledtheoracleinthepast,eventhoughhenowpossessestwo
reasonstothinkthathemayhavedoneso,namelyJocasta'sstoryabouttheexposureofherchildandhisownknowledgethathekilledanolderandimportantmanat
thecrossroadswhereLaiusalsowaskilled(line716ff.).
RecognizingthathemaybeLaius'killerandthusmayhavecursedhimselfinhisimprecationsuponthemurderer,Oedipusisawareoftheadditionalpollutionofhaving
begottenchildrenonthewifeofthemanwhomhehasslain:"ButthebedofthedeadmaninmyhandsIpollutethehandsthroughwhichheperished.AmInotthen
evil?AmInotwhollyimpure?"(lines82123).Thisliteraltranslationconveysthesurfacemeaningofhiswords.Theverb"pollute"hereissoplacedthatitcanrefer
bothto''hands"andto"bed,"thatis,tothepollutionofsexualityandofbloodshed.13Thewordsthusintimateaclose"oedipal"connectionbetweenthebedandthe
murder.Itisthestruggleforthebedofwife/motherthatlinksthefatherandsoninthismurderouscontest.Andthisis,ofcourse,theknowledgethatOedipuscannot
allowtosurface,eventhoughitiscontainedinwordsofwhosefullmeaningheisunaware.
Earlyintheplay,whenOedipusthoughtthathewasdefendingLaius

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inseekinghismurderer,hespokeof"possessinghisbedandhiswifewhoborehimseedincommonwithme"andoftheirthushaving"childrenincommon"(lines
26061).There,inhisignorance,this"commonseeding,"bed,andchildrenformedpartofabondwiththepastofThebesthathe,astheusurper,wishestoassertand
defend.ButnowthatsharingofLaius'bedaddstothehorrorofhispollution.Asweknow,however,thatpollutionisfarmoreterriblestill,forhesharesLaius'bed
andchildrennotjustasthesuccessortohisthrone,butashisson.Thustheterms''commonchildren"and"ofcommonseeding"haveahorriblesecondarymeaningof
whichOedipuswillsoonbecomeaware.14
AfterthereferencetothepollutionofLaius'bedinlines82123,Oedipusgoesoninthenextlinestodescribetheoracleforthesecondtime:"AmInotimpurein
everyway,ifImustgointoexileandinexilemaynotseemypeoplenortreaduponmyfatherland,orelseinmarriagemustbeyokedwithmymotherandkillmy
father,Polybuswhonurturedandbegotme"(lines82327).WhenOedipusmatcheshislifestorytoJocasta's,thepollutionthatheconsciouslycontemplatesisnot
incestorpatricide,buthavingkilledThebes'kingandmarriedhiswife,therebyalsohavinginasensepollutedhismarriagebedandhischildrenwiththebloodofhis
murder.Thisisaseriouspollution,butitisfarfromthehorrorofthetruth.
AlthoughOedipusreversestheorderof"begot"and"raised"inspeakingofhissupposedfather("Polybuswhoraisedmeupandbegotme,"line827),thename
"Polybus"inplaceofthenameofhisrealfatherstillprotectshimfromthetruth.Yetthereferencetothebedinthelinesjustbefore(82123)sensitizesustothesexual
meaningofthedeadlyconflictbetweenLaiusandOedipusandpointstotherepressedcontentofthatknowledgewhichOedipuslogicallyshouldknowbut
psychologicallycannotknowatthismoment.Thereversalofthe"natural"orderinOedipus'referencetoPolybushereastheonewho"nurturedandbegot"himalso
givesahintofthehiddentruth:Polybusishisfatherthroughthesecondaryactof"nurture,"notthebiologicalfactof"begetting."TheCorinthianmessenger,however,
breaksthroughthesedefensesagainstthetruthbyremovingthebufferbetweenthenamesofhissupposedparents(Merope,Polybus)andtheparentfigureshehas
violated.
WehavealreadynotedhowthenamingofMeropeinline990beginstodestabilizethedivisionbetweenthesafeandthefearedmother.Asimilarprocessoccurswith
thenameofPolybus.Jocasta'ssummaryof

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theMessenger'snewsisambiguous.WhenshesaysthattheMessengerhascome"toannouncethatyourfatherPolybusisnolonger[alive]"(lines95556),Greek
syntaxallowsherwordsalsotomean,"toannouncethatPolybusisnolongeryourfather."TheMessengerrespondsbyemphasizingtheclarityofhisannouncement
andthecertaintyofOedipus'"knowing":"IfImustfirstannouncethisclearly,knowwellthatheisdepartedindeath"(line958f.).Butnothingcouldbefurtherfrom
"clarity''and"knowledge"inthissectionoftheplayandinfacttheMessenger'ssupposedly"clear"accountofthe"smallblow"thatputstosleepanagedbodyhasan
evenmorehorribleambiguity,foritcanrefermetaphoricallytotheoldagethatkilledhissupposedfatherandliterallytotheblowofOedipus'clubthatkilledhisreal
fatheratthecrossroads(seeAhl1991,16465).
AsOedipusisseparatedfromhisallegedCorinthianparentsatthenewsofPolybus'death,healsodrawsclosertotheMessenger,whosespecialtietohimgradually
emergesinthecourseoftheirdialogue(line1018ff.).TheMessengerinitiallyaddressedthoseonstageas"strangers"(xenoi,line924)andheissoaddressedinturn
bythechorus,byJocasta,andbyOedipus(xene,lines927,931,957).ButwithhismentionofMeropeandPolybusin990,Oedipuscallshim"oldman"(geraie,line
990),changesbackto"stranger"inline992,andthencallshim"oldman"againafterOedipusrevealshisoracle(geron,line1001).TheMessengerforthefirsttime
addressesOedipusas"lord"(anax,line1002)butthen,surprisingly,callshim"child"(pai)asherevealstohimthathedoesnotknowthetruthofhisparentage.
"Oldman"isOedipus'returnaddressinthefollowingline(geraie,line1009),whichsoonafterbecomesthesomewhatmoredignifiedwordforold,presbys,
"elder"(line1013).WhentheMessengertellshisstoryabouthavingfoundtheinfantOedipusonCithaeron,headdressesthekingwithanevenstrongertermof
generationaldifferenceandaffection,"child"(teknon,line1030).
Asthescenegoeson,then,thetermsofaddresssubtlyenactthechangingrelationshipbetweenthetwomen,shiftingfrom"stranger"to"child"and"oldman."These
vocativesrecreateinlanguagetheirold,forgottenrelationas"child"and"elder"thatthedialoguegraduallybringstolight.Theterm"oldman"thatOedipusaddresses
tothisfosterfatherfigure,moreover,alsoevokestheanonymous"oldman"whomhestruckandkilledasa"stranger"atthecrossroads(lines805,807,813).15
Oncemorea"truth"aboutamurderousrelationtoafatheris

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overlaidandconcealed,momentarily,byagentlerrelation.ThisshiftsagaintoaharsherrelationasOedipusisoncemoreabouttodoviolencetoanoldman,giving
thisaddresstotheOldHerdsmanasheisabouttohavehimtortured(line1147).16
TheshiftingtermsofaddressbetweenOedipusandtheCorinthianMessenger"stranger/oldman"and"stranger/child"areallthemorestrikingbecauseoneofthe
crucialmattersinOedipus'investigationis''namingachild":"Forwhatreasondid[Polybus]givemethenameofchild?"heasksashisnonrelationtoPolybuscomesto
light(line1021).InsteadofLaiuscallinghim"son,"themanwhosavedhimfromLaius,atemporarysurrogatefatherandgiveroflife,callshim"child."Inlikemanner,
Oedipusatonepointcallsthisman"elder,"presbys(line1023),thetermgivento"theelderPolybus"atthebeginningofthescene(presbysPolybos,line941).17
IntheclimacticmomentofJocasta'shorrifiedrecognitionattheendofthescene,theproblemofaddressbecomesextreme.Oedipusenteredwithafullverseof
affectionateaddresstoJocastaashisdearestwife(line950)butattheendshecannotcallhimeither"husband"or"child,"only"unfortunate,"dystenos,"theonlything
Ihavetocallyou,andnothingelseeveragain"(lines107172).Theeffectrepeatsinmicrocosmtheplay'slargermovementwhereinOedipus,intheopeningscene,
hadintroducedhimselfas"calledfamousbyall"(pasi,line8),but,asJocasta'sfinaladdressshows,hehadinfactnonameinthemostintimaterelationsofhislife.
ThatnameofOedipusisitselfthetokenofhisdeprivationofhouse,life,andnamebyhisparents,amarkoftheirattempttonegatehisexistenceintheworld.Instead
ofbeing"calledfamoustoall"intheillusionoffalsenames,heis"showntoalltheThebans"astheincestuousandparricidalpollution(line1288f.),thebearerof"the
namesofallthesufferingsthatexist"(line1284f.).18
Oedipusputsouttheeyesthatfailedto"see"this"truth"inordertoseewhatwasbeforehiddeninhisunconscious.Sophocles,wemustemphasize,wouldhardlythink
oftheissuesinthesetermstheyarepossibilitiesinherentintheimagesandsymbolsthathehashimselftakenoverandreinterpretedfromthepastandespeciallyfrom
Aeschylus.Freud,onecouldsay,isonlyanotherstageinthelifeofthemyth:hecontinuestheprocessofinterpretingitsmeaningbytranslatingitssymbolsintoanarea
andasetoftermscompatiblewith,thoughdifferentfrom,thosethatSophocleshasused.WhereSophoclesimpliesdivine

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powers,FreudimpliestheprocessesoftheunconsciousandFreudisexplicitaboutthistranslation,asisclearfromthewayinwhichhespeaksof"fate"intheplay.
SomeConclusions
OnemayobjectthattheOedipusTyrannus,writtenattheheightoftheSophisticEnlightenment,ismuchmoreaboutconsciousthanunconsciousknowledge.Seenin
itshistoricalcontext,theplaymaycertainlybereadasacritiqueofman'sconfidenceinunderstandingandcontrollinghisworldthroughhiseverincreasingpowerin
thephysical,biological,andmedicalsciences,andinthe"humansciences"oflanguage,politics,history,andsoon.
Thishistoricalreadingoftheproblemofknowledgeintheplay,brilliantlysetforthbyBernardKnox(1957)agenerationago,remainsvalid,butdoesnotinvalidatea
psychologicalreading.ItispossibletoarguethatOedipus'passionforconscious,factualknowledge,hisdeterminationtodiscoverhispast,isatleastasstrongashis
blindnesstothecluesinhispath.19Butthisfactonlybringsouttheradicalothernessofthekindof"knowledge"thathedoesnothaveand,formuchoftheplay,
refusestohave,arepressedknowledgetowhichtheorgansofconsciousnessthe"ears,eyesandmind"ofline371areindeed"blind''andtowhichtheblindeyes
ofTeiresias,moreaccustomedtothedarkness,areopen.
AFreudiananalysis,tobesure,usesaninterpretivesystemextraneoustoSophoclesandhistimebutthenvirtuallyallinterpretivesystemsappliedtoGreektragedy,
fromAristotle'sPoeticson,areextraneoustotheoriginalauthorandaudienceandmightwellbafflethem.Thefactthatpsychoanalysisispartofourhorizonof
expectationsbutnotpartofSophocles'orhispublic'shorizondoesnotautomaticallydisqualifyit.Atthispoint,itiscustomarytoinvokethehermeneuticawarenessof
howworksofartchangetheirsignificanceastheyarereceivedatdifferentperiodsofhistoryorviewedindifferentintellectualandaestheticcontexts.Butwithregard
toFreudianinterpretationandtheFreudianunconsciousspecifically,WalterBenjamin,inafamousessay,hassaidtheessential:
Fiftyyearsago,aslipofthetonguepassedmoreorlessunnoticed.Onlyexceptionallymaysuchasliphaverevealeddimensionsofdepthinaconversation

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whichhadseemedtobetakingitscourseonthesurface.SincethePsychopathologyofEverydayLifethingshavechanged.Thisbookisolatedandmadeanalyzablethingswhich
hadheretoforefloatedalongunnoticedinthebroadstreamofperception.(1969,235)

Andofcoursethefactthatphenomenalike"Freudianslips"wereunnoticedandunnameddoesnotmeanthattheydidnotexist.
EventhoughanarrowlyFreudianapproachwillnotgiveusthetotality,orperhapsevenscratchthesurface,ofourplay'smeaning,weshouldnotturnawayfromthe
areasofmeaningthatitdoesilluminateinawaythatnoothermethodcan.Thus,paceVernant'scautionaryremarks(1972,11011),weshouldnotentirelydismiss
Jocasta'sdreamstatementaboutthedesireofmentosleepwiththeirmothersortheoneiricstatusassignedtothisvision.Itisseveraldegreesremovedfromthe
immediate,dramaticrealityoftheeventsonthestage,butitisalsoonlyalevelortwobehindthemysteriousoraclesortheshadowy,elusiveeventsofOedipus'past.
ThefictionoftheplayenablesSophoclestokeepsucheventsinthedreamworldofhypothesisandimaginationunlikeFreud,hedoesnotsuggestthatsuchactionsare
mentaleventsinactualindividuals.AsJeanStarobinskihasobserved,forFreud"atendencyrediscoveredinthehistoryofchildhood...ismadeexplicitanduniversal
throughtheOedipusmyth,whereastheSophocleantragedytakesontheguiseofadreamandisseenastherealizeddesireofasubjectivityidenticalwithhumanity
itself"(1989,166).
The"oedipal"actionsanddesireswithinSophocles'playcontributetocreatingaworldofemotionalphenomena,whatwemaycallits"imaginary,"itsimagedirected
evocationofareasofconsciousandunconsciousorsubconsciousthoughtprocessesthatwecanreachonlybyintuitionandleapsoftheimagination.Thereisenough
intheplaytowarranttheexistenceofsuchan"imaginary,"andFreudintuitivelygraspedit.WeneednottrytopsychoanalyzeOedipusasifhewerearealperson,but
wecanscrutinizethepatternsoflanguageintheoneiricrealmofthosedangerousdesiresandaggressionsthatmakeupthesubstanceoftheplayandhere,asIhave
triedtoshow,Freud'sinsightsareindeedfruitful.
MysecondpointhastodowiththefactthattheOedipusworkssopowerfullyuponusbecauseitcombinesthevisualenactmentofgrippingevents,ofalifestory,
withadeepandsubtleprobingoftheparadoxesofalanguagethatbothconcealsandreveals.Atextuallyorientedand

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linguisticallysophisticatedFreudianapproachtoliterature,suchasthatadumbratedbyShoshanaFelman,goesbeyondtheuncodingofsymbolsinaonetoone
equationwithmaleorfemalegenitalia(likeOedipus'staff/scepterorthetripleroad,respectively)andenablesustoviewreadingitselfasaninteractiverelation
betweentheunconsciousofthetextandtheunconsciousofthereadersothatwecanrecognizeourcooperationandinvolvementwiththetextinthecreationof
meaning(1977,197ff.).Freudoffersnomagickey,buthisapproachisitselfamethodofinterpretiveunveilingthatanswerstothewayinwhichtextslureusintotheir
secretsandintotheprocessofuncoveringtheirsecrets.20
ThedramatizedactionsoftheOedipusareasearchforknowledge,buttheyequallyconstituteaseriesofrefusalstotell,theresistancetoconsciousknowledgeacted
outbyTeiresias,Jocasta,andtheOldHerdsman.Eachofthesecharactersrevealswhatheorsheknowsonlyreluctantly,andindeedinthelastcaseonlyunderthe
threatoftorture.Theplayenactsasequenceinwhichtheaudienceisledtoidentifyeitherwiththeonewhoknowsortheonewhorefusestoknow.Weshiftbetween
thetwopositions,becomingbothinsidersandoutsiders,analysandsandanalysts,inturn(seeFelman1977,196203Wright1984,12931).Thisunstablesituation
ofouridentificationbuildsupthattensionthatallinterpretershaveadmiredintheplay.
Appliedinsuchaway,Freudcanprovideawayofrecognizinghowweconstructmeaningintheprojectionofourunconsciousintothosemodelsofknowingimplied
inthetexts.Heoffersawayofsuperimposing"themodelofthefunctioningofthepsychicapparatusonthefunctioningofthetext"(Wright1984,12124).The
processofreadingorseeingthusbecomesanalogoustothatoftheFreudiantransference,theprocessbywhichthepatientinpsychoanalysisrelivescrippling
emotionalconflictsbyactingthemoutunconsciouslyinhisorherrelationwiththeanalyst.Intheexperienceofthedrama,weidentifyourdeepconflictsorrepressed
wisheswiththeactorsinthework.Thisanalogy,however,alsomakesusawareoftheprecariousnessofinterpretation,sinceeveryactofinterpretationalsoincludes
someelementofrepression.21
ApplyingFreud'stheoriestotheliteraryexperiencealsoholdsthedangeroffetishizingtheprocessofreading,asitwere,byturningemotionallifeintopure
textuality.22Thisessayhasattemptedtostudyhowtheparadoxicalworkingsoflanguagemayilluminatetherepresentationoftheunconscious,atleastinliteraryart
buttheunconsciousshould

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notnecessarilybereducedonlytoafeatureoflanguage,asifitwerejustanepiphenomenonofthesignifyingprocessoflinguisticsigns.Suchanapproachbelongsto
whatwemaynow(andincreasingly)recognizeasthepoststructuralfallacy,reducingwhatcanappearonlythroughlanguagetoasolelylinguisticexistence.Itthereby
risksforgettingtheemotionalrealityofpersonalconflicts,thestrugglesbetweendesireandreality,theparalysisbroughtbyneuroticanxietyandguilt,andalltheother
formsofmentalsufferingthatFreud'stherapeuticmethodsoughttohealoralleviate.
Notes
1.AlltranslationsfromSophoclesarebytheauthor.FortheimportanceofunconsciousknowledgegenerallyintheOedipusTyrannus,seeRudnytsky(1987,269
72).
2.Foradetaileddiscussionofthisscene,seeSegal(1986,9799)alsoSegal(1993,ch.11).
3.Fortheissueoftheoneandmanyanditsimplications,seeSegal(1981,21416).Theproblemsofthispassageandthequestionofwhetherornotthe
Herdsman/Escorthasliedinhisreportcontinuestobemuchdiscussed,mostrecentlybyAhl(1991),whohasattemptedtorevivethethesisofGoodhart(1978)that
Oedipusinfactdidnotcommitthepatricide.Howeverplausiblethethesismaylook,however,itremainsunconvincingbothintermsofthedramaticconventionsthat
Sophoclesusesandintermsofthenatureofthetragiceffectoftheplay.Itdoesnot,forinstance,takeaccountoftheissueofincest,andwewouldhavetoassume,
forexample,thatJocasta'ssuicideisameresideeffectofOedipus'falseselfconviction.Nordoesthisapproachgivesufficientweighttotheoraclesinthe
backgroundandtheroleofthegods,issueswhoseimportancehasagainbeenargued,inabalancedandconvincingway,byBurkert(1991,1518,2227).Fora
systematicexaminationandcogentrefutationofGoodhart,seeRudnytsky(1987,35057).
4.TherefocusingoftheworkoftheunconsciousontheprocessesoflanguageisimplicitinFreud.See,forexample,hisfamousessays,"TheAntitheticalSenseof
PrimalWords"(1910)and"Negation"(1925),andtheanalysisoflanguagepracticedinPsychopathologyofEverydayLife(1901)andJokesandTheirRelation
totheUnconscious(1905)butitisespeciallydevelopedintheworkofJacquesLacan(1968,1977).
5.Vernant'scriticismisdirected,quiterightly,againstsomeexaggerationsanddistortionsbyD.Anzieu(LesTempsModernes245[October1966]:675715)rather
thanbyFreud,forexampleAnzieu'snotionthatinfleeingCorinth

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Oedipusis"unconsciouslyobeyinghisdesireforincestandparricide,"asifhesomehowsuspectedeventhenthatPolybusandMeropewerenothistrueparents
(Vernant1972,1034),ortheideaofCreon'sincestuousattachmenttohissisterJocasta(109).IwouldcertainlyendorseVernant'smethodologicalemphasis,to
whichIowemuch,ontracing"thiscomplexinterplayofconflicts,reversals,ambiguities...astheyareconveyedthroughaseriesoftragicdiscrepanciesor
tensions"(91).
6.InbothofJocasta'sallusionstoincesthere,moreover,the"poetic"orgeneralizingplural(nympheumata,line980polloibrotn,line981)isaccompaniedbythe
singularwordfor"mother,"whichcontributestokeepingthesituationpersonal,despiteherattempttowidenanddepersonalizetheframeofreference.This
individualizedreferencemayinpartaccountfortheineffectivenessofherattemptatreassurance.
7.Cf.Oedipus'"terribleandunfortunate,"whenhefirstreportedtheoracleinline790"terribleinsult"inline1035"terrible,"repeatedthreetimesattheshoutsand
sightsofJocasta'ssuicideandOedipus'discoveryinlines126067''terrible,mostterrible,"whenOedipusisshowntothecityinline1297f.).
8.Inadditiontoline298f.,Teiresiasspeaksof"truth"(altheia,althes)inlines349f.,355f.,368f.Intheonlyotherreferenceto"truth"intheplay,line501,the
chorusisalsospeakingofTeiresiasandispuzzledintheir"judgment"or"decision"abouthisaccusationsofOedipus(krisisalths).
9.Forsuggestiveinterpretationsofthisetymologicalmeaningofaltheia,seeHeidegger(1947,esp.11ff.)Detienne(1967,23ff.).
10.Ahl(1991,165)seemstometogiveinsufficientemphasistothegentlersideofOedipus'responsetothenewsofPolybus'deathinlines96172:"Notawordof
griefescapeshimwhenhehearsofPolybus'death,onlyasenseoftriumphovertheoracleandacuriousrealizationthatPolybusmighthavediedofgriefandlonging
forhim."Thisviewentirelyneglectshotlmninline962,"poorman,"andrefusestoacknowledgethesympatheticidentificationwithPolybusinthe"longing,"
pothos,whichmustbetrivializedas"curious."
11.InhiscritiqueoftheexcessesofAnzieu,Vernant(1972,1067)findsconsciousand"moretrulypsychologicalreasons"forOedipus'behavior,namelyhis
excessiveselfconfidence,pride,andfearofbeingdiscovereda"suppositious"childofMerope(i.e.,ofservilebirth)ratherthaninanypatternofunconscious
motivation.ButthepowerofSophocles'playliespreciselyintheplausibilityofthisconsciousmotivationalongsidetheunconscious.Therepressedwishesofthe
unconsciousarealwayscapableofbeingrationalizedandtherebyhidden.Whattheplaydoesistoenacttheprocessesbywhichtheserationalizingdefensesare
forcedtogivewaytotheunspeakable"truth."VernantisrighttopointoutthatSophoclesnowhereshowsOedipusasonewhodesirestheincestandthepatricide
buttheheartofFreud's

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approachliesinhisreadingoftheoracleasavoicebothexternalandinternaltoOedipus,thatis,astherepressedcontentsofhisunconscious.AsVernanthimself
acknowledges,hecarrieswithinhimselfthehiddenshadowofthetyrantwhodoesinfactbothwishandperformsuchacts:"Oedipusisunawareofthepartof
himselfthatisashadowthathecarrieswithinhimasthesinisterreflectionofhisglory"(106).
12.Theplothereisguidedbymotivesotherthanconsciouslogic,for,asmanycriticshavepointedout,OedipuscametoDelphioutofuncertaintyabouttheidentity
ofhisfatherandsostilldidnotknowwheretofleetoescapecommittingpatricide.Ahl,forexample,notesthecontradictioninOedipus'responsebutoffersno
interpretation:"Insteadofrealizingthattoavoidkillinghisfatherhemustfirstknowwhohisfatheris,herespondsasifPolybuswereinfacthisfatherandMeropehis
motheralthoughitwasuncertaintyonthispointthatfirstsenthimtoDelphi"(1991,145).
13.Theantecedentoftherelativeclause,"throughwhichheperished,"is"hands."Butitisequallypossibletounderstandlech,"bed,"astheantecedentofhnper,
''which,"withthesense,"Ipolluteinmyhandsthedeadman'sbed,throughwhichheperished."
14.Thephraseinline260,"awifeofcommonseeding,"gynaikahomosporon,thusrevealsitsdoublemeaningasboth"thewifewhoboreseedtohimincommon
withme"and"thewifeofseedincommon,"inthesenseofincestuousunionwithandbearingchildrentoherownson.
15.Presbys,"oldman,"isusedofLaiusinlines805and807,ofPolybusinline941(byJocasta),oftheCorinthianMessengerinlines1013and1121,andofthe
OldHerdsmaninline1147.Oedipusalsoaddressesthechoruscollectivelyas"Elders,"presbeis,fortheonlytimeintheplayatthearrivaloftheOldHerdsmaninline
1147.
16.Asaslave,theOldHerdsmanwouldbesubjecttointerrogationbytorture,andthiswouldberegularprocedureunderAthenianlaw.
17.NotetoothesubtleshiftinthemeaningofOedipus'relationto"theinhabitantsofthecountry,"hoiepichrioi,inlines939and1046.Insteadofbeingtherulerof
theseinhabitants(theCorinthiansin939),Oedipusmovestoanambiguousanduncertainrelationwiththem(theThebans)inline1046.
18.Ontheissueofnamingintheplay,seeSegal(1981,21112,24243).
19.See,e.g.,Ricoeur(1970,516ff.)Poole(1987,90).
20.SeeWright:"Thelureofalltextsliesinarevelation,ofthingsveiledcomingtobeunveiled,ofcharacterswhofaceshockatthisunveiling"(1984,121).
21.SeeRudnytsky:"Noworkofanalysisisevercomplete,becauserepressioncontinuestomanifestitselfintheprocessofinterpretation"(1987,51).
22.Foragoodstatementaboutthelimitationsofthis"textualization"ofexperience,seeRudnytsky(1987,333f).

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References
Ahl,F.1991.Sophocles'Oedipus:EvidenceandSelfConviction.Ithaca:CornellUniv.Press.
Benjamin,W.1969.TheWorkofArtintheAgeofMechanicalReproduction.InIlluminations,ed.H.Arendt,trans.H.Zohn.NewYork:SchockenBooks,pp.
21751.
Burkert,W.1991.Oedipus,Oracles,andMeaning:FromSophoclestoUmbertoEco.TheSamuelJamesStubbsLecture.UniversityCollege,Universityof
Toronto.
CarneRoss,D.S.1990.Jocasta'sDivineHead:EnglishwithaForeignAccent.Arion,3dseries,1.1:10641.
Detienne,M.1967.LesmatresdevritenGrceancienne.Paris:Maspero.
Felman,S.1977.TurningtheScrewofInterpretation.InLiteratureandPsychoanalysis.TheQuestionofReading:Otherwise,ed.S.Felman.YaleFrench
Studies55/56:94207.
Freud,S.1990.TheInterpretationofDreams.InTheStandardEditionoftheCompletePsychologicalWorksofSigmundFreud,ed,andtrans.J.Stracheyet
al.,24vols.London:HogarthPress195374vols.4and5.
.1919.The"Uncanny."S.E.17:21956.
Goodhart,S.1978.LeistasEphaske:OedipusandLaius'ManyMurderers.Diacritics8.1:5571.
Hay,J.1978.LameKnowledgeandtheHomosporicWomb.Washington,DC:Univ.PressofAmerica.
Heidegger,M.1947.PlatonsLehrevonderWahrheit.Berne:Francke,pp.552.
Knox,B.M.W.1957.OedipusatThebes.NewHaven:YaleUniv.Press.
Lacan,J.1968.SpeechandLanguageinPsychoanalysis,trans.A.Wilden.Baltimore:JohnsHopkinsUniv.Press.
.1977.Ecrits:ASelection,trans.A.Sheridan.NewYork:Norton.
Poole,A.1987.Tragedy:ShakespeareandtheGreekExample.Oxford:Blackwell.
Ricoeur,P.1970.FreudandPhilosophy,trans.D.Savage.NewHaven:YaleUniv.Press.
Rudnytsky,P.L.1987.FreudandOedipus.NewYork:ColumbiaUniv.Press.
Segal,C.1977.SynaesthesiainSophocles.IllinoisClassicalStudies,2:8696.
.1981.TragedyandCivilization:AnInterpretationofSophocles.Cambridge,MA:HarvardUniv.Press.
.1986.InterpretingGreekTragedy:Myth,Poetry,Text.Ithaca:CornellUniv.Press.
.1993.Sophocles'OedipusTyrannus:TragicHeroismandtheLimitsofKnowledge.TwayneMasterworksSeries.NewYork:Macmillan.

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Starobinski,J.1989.HamletandOedipus.InTheLivingEye,trans.ArthurGoldhammer.Cambridge,MA:HarvardUniv.Press.pp.14870.
Vernant,J.P.1972.OedipuswithouttheComplex.InVernantandP.VidalNaquet,MythandTragedyinAncientGreece,trans.J.Lloyd.NewYork:Zone
BOoks,1988,pp.85111.
Wright,E.1984.PsychoanalyticCriticism:TheoryinPractice.LondonandNewYork:Methuen.

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Five
TheOedipusMyth:
AnAttemptatInterpretationofItsSymbolicSystems
VassilkaNikolova
ThischapterisinspiredbyAristotle'sideathatthinkingandknowledgearethedrivingforcesinhumanlife.Inwhatfollows,Ishalltrytorevealthattheseforcesare
alsotobefoundatthesemanticbaseofthewellknownmythofOedipus,thetyrantofThebes.
In1897,whenFreudfirstglimpsedtheOedipuscomplexinalettertoFliess,herevivedthisancientmythonthegroundofmedicineandpsychology.Inhiswritingson
creativity(1908,1910a,1910b),Freudpointedouttheconnectionbetweenliteratureandhealthandbetweenpopularmythsandunconsciousmotives.Thegeniusof
AristotleanticipatedthisimportantaspectofFreud'sdiscoveryoftheunconscious,forhewasthefirsttonotetherelationshipbetweenliteratureandmythsand
betweenartandhealth.
InthePoetics(1449b),Aristotleproposedthattheeffectofartonthebeholderisanalogoustoapurgewhichhecalledcatharsisand,whatismore,heconcluded
thatthesoulofdramaisnotethos(character)butmythos(plot).Usually,whenspeakingabouttheseproblems,scholarsdonotconsiderthechain"mythart
catharsishealth"andtheytrytoexplainAristotlemainlyonaphilosophicallevel,entirelydisregardingthefactthathewasfirstofallaphysicianwhoviewedmanfrom
a

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medicalpointofviewandwhobasedhistheoryonpsychologyanditshealingpractices.Aristotle'sscientificapproachtotheproblemsofmanandtheuniverse
prescribedtheachievementofeudaimonia(happiness)throughcatharsisasthesoleandmostefficaciouscureforalldiseases(Nich.Eth.,1.4).Supportforthis
medicalinterpretationistobefoundintheworksofmanyancientauthorswhodiscussthePoetics:DiogenesLaertius(7.1.63),ClementofAlexandria(Strom.,
2.16),Cicero(Tusc.Disp.,4.8),andSeneca(DeClem.,2.5).
Integratingideologywithsocialorganization,mythisalwaysusedadhoctofulfillconcreteculturalfunctions.Inaccordancewiththeirpsychologicaldisposition,the
ancientGreeksbothlivedandcreatedwithinmyths,andtheirthinkingisthusgeneratedfromcomponentswhichactasacompositewholebutdonototherwise
interact.ThismosaicqualityofmythsiswellsuggestedbyFreud'sideathat"allgenuinelycreativewritingsaretheproductofmorethanasinglemotiveandmorethan
asingleimpulseinthepoet'smindandareopentomorethanasingleinterpretation"(1900,266).
InthemythofOedipuswefindcombinationsofelementsfromdifferentmythscomprisingthe"Thebancycle,"especiallyfromthelostpoemsThebaidand
Oedipodeia,referencestowhicharefoundinmanyancientauthors.TherearethreemaincomponentsoftheAtticmythusedbySophoclesforhistragedy,even
thoughtheversionsofthemythoverthecourseofthedevelopmentofGreekcultureareinnumerable.
ThefirstandoldestcomponentofthemythisthestoryoftheSphinx,acentralfigureintheBoeotianmythologicalsystem.Theearliestversionspresentherasoneof
the"stormdemons,"symbolizingdisasterandplague,andnamehera"sacreddisease."Thesameappellationisusedlateroninmedicineforepilepsy,andthe
associationofthisdiseasewiththeSphinxisrootedinthesymbolicexplanationgivenbythedreambooksofantiquity(Artem.Oneiroc.,2.12).
Thesecondcomponentisthestoryoftheexposedchild,bothanagentandvictimoffate,symbolizingthesunhero(Achilles,Perseus,RomulusandRemus,etc.).This
childisusuallyendowedwithsacredfeet,acharacteristicelementinthemythologicalthinkingofancientpeoples,whoseceremoniesfrequentlyprescribedritual
crawlingandmaiming.Inordertojustifysuchrites,themythdepictedaherowhosefeetwerepiercedbynails,andhencehewasgiventhenameOedipus.Themost
commonlinguisticexplanationforthename,supportedbySophoclesinOedipus

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Rex(lines116973),isthatitcomesfromthewordsoidao(toswell)andpous(foot)andhencemeansprimarily"amanwithswollenfeet."
ThecombinationofthesetwobasicelementsfromthemythsoftheSphinxandOedipuswasatfirstunderstoodasasymbolicrepresentationofthepurelyphysical
conflictsbetweenthesunandstormclouds.Butchangesinthesocialconditionsbroughtaboutachangeintheinterpretation,sothatgraduallythestorydevelopedand
becameenrichedintoamythtracingthedailyoryearlycareerofthesun,whichwasbelievedtokillhisfather(thenight)andmarryhismother(thedawn).The
psychologicalmotiveforsuchaninterpretationisconnectedwiththeaweofprimitivepeopleatunknownandinexplicablenaturalphenomena.
Thisishowthemainconstituentsofthewellknownstorywereformed.Therewasonlyonethingmissingarationalefortheincestuousunionwhichsetstheplotin
motion.Forthatpurposethepopularideaofriddleswasused,whichgavethethirdcomponentofthestructureofthemyth.Infact,theriddlecombineselementsfrom
twoBoeotianfolktales:(1)thestoryofakingwhooffershisdaughter'shandtothemanwhowouldkillthemonstertorturinghiskingdomand(2)thetaleofaTheban
queenwhosetshersuitorsthreeriddles(thelastoneofwhichinlaterversionsis"theriddleoftheSphinx").Inthisplot,theessentialfeaturetobenotedisthat
marriageandthethronecometotheheroasaprizeforhiswisdom.
ThesewerethesourcesoutofwhichthefamousmythofOedipuswascreated.Sophocleshimselfcalledthestory"aparadigmofacommonlaw"(line1193)andthis
maybethebestexplanationforitspopularitythroughouttheages.YetitshouldberememberedthatFreud(191617,15865)comparedmythstothesecular
dreamsofyouthfulhumanityandthatMarx(1971,133)intheGermanIdeologyconsideredGreekantiquitytobethechildhoodofhumansociety.Theseremarks
makeitobviouswhytheOedipusmythshouldappealtothehumanraceatdifferentstagesofitsdevelopment:itisadreamfromthechildhoodofmankindthat
touchesthepsychicexperienceofallpeople.But,asMarxhasremindedusintheCommunistManifesto,man'sconsciousnesschangeswitheverystageinthe
materialandsocialconditionsoflife(1971,123ff).Consequently,thereadingoftextsvarieswitheachnewhistoricalsituation,andmyths,likeallformsofimaginative
expression,alwaysadmitofvalidlyfreshexegesisonthepartoftheinterpreter.
ConvincedthattheOedipusmythdistillstheessenceofancientculture,

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Ishalltrytointerpretitssymbolicsystemonasemanticbasis,relyingmainlyonworksbyclassicalauthors.Whereverpossible,however,Ialsorangebeyondancient
sourcesfor,ifthesymbolsareconsistentwiththelaterdevelopmentofEuropeanculture,theanalogiesfollowoftheirownaccord.ButIshallnotdwelltoolongonthe
psychoanalyticinterpretationsofthesesymbols,sincetheyarewellknowntothemodernpublic.
MythandReligioninPrimitiveSociety
Itwasacommonbeliefinprimitivesocietiesthatlifebeganfromanincestuouscopulationbetweenbrotherandsister,whichwasforbiddentohumansbutconsidered
highlysacredinthesphereofmythology.ThisiswhythepresenceofOedipusandtheSphinxinthesamemythmustbeinterpretedasasymbolicexpressionofthat
idea.Indeed,severaloftheearliestversions(Pausan.,9.26.24schol.Eurip.Phoen,line26)representtheSphinxasLaius'daughter,andhenceasasisterto
Oedipus.Furthermore,themeetingbetweenOedipusandtheSphinxandhisvictoryoverher,enactedinthemythbyhisunravelingoftheriddle,symbolizessexual
intercoursebetweenmanandwomaningeneral.
Thethemeofincestappearsthroughouttheworldincosmogonictalesdepictingaprimordialpairofbrother(sun,sky)andsister(earth)asprogenitorsofthehuman
race.Forexample,Plutarch(356b358e)preservesoneofthebestEgyptianstoriesconcerningtheritualmarriageofIsistoherbrotherOsiris.Later,theRoman
writerJuliusFirmicusMaternus(4thC.A.D.)affirmedthatthesamesubjectistobefoundintheeasternreligionsofMesopotamiaandBabylon.Accordingtothe
textsofPlutarchandMaternus,theEgyptiansequatedIsiswiththeearth,andlinkedhersexualunionwithherbrotherhusbandOsiristotheideaofcopulationwith
MotherEarth,whichwasunconsciouslyrepresentedbysymbolsofploughingandplanting.
Ishallnotpursuetheanalogybetweenagricultureandincestrevealedthroughouttheworldbothintheuniversalsymbolsofvegetationandfertilitycultsandinlinguistic
usage.MoreinterestingforourpurposesisthefurtherassociationthatcanbemadewiththehelpofthisEgyptianmyth:OedipusandtheSphinx,beingaprimordial
pairofbrotherandsister,aretobeseenasprimalfatherandmotheraswell.(ToFreud'sreminderthat"themothergoddessingeneralprecededthefather
gods"[1913,149],wemayaddsistergoddessesaswell.)Thereisnodoubt

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thattheSphinxcanbeinterpretedasMotherEarth.Someoftheearlyversions(Eurip.Phoen.,line1041Apollod.3.5.8)presentherasautochthonous,atypical
expressionofthisancientbelief.ThegradualmetamorphosisoftheSphinxfromanembodimentofhostilenaturalforcesanddiseasesintooneofearthandMother
Natureisconfirmedbytheevidenceofextentstatuesandvasepaintings,whereherdemonicfeaturesgivewaytohumanandfeminineones.
AsFreudpointedout,figuresofthiskindarethereligiousequivalentofthe"phallicmother"symbolizedincultsbyobjectssuchasatotem(1910a,94).Pausanias
(1.24.5)isthefirsttonametheSphinxaneidolon(idol).C.R.Badcockwrites:"HenceshebecomesthephallicmotherandthereforesheistheMagnaMater...the
goddessofmanynames,thequeenofheaven,theparentofnature.Inhermanyguisesthegoddessrepresentsalltheaspectswhichamothershowstoherchild.She
is...anintercessorwiththefathergod,embodimentofbeauty,originofallthings"(1980,91).Inadditiontotheevidencefromvisualartthatsupportsthisidea,it
findsstrongcorroborationinancientscientificthought.
MythasPrimitiveScience
Withtheriseofphilosophyandthebeginningsofscience,religiondeclinedandanattemptatarationalexplanationofthingsdeveloped.So,uponthepreexistingmyth
oftheSphinx,individualthinkersimposedtheirphilosophicalideas.TheprimalmotherofthereligiouscultsbecameMotherNatureandwasrevealedbythefirst
scientiststobeaunionofstoicheiaorprimordialelements.InLatin,thewordmaterisundoubtedlyatthebaseofthewordmateria,whichisthesynonymforthe
Aristotelianhyle(essence).Mythologygavewaytotheconceptsofnaturalphilosophy,andtheimageoftheSphinxwasexplainedbytheIonicphilosophers,building
ontheirforerunners,asasymbolicpresentationoftheelementscomprisingthemacrocosmandthemicrososm.
ThestructuralelementswhichformthebodyoftheSphinxwoman'sfaceandbreasts,lion'sbody,eagle'swings,andthetailofaserpentwerenowconstruedas
anallegoryofearth,fire,air,andwater,whichmingleintooneanotherandtherebycreateaharmoniousstructure(Cl.Alex.Strom.,5.8.48).Thisiswhyinthenew
epochthisdemoniccreaturefromthearchaicperiodcametobeknownasthe"harmonyofnature"andthe"essenceoftheuniverse,"nameswhichrevealthe
rationalization

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ofthemythandexpressthetendencyinGreeksocietytoseenaturalcausesasunderlyingdivinephenomena.(InthefifthcenturyB.C.,Hippocrates[Demorbo
sacro,12]contendedthatthe"sacreddisease"ofepilepsyhadanaturalcause,Heraclitusseemstohavebeenaskeptic,perhapsevenanatheist,andProtagoras
waspersecutedforatheism.)Ultimately,Greekreligiondeclinedtothepointwherelivingmencouldbe"deified"andwhereonlythemysteriesandthecultof
AsclepiosatEpidaurusremained.ThisadvanceinrationalityatthehandsoftheGreeksmayremindusofBadcock'swordsconcerning"thegreatprogresswhicha
childmakesinhisintellectualapprehensionoftheworldaftertheresolutionoftheOedipusconflict"(1980,97).Certainly,innootherperiodinthehistoryofthought
dowefindthesamechildlikemixtureofnavetandlucidityofinsightasintheearlystagesofGreekphilosophy,whichisnotableespeciallyforitssenseofwonderat
theworld.
MythasPsychologyofCulture
ThesameperiodwitnessednotonlytheriseofscienceinancientGreecebutalsothegoldenageofitsart.Theturningbackfrommythtorealitymaybeseennotonly
inphilosophyandsciencebutalsointheartistictransformationswroughtbyGreekdrama.ThroughthetheatertheGreekstriedtosolvetheirproblemssex,willto
power,parentalauthorityandthustoarticulatewhatwordsalonefailedtoexpress.But,inorderforsomethingtobeunderstoodrationally,itmusthaveasense
somecoherentsemanticbasis,amatrixofmeaninginherentinlanguageandinthesymbolicsystemsoflifeitself.
IwouldlikenowtoconsidertheincestthatpropelstheplotinOedipusRex.Infact,becauseofthesymbolismwhichputsitatthecenterofawholesystem,incest
containsthepsychologicalexplanationoftheancientGreekWeltanschauung.Ontheonehand,theincestissymbolicallyrepresentedbythemeetingbetween
OedipusandtheSphinxandbyhissolvingoftheriddleontheother,itisshownliterallybyOedipus'marriagetoJocasta.Thismethodofrepresentation,inwhichtwo
partsofathemerepeatorcomplementeachotherindifferentterms,isbasictomyth.
OnekeytounderstandingtheOedipusmythisprovidedbywhatNietzschecalledthe"willtopower."Here,itisimportanttorecallthefolkversioninwhichthe
marriagetothequeencomesasaprizefor

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wisdomandbringswithitgloryandpower.Thepointisthattheearlyversionsdonotcontainanyideaofguilt,andeventhelateraccountsintroducethedeedof
patricidewiththesolepurposeoflayingthegroundworkfortheincesttocome,andnottoreproachOedipus.Amongmanyexamples,ImayadducethoseofHomer
(Od.,11.27374)andthelateversionsoftheparadoxographersSocratesofArgos(schol.Eurip.Phoen.,line45),Palaephatos(DeIncred.,4),andMallalas
(Bonn.,49),allofwhichleaveunmentionedthethemeofpatricide.TheargumentisfurthersupportedbythelatersymbolicsystemofalchemyintheMiddleAges,
whichentirelyomitstheimageofthefather.Afterall,Oedipuscanbeimaginedwithoutguiltorwithoutpatricide,butwithoutincestthemythisimpossible.
Theculturalandpsychologicalgroundforthepriorityofincestisreadilyprovidedbythemostpopularsymbolicsystemofantiquitydreaminterpretation.According
totheallegoricallanguageofdreamsthenemployed,incestuousmarriagewithone'smotherhadthemeaningofwinningthepowertorule.InhisOneirocritica(1.79,
9192),ArtemidorosDaldamus(4thC.A.D.)wrotethatthedreamofsexualintercoursewithone'smotherwasagoodsignforanypoliticianortyrant,becausethe
mothersymbolizesthecountry,thatis,MotherEarth.Suchaconstrualoftheincestuousrelationshipmayeasilybegrasped.Mantakespossessionofhiscountryasof
awomanwhosurrenderstohimandbythatactheistransformedfromacitizensontoamasterhusband.(ThereisnothingoddaboutthisbecauseArtemidorus'
explanationhasmerelypreservedatraditionhavingitssourceinwhatFreudterms"someprimaevaldreammaterial"[1900,263].)Infact,Oedipusisidentifiedasa
tyrantinthetitleofSophocles'tragedy,andJocasta,asanoffspringoftheearthbornThebans,isanobvioussymbolofMotherEarth.Thispartofthemythrevealsa
newdimensionoftheideasalreadydisclosedthroughtheimageoftheSphinx.
Peoplehavehadoedipaldreamssincetheearliestperiodoftheirselfconsciousness.InSophocles'words,"manyamanhathseenhimselfindreams/hismother's
mate"(lines112021).Givingamoderntwisttothetraditionalideaoftheroleofanalogyinmythsanddreams,Freudcitedtheselinestoupholdhisthesisthat
imaginativeworkscopewithlibidobymeansofsymbolism(1900,264).
TherearefurtherexamplesfromancientliteraturethatreinforcethepoliticalemphasisgivenbyArtemidorus.AccordingtoHerodotus

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(6.107),in490B.C.thetyrantHippiashadanincestuousdream,whichheinterpretedinthesameway.Suetonius(Caes.,7.2)attributedasimilardreamandits
interpretationtoJuliusCaesar:''hehadadreaminwhichhesawhimselfcopulatingwithhisownmother,buttheinterpretersexcitedhishopesmuchmore,sayingthat
thedreampromisedhimpower...becausethemotherhehadseenunderhimselfwasnothingbutearthregardedasaparentofalllivingthings."ThedreamofJulius
CaesarisfoundalsoinPlutarch,DioCassius,Zonnaras,andotherancientandByzantineauthors.ItisnoteworthythatinhisyouthCaesarwroteatragedytitled
Oedipus,thementionofwhichwasforbiddenbyAugustus.BoththeinstancesofHippiasandCaesararecitedbyFreudinTheInterpretationofDreams(1900,
398).
VerbalanalogiesofthiskindarecharacteristicnotonlyofthedreaminterpretersbutarealsotobefoundinPlato,agloriousinterpreterofthesymbolsintheGreek
culturaltradition.IntheRepublic(571d),hewritesthatthelifeofatyrantislikeadreaminwhichnothingcouldhamperamanfromcopulatingwithhisownmother.
Therecouldbenoclearerexpressionofthebeliefthattobeone'smother'shusbandmeanstobeatyrant.AsNilsonsays:"Inspiteoftheirdetestationoftyrants,the
Greekscouldnothelpadmiringthemastheequalsofthegods,whocouldlikewisepermitthemselvestodowhatevertheypleased"(quotedinBadcock,[1980,66]).
Incestisthusanimmemorialrepresentationatonceofextraordinarypowerandofsacredorforbiddenknowledge.
NowIshallconsidertheinterpretationsthatlinktheSphinxwithknowledgeandwisdom,asthesearedecisiveforunderstandingalltheothersymbols.Fromthe
earliestperiods,theSphinxwasregardedastheembodimentoftheunknown,anenigma,aposerofriddles,andhencealsoasthepersonificationofwisdom.Thisis
whysomelateraccountsmadeApollosendhertothepeopleandwhyshebecamethewise,mysterious,andmusicalmessengerofdivinejustice.Thetragicpoets
usedtocallherVirgoor"thewisevirgin"(Pind.frg.177Soph.OT,line393Eurip.Phoen.,lines48,1049,1353).Thisnameimmediatelysuggestsanassociationto
thegoddessAthena,thevirginpatronessofknowledge,intellect,andwisdom.SomeoftheoldeststatuesoftheSphinx,moreover,depictherwithahelmetthe
attributeofAthenawhichconfirmsAthenatobeherlatercounterpartintheguiseofagoddess.
Ontheotherhand,theGreekWeltanschauungconsideredtheSphinx

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asaparalleltoCassandraandtheSybil,andherriddlewasrelatedtoaseriesoforacularsayingsandproverbswithquiteunintelligiblemeanings.Apollodorus(3.5.8.)
affirmedthattheSphinxhadlearnedherriddlefromtheMuses,andsoalsodidSophoclesandEuripides.Thisledtothecreationofanewanalogy.Fortheauthorsof
laterperiodstheSphinxbecameaMuse.AnespeciallygoodreviewofthistransformationisgivenbyRoscher(190915,12981407),whosupportshisstatements
withpicturesfromancientvases,inwhichtheimageoftheSphinxishumanlyanimated,revealingstronglyaninnerdimensionofenigmaticandintelligentsuggestion.
MostofthesepicturesdepicttheSphinxinfrontofOedipus,whoissittingdeepinthoughtrestinghisheadonhishand(theanalogytoRodin'sstatuteisstriking).The
conclusionfollowsthatthesetwoimages,whichIhavetreatedassisterandbrotherorprimalmotherandfather,areultimatelytwosidesofhomosapiens:theenigma
anditsapocalypse,thesecretanditsundoing,theeternalwomanandtheeternalman.Finally,theSphinxisasymbolofwoman'sambiguity,whichFreudheldtobea
darkcontinentforpsychology,settingtomanthe"riddle"ofthenatureoffemininity:"Norwillyouhaveescapedworryingoverthisproblem,thoseofyouwhoare
mentothoseofyouwhoarewomen,thiswillnotapplyyouareyourselftheproblem"(1933,15455).
AsearlyasthefourthcenturyB.C.,Xanthos(Cl.Alex.Strom.,3.515)mentionedinhisMagicathecustomofthePersianMagiofcopulatingwiththeirownmothers
andsisters,observingthattobebornofsuchamarriagewasapreconditionthatenabledtheMagustopenetrateintothesupremesecrets.(Theword"Magus"isused
forthosesamesorcererswhomCicero[Dediv.,1.23]termedthe"kinofsagesandmentors.")Thisishowincestattainedthecharacterofasacredriteimpiousbut
atthesametimerevelatoryastheonlypossiblewaybywhichhumanscouldfindoutdivinesecrets.Theideaissuggestedalsobythelinguisticdata,asbothAristotle
andFreud(1910b)noted,inthephenomenonofsocalled"primalwords,"suchastheLatinsacer,whichmeansboth"sacred"and''accursed."Theantitheticalsense
oftheprimalwordsinancientlanguagesenabledFreud,byanalogy,toexplainthecoincidenceofoppositesindreams.
Inaddition,thepsychologyofarchaicsocietycloselyassociatedmagicwithhandicraftbothcalledtechneinGreekforeachtradeisaspecificformofskill
performedbyinitiatedmen.Itisinterestingtonotethatinsomeoftheoldestversionsofthemyth,OedipusisequatedwithHe

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phaistus,thedivinepatronofcraftsmen.IntheOneirocriticaofArtemidoroswereadthat"theincestuousdreamisgoodforanycraftsman,sincethecraftisusually
called'mother'"(1.79).ThisassociationhaspenetrateddeeplyintotheEuropeantradition,asthepersistenceofAlmaMaterasthemostpopularappellationfor
universitiesattests.DuringtheMiddleAgestheideaofthemaguscraftsmanthesonofhistradewhouniteswithhismotherbecameacentralthemeforalchemy
andincludedincestasastructuringprinciple.Rabinovitch(1985,6)quotesJung,whodefinesalchemyasa"symboliccreationofthecollectiveunconsciousrootedin
theculturalandbiologicaldeterminantsexistingfromimmemorialtimes."Myth,inturn,isalwaysmagical,andalchemycombinesmyth,naturalphilosophy,visualart,
andmysticism.
AtthebasisofalchemicalpracticeistobefoundtheAristoteliandoctrineofthefourelements(stoicheia)aswellasPlato'stheoryofthedemiurgeintheTimaeus.
ButalchemythelatebloomofChristiangnosticconsciousnessadoptedtheseclassicalsourcesatsecondhandandinadogmaticway.Thuswerethecosmogonic
principlesofGreekphilosophy,symbolizedbythebodyoftheSphinx,transformedintoalchemicalprincipleswhoseunificationwasinterpretedasametaphorforthe
relationofmacrocosm(theuniverse)tomicrocosm(thehumanbody),whilethecombinationofthesesameprinciplesrepresentedbyincestwasconsideredtobe
anallegoryofalchemicalprocesses.AsJungshows,thealchemistswereseekingmoreorlessconsciouslyforasubstancethatwouldhealthedisharmonybothofthe
worldandofthehumansoul(1959,354).
Evidenceconcerningthegoalofthealchemists'questistobefoundinthemanifoldtextsdealingwiththeartofobtainingsuchacureallsubstance.Inthethirteenth
century,thefamousSalernianphysicanArnoldofVillanovawrote:"Takethemother[matter]andputherinbedwithhersons[theelements],sothatshewillgivebirth
toasonsun[gold]"(Hfer1842,411).Aneighteenthcenturytextstilldescribesthepreparationofamedicineasasymbolicincestbetweentwobrothersandtheir
sister(quitesimilartothemythofIsis),butwiththenewsocialconditionsitwasinterpretedasasymbolicchildbirthandasymbolicincestgivingbirthandlifebymeans
ofdeath(Rabinovitch1985,245).
ThesetextsrecallthesymboliccopulationofOedipuswithJocastaortheSphinx,who,asIhaveargued,aretwoexpressionsofoneessence,onepolysemousimage
ofthemother.Thisideaisfurthersupportedby

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severalconsiderations.First,thereistheoriginalfolktaleofthequeenandherriddle.IntheOedipusmyth,thefunctionsofthequeenaredividedbetweentheSphinx,
whosetstheriddle,andJocasta,whoobtainsherhusbandasaresultofitssolution.AmodernfolkversionofthemythactuallydepictsJocastaandtheSphinxasone
person(Robert1915,1:4445).Thentherearethelinguisticdatafromtheancientversions,whichrevealthesymboliccorrespondencesofthemythwiththecultural
andpsychologicalperceptionsofthetime.Lexically,theGreekverbgignoskomeansboth"toknow"and"tocomeinconnectionwithsomebody,tocopulate."
Therefore,"tofindananswertotheriddle"equals''tocopulatewiththewomanwhoaskstheriddle."(Thisiswhytheancientfolkversionspresenttheguessingofthe
riddleasaconditionforandanalogoustothenightoflove.)Thereisalsotheverboida,meaning"togainknowledge,"whichisfrequentlyusedinthesenseof"tobe
intimatelyawareofawoman."WefinditusedthusbyMenander(frg.372),Plutarch(Alex.,21Galba,9),Callimachus(Epigr.,58.3),andevenintheSeptuagint
(Gen.,4:1).
ItisthusclearthattheWeltanschauungoftheancientGreeksimputedtoverbsofknowledgeasenseoferoticpossessionandpenetrationintothemostsacred
humansecrets.ThislinguisticmaterialenablesustofindameaningencodedinthenameofOedipusbeyondthepreviouslymentionedinterpretationofa"manwith
swollenfeet."For,inadditiontooidao(toswell),inthenameofOedipusisalsotobefoundtheverboida,theconnectionofwhichtoknowledgeishintedatby
AristotleinthePoetics(1452a)whenhewritesthat"recognition,asisshownbytheword,meanstobearinmindasaresultofexperience."Suchadefinition
coincideswiththeimageofthethinkerseenonGreekvases,aswellaswiththeinterpretationoftheSphinxasasymbolofwisdom.Whatismore,thereisabundant
evidencefromfolkloretosuggestthattheriddlehastobeinterpretedasapopularversionofthefamousinscriptiononthetempleatDelphignothiseauton("know
thyself")whichmarksthebeginningofphilosophicalandmedicoscientificinterestsinGreece.
Theactofincestisthereforesymbolicallyassociatedwithextraordinarypowerandextraordinaryknowledge,andmakestheseinterchangeablewitheachother.
Knowledgeispower.Thesamenexusalsounderliestheconceptoftechnologyaspecialkindofknowledgethatenablesman

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tomasterthesecretsoftheuniverse,butleaveshimunawareofhisinnerself.Atthecloseofantiquity,thesethreelustsofincest,power,andknowledge
symbolicallyrepresentedinthelegendbythecrossroadswhereOedipuskillshisfatherweregivenbySt.Augustine(Deciv.,14.15)thefamousnamesoflibido
carnalis,libidodominandi,andcuriositas.
Theassociationofknowledgewithpowerandwithman'saspirationtoadivinelevelofexistenceisfundamentaltothepsychologyofpeopleintheancientworld.For,
asaviolationofhumantaboos,incestisalsoaviolationoftheboundariesbetweenhumananddivinerealmsthatis,anactofselfdivination.ThisiswhyOedipus
assumestheprerogativesofdivinityandputshimselfinthepositionoftheprimalfatherinrelationtothecitizensofThebes.Yetthearroganceofseekingtorivalthe
Creatoralsocausesmantobesmittenbyblindness,forblindnesssymbolizestheturninginwardofvision.Pertinenthereisthetraditionalimageoftheblindpoet.Like
Oedipus,theartistisguiltyofthesinofhubrisbecausethearroganceofhispassiontocreatecauseshimtorivaltheCreator.Inbrief,eyesmaygiveusknowledgeof
thesurfaceofthings,butnotoftheiressence.Fromitsearliestperiods,thepsychologyofGreekcultureequatedeyeswiththedeceptivenessoftheworldand,
accordingtothatlogic,thesagetheinterpreteroftheessencehadtobeblind.
Thus,theselfblindingoftheblindlyseeingOedipusmakeshimintoablindseer,andtransformssurfacesintoessences.Indeed,visionandblindnessareanalogousto
thenaturalcycleoflightanddarknessandtotherhythmofwakingandsleeping,inwhichallimaginativelifebegins.Henceart,whichPlatocalled"adreamfor
awakenedminds,"seemstohaveasitsfinalcausetheresolutionofthisantithesis,theminglingofthesunandthehero."Ithink,"wrotePlutarch,"thattheGreeks
namedmanphos[light]becauseofthefactthatineachhumanbeingtherelivesoneessentialdesiretoknowothersandtobecomeknowntohimself"(Delat.viv.,
14.6).ThesewordsstrikinglycorrespondtotheversesbyAeschylus(Sept.,lines541ff.)wheretheSphinxisnamedphosasasymbolofsophia(wisdom).Thesame
meaningwaslaterassignedbytheRomanstothenameLuciferandtherebypassedintotheEuropeanculturaltradition.Thetemptingdevilwholiveswithineachofus,
rackingourbrainstoseektheunknownthatleadsinevitablybacktoourinnerself,bearsanamethatcorrespondstothemaximgnothiseauton.

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References
Badcock,C.R.1980.ThePsychoanalysisofCulture.Oxford:Blackwell.
Freud,S.1900.TheInterpretationofDreams.InTheStandardEditionoftheCompletePsychologicalWorks,ed.andtrans.J.Stracheyetal.,24vols.
LondonHogarth,195374,vols4and5.
.1908.CreativeWritersandDayDreaming.S.E.,9:14353.
.1910a.LeonardodaVinciandaMemoryofHisChildhood.S.E.,11:63137.
.1910b.TheAntitheticalMeaningofPrimalWords.S.E.,11:15561.
.1913.TotemandTaboo.S.E.,13:1161.
.191617.IntroductoryLecturesonPsychoAnalysis.S.E.,vols.15and16.
.1933.NewIntroductoryLecturesonPsychoAnalysis,S.E.,22:7192.
Hfer,J.C.F.1842.Histoiredelachimie,2vols.Paris:Hachette.
Jung,C.G.1959.ArchetypesofCollectiveUnconsciousness,trans.R.F.C.Hull.InCollectedWorks,vol.9.London:Routledge.
Marx,K.1971.TheThoughtofKarlMarx,ed.D.McLellan.Harmondsworth:Penguin.
Rabinovitch,A.1985.AlchemyasaPhenomenonofMedievalEuropeanCulture.Sofia:Naukaiiskustvo.(InBulgarian.)
Robert,C.1915.Oidipous:GeschichteeinespoetischenStoffsimgriechischenAltertum,2vols.Berlin:WeidmannischeBuchhandlung.
Roscher,W.H.190915.LexiconderMythologie,vol.4.Leipzig:Teubner.

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Six
RecognitioninGreekTragedy:
PsychoanalyticonAristotelianPerspectives
BennettSimon
MyaiminthischapteristoarguethatpsychoanalyticperspectivesonAristotle'suseofrecognition(anagnorisis)amplifytheimportofthesetermsinAristotleinfact,
theyconstituteakindof"recognition"ofwhatislatentinAristotle'shighlycompressedandtersecommentsinthePoetics.UndoubtedlyAristotle'sconceptitself
plantedaseedforthedevelopmentofpsychoanalyticideasonthesubject,justashisconceptofcatharsiswasseminalforpsychoanalysis(Simon1978,137,140
44).Greektragedy,especiallySophocles'OedipusRex,inturnprovidedaninstantiationforbothAristotleandFreudofwhatconstituted"recognition."
Correspondingly,AristotleandFreudeachdevelopedanexpandedinterpretationofthesignificanceofrecognitioninOedipusRex.
TheRoleofRecognitioninAristotle
AswithanyofthekeytermsinthePoetics,thereisroomforagreatdealofcontroversyaboutthemeaningandthesignificanceofanagnorisis.
IthankAmelieRortyforherconsiderablehelp,bothwiththesubstanceandwithorganizationofthischapter,particularlyinregardtomosteffectiveuseoftheclinicalmaterial.
Also,thankstoAmyandLeonKassforanimportantdiscussiononselfrecognitioninAristotle'sEthicsandtoPeterRudnytskyforhisthoughtfulcritiqueandediting.

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Inwhatfollows,Iwillargue,basedpartlyonmyownreadingofAristotleandpartlyonthatofGeraldElse,thatanagnorisisconstitutesapivotalconceptinthe
structureandargumentofthePoetics.1
Recognitionisoneofthekeysforthedramaticallysuccessfulrepresentationandresolutionoftheterribleeventsintragedy.Howdoplaywrightsrenderthestories
thatconstitutetragicplotsinsuchaformthataudiencescanviewandenjoythem?Thisisthequestion,Ibelieve,thatAristotle'sformaldiscourseonthestructureand
functionoftragicdramas(aswellasofpoetryingeneral)implicitlyaddresses.Theexampleheselectstodemonstratethepleasurewederivefrommimesisseeing
picturesof"despisedanimalsandofcorpses"adumbrateshispositionthattragedygivesuspleasurebyvirtueofitsabilitytorepresent(orimitate)somereallyawful
things(1448b,1011Sinaiko1984,449).2
Aristotlediscussestragedyfromthepointofviewoftheformaldevicesthatimplementtheproperfunctionoftragedythemimesisofasignificantaction,themimesis
ofabiosofaperson.Butheassumesthatthestuffofwhichthegreattragediesaremademustcorrespondtosomethingfundamentalinourownpsychology.In
general,Ibelievehelocatesthatwhichisfundamentalentaisphilais,inourfamilyrelationshipsandinourfeelingsaboutthem.Prominentinourpsychological
endowmentisthecapacityforrecognitionand,astragedyteachesus,thecapacityformisrecognitionandnonrecognitionaswell.Jocastadoesnotrecognizethatthe
youngmanwhohasdefeatedtheSphinx,marriedher,andbegottenchildrenwithherisherownson.Evenmorebrutally,Clytemnestra,havingfailedinTheLibation
BearerstorecognizethatthestrangerfromPhocisisherownson,recognizeshimasthesnakemurdereronlyasheapproachesherwithanax.AndforAgave,inThe
Bacchae,thelionthatshehashuntedinBacchicecstasyandtornlimbfromlimbprovestobeherson,asequenceofmisrecognitionfollowedbyrecognitionthatis
oneofthemostpainfulinliterature.Heracles,too,inEuripides'MadnessofHeraclesmistakeshisownchildrenforhisenemies,slaysthem,andconvertshispalace,
recentlybesiegedbyhisactualenemy,intothepalaceofanenemythatheisbesieging.Theserecognitionsandmisrecognitionsarepowerful,horrible,andpainful.
TheimportanceofrecognitionforAristotleresidesnotonlyinitspowerasatechnicaldevice,butinthewayitoverlapswithotherkeytermsinhisthoughtmimesis,
hamartia,catharsis,andmetaphor.Tragicrecognitionsinvolveaformofselfrecognition,anenhancementofthe

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appreciationandawarenessofwhooneis,especiallyasdeterminedbykinshipties.AlthoughAristotledoesnotenunciatethispropositionineitherthePoeticsorany
otherofhisworks,itcanbeshowntobecompatiblewithhisbeliefs.Asweshallsee,apsychoanalyticinterpretationofAristotlemakesthisassumptionexplicit.
AccordingtoAristotle,"recognition,asinfactthetermitselfindicates,isashiftfromignorancetoawareness,pointingeithertoastateofclosenaturalties(blood
relationship)ortooneofenmity,onthepartofthosepersonswhohavebeeninaclearlymarkedstatuswithrespecttoprosperityormisfortune"(Poetics,52a,30
32trans.Else).AsElseexplicatesAristotle'smeaning:
Tragicrecognitionisthediscovery,byapersonwhohasbeeninaclearlydefinedstatusof"happiness"or"unhappiness,"oftheidentityofanaturallydearpersonwithwhomhe
hasbeeninvolved,orisindangerofbeinginvolved,inafatalact....Theeffectoftherecognition,ingeneral,istouncoverahorriblediscrepancybetweentwosetsof
relationships:ontheonehandthedeeptiesofblood,ontheotheracasualorrealrelationofhostilitythathassupervenedorthreatenedtosuperveneuponit...[i]tsemotional
power...dependsonthetensioninherentinthisdiscrepancyultimately,therefore,uponthedeepseated,immemorialpowerofthetabooagainstthesheddingofkindred
blood....Recognitionisinfactawayinwhichtheemotionalpotentialinherentincertainhumanssituationscanbebroughttoitshighestvoltage,sotospeak,atthemomentof
discharge.Itisevident,then,howfarAristotleisfromregardingrecognitionmerelyasa"plotdevice,"amatteroftechnique.Tragicrecognitionisindeedatechnicaldevice,but
itsraisond'treisitspowertoconcentrateanintenseemotionalchargeuponasingleevent,achangeofawarenessforinthatmetabolthewholedepthofahumantragedycan
be"contained.''(1967,35253)

Althoughrecognitionisnotanecessaryingredientoftragedy,sinceonly"complex"butnot"simple"plotscontainscenesofrecognition,Aristotleclearlyvaluesand
praisesthoseworkswhereitisimportant,suchasOedipusRex,IphigeniainTauris,andHomer'sOdyssey.
Elsefurtherarguesthatthedifficultconceptofhamartia,whichliterallymeans"missingthemark,"asinarchery,butiscommonlyrendered"tragicflaw,"isillustrated
byafailureofrecognition,andthatsuchafailuremayindeedbewhatAristotlemeansbyhamartia:
Recognitionisachangeexagnoiaseisgnosin[fromignorancetoknowledge]mightnothamartiabetheagnoia[ignorance]fromwhichthechangebegins?Moreovertragic
recognition,orthebesttragicrecognition,isadiscoveryoftheidentityofa"dear"person,abloodrelativeitfollowsthattheprecedentha

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martiawoulddenoteparticularlyamistakeorerrororignoranceastotheidentityofthatperson.(1967,379mytranslationsofGreekphrases)

Elserealizestheboldnessofthesuggestion,butconvincinglyproposesthat"thecorrelationofhamartiaandrecognitionasinterdependentpartsofthebesttragicplot
explainseverythingthatAristotlesaysaboutbothofthem....Ourfindingsshowthathamartiaalsoisapartoftheplot"(385).FromElse'sperspective,hamartiais
organicallyrelatedtotheprocessesofrecognitionandnonrecognition.Toexpandonhisdiscussion,itisclearthatAristotlecannotmeancomplete"ignorance,"but
ratheranignoranceornonrecognitionthatadumbratesgroundsforthenotknowing.Ifthereisnoreasonfortheprotagonisttofailtorecognizesomeone,thenadeity
musthaveamotivetoproducethatfailure.InTheLibationBearers,chieflyhumanmotivesaresuggestedforClytemnestra'snonrecognitionofhersonbothhuman
anddivinemotivesareoperativeinAgave'smisrecognitioninTheBacchae,whileinTheMadnessofHeraclesdivinemotives,howeverobscure,aremoreprominent
thanhumanmotives.Butinalltheseinstances,frombothanAristoteleanandapsychoanalyticperspective,thereisenoughevidencetocausetheaudiencetosuspect
thatthereissomemethodtotheconstructionoftheignorance.Iwould,then,readhamartiaasreferringtothissortofignorance,asortofwhichweareallperfectly
capablegiventhepropercircumstances,becauseitarisesfromafullengagementwiththeambiguities,conflicts,anduncertaintiesoftheworld.
Asanagnorisisisconnectedtohamartia,soisitalsotomimesis,sincebothrefertoarecognitionoftheessentialelementsthatcharacterizeapersonorobject.In
thissense,anagnorisisandmimesisarebothspeciesofthegenusofthecognitiveaffectiveactivity"definingtheessentials."3 Elsearguesthattherecognitionofan
objectviaamimesis(implicitinAristotle'sargumentat48b,424)entailstherecognition"thatheorsheisasoandso,"anexampleofthespeciesofthusandthus.
Thoughthetermanagnorisisisnotusedhere,thispassageimpliesthatunlesstheobjectinquestionhaspreviouslybeenseenandknowntotheviewer,therewillbe
nopleasureintheactofimitation,butmerelyinlocaldetailsofcolororform.Thus,thepleasurederivedfromanimitationdependsuponsomeprocessofre
cognition.Inthislineofargument,itispossibletoseethatawriter'srepresentationofatraditionalcharacterconstitutesaninterpretationofafacetofthatcharacterthat
hadhithertonotbeenobviousoremphasizedinthemythorotherversionsofthedrama.The

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formoftheinterpretation,wereittobestatedasaproposition,mightbe,forexample:Thisbehaviorisaspeciesofthegenus"selfdeception."
ThefourthStasimonofSophocles'Antigoneisaninstanceofthechorusmakinganinterpretation:thechorusinterpretstheconflictbetweenAntigoneandCreon,
especiallyCreon'sbehavior,viathemythofDane,asanexampleofthespecies"difficultfatherdaughterinteractionswherethefatherwillnotgiveuphisdaughter
toamarriage"(Simon1984,42426).Suchananalogyhasbroadreverberations.Infact,Creonwillnotallowhisson,Haemon,tomarryAntigone,buthisfightwith
AntigonealsohastheemotionalovertonesofthetypicalfatherinGreekmythwhocannotrelinquishadaughter.Atadeeperlevelofemotionalreverberation,this
couplingofAntigoneandCreonbelongswithtalesofbothparentalandsiblingincestuousbinding,sothatAntigonePolyneices,OedipusJocastaandtheirchildren,
andCreonAntigoneallhaveacommondenominator.
Likerepresentations,metaphorsarticulatesimilarities.Moreover,metaphor,likemimesisandanagnorisis,canalsobeseenasaformofperspective,oftenanew
perspective,andhenceasaspeciesofinterpretation.AristotlebrieflycommentsonmetaphorneartheendofthePoetics,whereheassignsitaprivilegedplaceamong
thepoeticgifts:"butbyfarthemostimportantmatteristohaveskillintheuseofmetaphor.Thisskillis...asignofgenius.Fortheabilitytoconstructgood
metaphorsimpliestheabilitytoseeessentialsimilarities(togareumetaphereintotohomoiontheoreinestin)1459a(trans.L.Golden,GoldenandHardison
1981).
AsHumphreyMorrishaspointedouttome,theLatinatetranslationofmetaphorais"transference"thissuggeststhatthepatient'stransferenceexperiencedinanalysis
isakindofmetaphor.Abriefclinicalvignettecanserveasanillustration.
Ayoungmalepatientadoreshismaleanalyst,repeatedlyexpressinggreatgratitude,butoccasionallyandunpredictablygettingsurlyandrebelliouswiththeanalyst.
Thepatientexclaimsthat"wewereswimmingalongsonicelyandsuddenlysomethinghasgonewrongbetweenus."Theanalystputsthismetaphortogetherwiththe
patient'shistoryofanintenserelationshipwithhishighschoolswimmingcoachandmakestheinterpretationthatthepatienthasbeenrelatingtohimonthemodelofhis
relationshiptothatcoach.Idealization,gratitude,and,apparently,fitsofrebellionarepartofthecurrentpicture,andtheymusthavebeen

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allpartoftherelationshipwiththecoach.Thepatientthenrealizesthatthetimeshehadgottenangrywiththecoachweretimeswhenthecoachseemedeither
inattentivetohimormoreattentivetoanotherswimmer.Thepatientcontinuesandsayshowclarifyingthisisheneverunderstoodhoworwhyhegotsoangrywith
thecoach.Theanalystnowaddsthattherecentoccasionwhenthepatientwassuddenlysurlywiththeanalysthadtodowiththeanalyst'shavingbeencalledaway
unexpectedlyforanemergencyandhavingtocancelasession.
Herewemaynotethatthepsychoanalyticconceptsoftransferenceandinterpretationareintrinsicallyconnected.Whiletheanalyst'sinterpretationoftheevolving
transferenceisconsideredthepsychoanalyticactivityparexcellence,wemustaddthatestablishingthetransferenceinvolvesanactofcreation,offindingasimilarity,
onthepatient'spart.Transferencemanifestationshelptocaptureandarticulateaspectsoftheanalyst'sworkorperson,ofwhichneithertheanalystnorthepatienthad
previouslybeenfullyaware.Inthisinstancetheanalystisthebelovedcoach,whofromtimetotimedisappointshisyoungathlete.Theunderstandingofboththepast
historyandthepresentsituationisclarifiedbytheseveraldifferentkindsof"findingsimilarities"thatcharacterizetheactivitybothoftheanalystandthepatient.
Formanycontemporaryanalysts,thepatient'sconstructingandreconstructingofhisorherpastisthusaformofinterpretationandconstitutesthebasicmentalactivity
thatisscrutinizedintheanalysis.Freud'searlyideaofNachtrglichkeit("afterrecognition"or"deferredaction,"theafterprocessingofatraumaoramemory)
impliesboththatthepatientlaterreinterpretsanearlier"event"asatraumai.e.,namesit,categorizesit,"recognizes"itforwhatitwasandalsothatthis''after
recognition"isthemethodbywhichtheearlyeventisfullyactivatedandexperienced(Modell1990).
Letusturntoanotheraspectofrecognition,thequestionofwhetherornotanagnorisisofsomeoneelseimplicitlyinvolvessomesortofselfrecognition.Maxwell
Anderson,writingasaplaywrightaboutrecognitionscenesinGreektragedyandconsideringthecentralrolethatAristotleascribestorecognition,says:
Nowscenesofexactlythissortarerareinmoderndramaexceptindetectivestoriesadaptedforthestage.ButwhenIprobedalittlemoredeeplyintothememorablepiecesof
Shakespeare'stheatreandourownIbegantoseethatthough

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modernrecognitionscenesaresubtlerandhardertofind,theyarenonethelesspresentintheplayswechoosetoremember.Theyseldomhavetodowithanythingsonaveas
disguiseortheunveilingofpersonalidentity.Buttheelementofdiscoveryisjustasimportantasever.Forthemainspringinthemechanismofamodernplayisalmostinvariably
adiscoverybytheheroofsomeelementinhisenvironmentorhisownsoulofwhichhehasnotbeenawareorwhichhehasnottakensufficientlyintoaccount(1939,116)

Andersonheresuggeststhatthepostclassicalequivalentofrecognitionistobefoundinselfdiscovery.Whilethisistrueenough,hedoesnottakeintoaccountsome
ofthegreatplotsofrecognitionandnonrecognitioninShakespeare,especiallyKingLear.Cordelia'sawakeningofLearandhissimultaneousrecognitionofboth
herselfandhimselfisoneofthemostpowerfulinallofliterature,aspowerfulinitsownwayasOedipus'recognitionofwhoheisandtowhomheiskin.
BoththetruthandthedistortioninAnderson'scharacterizationofmoderndramaareilluminatingforourpurposes.Oursisapsychologicalage,stronglyinfluencedby
Freud,whowas,inturn,partofaliterarycultureofgrowinginwardnessinthesecondhalfofthenineteenthcentury."Selfdiscovery"hasbeenamajorthemein
modernliteratureanddramasinceIbsen,justastheselfhasemergedasasubjectofparticularpreoccupationindramaofthelastfewdecades,whetherinits
hypertrophiedpresenceorinitsallegeddisintegrationandnonexistence.Indeed,somemodernplaysprobealiterallossofself,acompletefailureofselfrecognitionin
theformofclinicalamnesia,withalltheattendantconsequences.PrimeexamplesincludePirandello'sHenriIVandGiraudoux'sTravellerwithoutBaggage.Inthe
former,ayoungItalianaristocratcommitsamurderofarivalatahistoricalpageant,thenfallsoffhishorse,hitshishead,andbecomesdelusionallyconvincedheis
HenriIVofCanossa.Toprotectwhatisleftofhisfragileequilibrium,heisallowedtoorganizeacourtandkeepsoldierstomaintainthisdelusion.Afteranumberof
years,thefamilydecidestohireadoctortotryandcurehim.Onebeginstoseehisdelusionwaver,andhisstrugglebetweenrenouncingandholdingontoit.The
doctor'sstrategymisfires,as"Henri"againcommitsamurderandannouncesattheendthatnowhemustremainHenriforever.Giraudoux'splayexploresboththe
intrapsychicandthefamilialcontextsofwhyandhowamanwithanamnesiaandlossofpersonalidentity,allegedlyduetoshellshockinthe

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GreatWar,shouldbereluctanttoregainthatidentity.Asherecognizesthegreed,betrayal,lying,andbrutalityinthefamilythatprobablyishis,hebecomesclearer
aboutwhyheisbetteroffwithoutmemory.
PlayssuchasthesecombinetheliteralrecognitionthemesofGreektragediesandthethemesofdiscoveryofsomethinginoneselfinmoderndramaascharacterizedby
MaxwellAnderson.TheyalsoforgealinkbetweenAristotelianandpsychoanalyticperspectivesonrecognition.Fortheseplays,usingconcretescenesofrecognition
andnonrecognition,makeexplicitwhatisimplicitintheancientworksthemotives,consciousandlessthanconscious,fornonrecognition.Theyexpanduponthe
relativelyschematictermsofGreektragedyandAristotelianphilosophyhavingtodowithvolitionandconsciousknowledge,dichotomiessuchaswillingunwilling,
knowingnotknowing(Schtrumpf1989).Bothplaysmakemoreexplicitthanmostothermoderndramasthatevenafailureof"selfrecognition"isnotanautisticact,
butrathertakesplaceinafamilialandsocialcontextthatisdeterminedbywhooneisinrelationtokinandwhereonebelongsinthesequenceofgenerations.The
importanceofeventsentaisphilais,amongthosewhoarenearanddear,unitesancient,Shakespearean,andmoderndrama,eventhoughthemoredetailed
examinationandrepresentationoftheintrospectiveworldoftheprotagonistsinmoderndramamayobscurethatcommonality(Simon1988).
WhilemodernreadersofGreektragediestakeitforgrantedthatmisrecognitionandnonrecognitionofanotherpersoninthoseplayssignalafailureoftheprotagonist
torecognizeapartofherselforhimself,itisfairtoaskwhetherAristotlemadeasimilarassumption.AlthoughnothinginAristotlecontradictssuchanassumption,
explicitstatmentstothiseffectabouttragedyarelacking.MarthaNussbaumcallsattentiontothebroaderimplicationsofrecognitioninherdiscussionofAristotleon
friendship.ShecitesapassagefromtheMagnaMoraliatoshowtherelationalbasisofselfknowledge:
Nowifsomeone,lookingtohisphilos,shouldseewhatheisandofwhatsortofcharacter,thephilosifweimagineaphiliaofthemostintensesortwouldseemtohimtobe
likeasecondhimself,asinthesaying,"ThisismysecondHeracles."Since,then,itisbothamostdifficultthing,assomeofthesageshavealsosaid,toknowoneself,andalsoa
mostpleasantthing(fortoknowoneselfispleasant)moreover,wecannotourselvesstudyourselvesfromourselves,as

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isclearfromthereproacheswebringagainstotherswithoutbeingawarethatwedothesamethingsourselvesandthishappensbecauseofbiasorpassion,whichinmanyofus
obscurestheaccuracyofjudgmentsas,then,whenweourselveswishtoseeourownfaceweseeitbylookingintoamirror,similarlytoo,whenweourselveswishtoknow
ourselves,wewouldknowourselvesbylookingtothephilos.Forthephilos,aswesay,isanotheroneself.If,then,itispleasanttoknowoneself,andifitisnotpossibletoknow
thiswithouthavingsomeoneelseasphilos,theselfsufficientpersonwouldneedphiliainordertoknowhimself.(1213a,1026)

Nussbaumcomments:
Aristotle'sargumentbeginsfromafactofhumanpsychology:itisdifficultforeachofustoseeourownlifeclearlyandwithoutbias,assessingitspatternsofactionand
commitment.Oftenwelackawarenessofourownfaults,becauseweareblindedbypartialityandbyinvolvementinourownfeelingsandconcerns.Itisthereforevaluableto
studythepatternofgoodcharacterembodiedinanothergoodlife:"Itiseasierforustolookatsomeoneelsethanatourselves"(NichomacheanEthics,1169b,3334).This
reflectivelookatmodelsofgoodnessenhancesourunderstandingofourowncharacterandaspirations,improvingselfcriticismandsharpeningjudgment.Forthistobeso,the
modelinquestionmustbeapersonsimilartoourselvesincharacterandaspiration,someonewhomwecanidentifytoourselvesas"anotheroneself"forthepurposeofthis
scrutiny.(1986,364)

Theprotagonistsoftragedymorecommonlycometoselfrecognitionthroughcollisionwithanenemyoropponent,whetherhumanordivine.Aristotle'suseofthe
proverb"asecondHeracles"illuminatesthisaspectofrecognitionandselfrecognitionespeciallyifitcarriesanallusiontoEuripides'MadnessofHeracles.Heracles,
afterhismurderousmisidentificationofhisownwifeandchildren,doescometorecognizeatleastpartofhimselfasworthyofselfforgivenessandforswearssuicide.
Withthehelpofhisfatherand,aboveall,ofTheseus(whocanbeconsidereda"secondHeracles"),herealizeshimselftobeaworthycompanion,astalwarthero,
lovingandcapableofreceivingloveandforgiveness.
Nussbaum'sbookasawholepositsthatthereisasignificantoverlapbetweenAristotle'sviewofmoralstatureandmoralchoiceandtherichandcomplexportrayalof
theseissuesintragedy.But,tomyknowledge,AristotledoesnothimselfexplicitlydrawtheconclusionthatmodernwriterssuchasAndersonandpsychoanalystsdo
abouttragedyasameanstoincreasedselfrecognitioneitherbytheprotagonistsorbytheaudience.

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PsychoanalyticPerspectivesonRecognition
MostdiscussionsofAristotle'sconceptofanagnorisisfailtomakeclearthatnotbeingrecognizedbyone'sownkinisanextremelypainfulanddevastating
experience.Considerthealltoocommonsituationofthefailuresofrecognitionassociatedwithseriousorganicbraindisorders,suchasAlzheimer'sdisease.Even
thoughwerealizethatafamilymember'sfailuretoidentifyushastodowitholdageand/orbraindisease,andnotprimarilywithmotivated,letalonemalicious,
misrecognition,wecaneasilytakethisphenomenonquitepersonally.RelativesofpatientswithAlzheimer'softenexperienceenormouspainandattimes
understandableangeratnotbeingrecognizedbytheirlovedone(or,worse,bytheirambivalentlyregardedone).
Butclinicalpsychoanalyticpracticegivesusanopportunitytoexamineandunderstandlessfloridinstancesofnonrecognition:theeverydayembarrassmentatnotbeing
abletorecallthenameofortoplaceapersonwhomoneknowsquitewellandaboutwhomonemayfeelquiteambivalently."'Ididthis,'saysmyMemory.'Icannot
havedonethis,'saysmyPrideandremainsinexorable.IntheendMemoryyields."ThuswroteNietzsche,andFreud,approvingly,citesthispassageseveraltimes
(Simon1978,26063).Remembering,thinking,perceiving,recognizingtheseareallcorruptible,givensufficientmotivetodistortandtodeny.
Thecorepsychoanalyticapproachtorecognition,misrecognition,andnonrecognitionistosearchfortheunconsciousmotivethatleadstorepressionordenialofthe
personinquestion,whowilltypicallybefoundclosetohome.Failuretoacknowledgetheimportanceorexistenceofasignificantotherisavariantonthefailureto
recognize,athemeelegantlyelaboratedbyStanleyCavellinhiswritings,butmostnotablyinrelationtoShakespeare'sKingLear(Cavell1969).Sometimeswe
discoverthatapatienthasaveryselectiveamnesiaconcerningaperiodofherorhislifeoraparticularpersonfromthatperiod.Thediscoveryofthesignificanceof
suchanamnesiatheacknowledgmentandrecognitionthatensueunfoldsinthefollowingsequenceofadreamanditsinterpretation.Thematerialisabstracted
fromthetreatmentofawomanbyamaleanalyst.4
Shewasayoungmarriedwoman,ascientist,whosoughtpsychoanalytictreatmentbecauseofagoraphobiaandclaustrophobiathatsud

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denlycommencedseveralyearsaftermarriage,aswellassomeunhappinessinthatmarriageanduncertaintiesinhercareer.Shewasquiteconflictedaboutwhetheror
nottohaveababyandclearlyresentedherfamily'spressureforherto"produceagrandchild."Shepresentedherselfalternatelyasopen,curious,andeagertolearn
andasclosed,blocked,andscrupulouslycompartmentalizingdifferentareasofknowledgeaboutthepeoplearoundher.Soonafterbeginningtreatment,shealso
acknowledgedhatredforhernextyoungersister,ahatredthatshesensedwaseitherexcessiveorbynowatleastinappropriate.Welearnedaftersometimethat,
paradoxically,sherememberedmuchofthemother'spregnancywiththatsisteranddetailsaboutthatsisterasaninfantshewasbetweenthreeandfourduringthe
mother'spregnancybuthadatotalamnesiaforsimilardetailsofthemother'spregnancyandbirthofthebelovednextyoungersister,bornwhenthepatientwas
abouteight.Thisrealizationemergedinthecontextofdiscussionofherdreadabouthavingchildren:first,theyhurtyouinbeingbornandthentheytakeoveryourlife.
Shenarratedthefollowingdream,whichoccurredafteraholidaygatheringofherextendedfamily:
Thedreamisinthreeparts,butIcanonlyrememberthefirstandthethird.Themiddlepartismissing.Itisdarkthereisasphinxlikepresenceintheroom.This"presence"asks
questions.Inthefirstpartofthedreamthequestionis,"Whywereyouborn?"Inthethirdpartthequestionis,"Areyoudead?''Therewereanswers,Iknow,butIcan'trecapture
them.

BoththepatientandIwerequitestruckbytheformofthedream,andthepatientrecalledthatontheeveningofthedreamtherehadbeenaTVprogram,adetective
storypatternedafterOedipusRex,withasphinxlikecharacterwhoposeddifficultquestions.Sherealizedbothfromtheprogramandfromherownfundof
knowledgethattheriddleofthesphinxanditsanswer,"Man,"wastheframestoryofthedream.Butwherewassheas"Oedipus"?WasIthesphinx?Wasshethe
sphinx,asshealsopridedherselfonbeingenigmatic?WasshealsoOedipus?WasIanOedipustoo?5
Asherstreamofassociationsflowedoverthenextfewsessions,itemergedthattheinteractionsatthefamilygatheringconvergedaroundthequestionofwhoishaving
ababy,when,andwhysomeoneoftheappropriateageisnothavingababy.Itgraduallybecameclearertothe

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patientthatherseeminglyunresolvableconflictaboutwhetherornottohaveababyhadalottodowiththesensethatshewouldnotbeacknowledgedasafullhuman
beingandmemberofthefamilyunlessshehadachild.Sheresentedthisaswellasthecorollary:ifshehadachild,shewouldnotbeacknowledgedasapersoninher
ownright,butonlyasthemotherofanotherfamilymember.Italsobecameclearerthatherstruggleshadtodowithalongstandingawarenessofdifficultandperhaps
intractableconflictswithintheextendedfamily.Butthen,overseveralsessions,shebegantosenseuncannilythatsomethingwasabouttoemerge,somethingdisgusting
andtoobigforhertoohandle.Theanalystmadetheinterpretationthatitwasasifsomethingwasstrugglingtobeborn,andthatthe"birth"ofmemoriesassociated
withveryunpleasantfeelingswasimminent.Shethenbegantopiecetogetherpuzzlingfragmentsofmemoryandisolatedpicturesinhermind.Thestorythatunfolded
wasthatherpaternalgrandmotherhaddiedofstomachcancerandthatherchildhoodunderstandingwasthatsomethingbadwasgrowinginsidehergrandmother's
tummy,"somethingthateatsyouupandkillsyou."Patientandanalystgraduallybegantorealizethattheperiodofthegrandmother'sdyingcoincidedwiththepatient's
mother'spregnancywiththeyoungestsister,forwhichshehadaneartotalamnesia.Suggestionsandinterpretationsoftheanalysthelpedbothhimandthepatientto
recognizethatmemoriesofthesickgrandmother,evenmemoriesofherbody,wereemerging,someforthefirsttime.
Shefeltsadandhelpless,recallingallthefamilyconflictaroundtakingcareofthesickgrandmotherabitterfeudbetweenherfatherandhissister(heraunt)musthave
takenplaceduringthatperiodandhadtodowithcaringfortheirsickmother.Shethenrecalled,withamazement,themissingsecondpartofthedream:thequestion
askedwas,"Areyoumysister?"Shesurmisedthatanangryquestionlikethatmusthavebeenpartoftheargumentsbetweenherfatherandheraunt:"Areyoumy
sisterornotifyouarethenyoutakecareofhertoo!"Shethenrecalledtheanswerstothequestionsposedinthedream:"Whywereyouborn?''"Idon'tknow."
"Areyoudead?""Notyet!"Shecouldnotrecallananswertothemiddlequestion,"Areyoumysister?"butwentontoassociatetothedistressing,longstanding
enmitybetweenherselfandhernextyoungersister.Shebegantorealizethatherownrecognitionandacknowledgmentofthatsisterweredeficient,thatshecoulddo
better(ascouldthesister)inmutualacknowledgmentofeachother'srightful

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placeinthefamily.Thatprocessoffullrecognitionandacknowledgmenthadbeenimpairedbythemajorriftbetweenasisterandbrother(herfatherandaunt),and
thatrift,ineffect(alongwithothermajorconflictsinsidetheyoungchild),helpedobliteratethememoryofthepregnancyandhomecomingofanothersister.An
immediatepracticalresultoftheseanalyticdiscussionswasaseriouseffortbythepatientandhersistertodealwiththeirancientconflictsandrivalries.Thateffortdid
notproduceadramaticturnabout,butledtoagoodbeginninginanew,adultrelationshipbetweenthem.Shealsothenrecalledthemissinganswertothepreviously
missingmiddlequestion,"Areyoumysister?""Perhaps,"wasthereply.
Weneededtoclarifyfurtherwhyshehadhadanamnesiaforthebirthofthebelovedsister,insteadforthebirthofthehatedsister.Herownrivalrieswithhermother
hadtobeconsidered,asdidherthwartedclosenesswithherfather.Therewerenumerousindicationsthatfamilyconflictsaroundthedyinggrandmother,andother
conflictsbetweenthemotherandfather,hadinterferedwithamoreordinaryresolutionofherageappropriatewishestohaveababywiththefatherandtohavethe
motherplaysecondfiddle.Sadnessattherelativeunavailabilityofbothparentsduringthattime,andtheblowtoherpridethatshecouldnottakethemother'splace
fullyinthefather'spassionsandaffections,togethercontributedtoblottingoutthememoriesofthepregnancy.Theamnesiaconstitutedarefusaltorecognizethe
originsofthatbelovedsister,becausesheneededtodenyherownforbidden,guiltriddenwishesandotherattendantpainfulaffects.
Atbottom,thisdream,itsassociations,theretrievedandreconstructedmemories,andtheinterpretationsconstitutedaformofselfrecognitionforthepatient.She
learnedor,better,realizedthatsheneededanewdefinitionofherselfasasister,asadaughter,andasapotentialmother.Herconflicts,herthwartedwishes,andher
defensesagainstthosewishescontributedtoacomplementarynonrecognitionofhersister(s),hermother,herfather,heraunt,andhergrandmother.Inthewakeofthe
dreamanditselaboration,alloftheserelationshipsandperceptionsunderwentsubtlebutsignificantchanges.
Therewereotherrecognitionspossible,someofwhichwereactualizedatvariousjunctureslaterinthetreatment.Onesuchwasarecognitionofherfantasiesandfears
abouttheanalystandhiswife,herrecapitulatingwiththeanalystthechildhoodtaleofattemptedwooingofthefather,

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combinedwithwishesthatthefatherwouldbearegularfatherandstickwithhiswife,hermother.Recognitionsofaspectsoftheanalystassphinxalsoemerged
mysterious,dangerous,alluring,exciting,aloof,andpartlyfemale.
TherewerenewperceptionsofherselfasawomanOedipus:averycuriousandinquisitiveperson,withgood"detective"andinvestigativeskills.Shehadallowedher
curiositytoflourishinherscientificworkbutstifleditinherpersonalrelationships.Theanalystcametoknowandacknowledgeaspectsofthepatientthathehad
sensed,buthadnotfullyappreciatedsuchasthelivelinessofherpassionateemotionallifeasalittlegirl,theextenttowhichshekeenlyobservedandtookin
everythingaboutherfamily,andtheextenttowhichshehadcreateddefensivebarriersagainstexpressingherformidableinquisitivenessandsearchforpersonal
understanding.Theanalyst,inthecourseofhisselfanalysis,recognizedpiecesofhimselfinthepatient'sstrugglesanddefenses,andrecognizedsomeoftheforcesand
conflictsthathadtosomeextentkepthim"ignorant"ofthispatient.Herealizedthatsomeofhisowninhibitionsagainstconfrontingthepatientandinmakingimportant
interpretationswerebasedonhisownfantasiesthathisinterpretationswere"plantingaseed''inthepatient,andthathisownoedipalfantasies,confusing"insemination"
and"seminalideas,"hadbeenmobilized.HealsorealizedadimensionoftheOedipusstorynotpreviouslyatthecenterofhisattention,namely,howmuchthatstory
wasataleofthwartedreproduction,ofaninterferenceinthegenerationalchain.Thus,theprocessesofrecognitionandacknowledgmentcontinuedandramifiedinto
differentareasofthepatient'spsyche,theanalyst'spsyche,andtheprocessofthepsychoanalysis.
Whilethedetailsofthispersonandherdreamareidiosyncratic,thecaseillustratesgeneralprinciplesabouttheworkingthroughofdefensesagainstmemoryand
recognition.Inthematerialpresented,theexperiencesthatweretraumaticforthepatientwerewithintherealmofonestobeexpectedfromgrowingupinafamilyand
intheworld.Amorecompleteaccountofthewoman'shistorywouldhavetoincludeavarietyofexternallyimposedtraumas,rangingfromthreatsofnuclear
destructioninherchildhoodtosomeinappropriatepracticesbyherparentsaroundsexualissues.
Herpain,disappointment,andpoignantattemptsasalittlegirltoworkoutthemysteriesofbirth,copulation,death,andtheattendant

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familialrelations,whilenotsoexoticorrare,areneverthelessintheirownwaydramatic.Theywerecertainlydramaticforthechildexperiencingthem,andwereagain
dramaticfortheadultwomanretrievingandrelivingthem.Theybecamepartofanintensedramafortheanalyst,adramathatincludedthepatientandthepersonsin
herlifelivinganddeadand,secondarily,personslivinganddeadinthelifeoftheanalyst.Theaudienceforthesedramasnowincludesreadersofthischapter.
Thereis,then,ananalogybetweentheconcentricallyexpandinganalyticprocessesofrecognition,acknowledgment,andappreciationandtheprocessesthatoccur
withatragicperformance.There,justasthecharacterswithintheplaymovetonewlevelsofrecognition,sotooboththeaudienceandactorscangrowintheir
recognitionsandselfrecognitions.
Thisanalogyleadsustoabriefconsiderationofthewaypsychoanalysishasviewedtragicdrama.Originally,Freudandhisfollowersassumedthatthedramasreflect
theintensityofthewishesandpassionsofthedevelopingchild.Thetragicdramaswereexternalrepresentationsofthescenariosplayedoutintheinnerworldofthe
child.6 Iwouldamendthetraditionalpsychoanalyticassumptionsabouttherelationbetweenpsycheandtragicdramatoproposethattragicdramasportraytwokinds
ofstoriesthatoverlapandarecondensed:theinternaldramasofchildhoodwishesandfears,andtheexternalhorrorsoftheworld.Theseexternalhorrorsinstantiate
theinternallyderivednightmaresoftheperson,andtheinternalwishesanddreadsinturnhelptoconstrue,shape,andlabeltheexperienceoftheexternallyimposed
traumata.7
TraumaandRecognition
LetusimaginethatapapyruswithportionsofahithertounknownGreektragedyhasrecentlybeendiscoveredandnowtranslatedandedited,butnotasyet
published.Itappearsthatthestoryinvolvesa"recognition"scene,asceneinvolvingtokensormarks(whichAristotleconsidersasomewhatinferiorformof
recognition).Twochildren,abrotherandsister,asinfants,hadbeencapturedinwarandsoldintoslavery.Theyhadbeenseparatedfromeachother,andyearslater
theirrespectiveownersmetanddecidedtoarrangeamatchbetweenthesetwoslaves.Ofcourseneitherownersnorslavesknewoftheirconnection.Thepapyrus
lackssomecrucialdetails,butwehaveascenewhereeachrealizesthataparticularpeculiartattooingonherorhisbody,usedbytheir

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ownersasabasisfornamingthem,isacomplementarypartofadesignthat,whenplacedtogether,allowsthemtorecognizeeachotherassiblings.Thetaleseemsto
implythattheirparents,probablythemother,hadtattooedthesedesignsonthechildrensothatlatereithersheorthesiblingscouldrecognizeoneanother.
ThestoryI'vepresentedisaconflationofatruestoryfromWorldWarIIwithatale(perhapstruetoo)fromafirstcenturyRabbinicsourceabouttheterriblethings
thathappenedtotheJewsaftertheirdefeatbytheRomansandthedestructionoftheHolyTemple.8 ThetruestoryinvolvesaJewishfamilyinwesternEurope,where
themotherrealizedthattheNaziswouldarriveshortly,andinjectedherchildrenwiththeonlymarkerathand,someIndiaink.Shefearedthateithertheymightnot
recognizeherorshethemortheyeachotheriftheybecameseparated.The"happyending"tothereallifestorywasthatthechildrenwereseparatedfromeachother,
andfromthemother,butnotforsolongthatmemoryfaded.9 SuchstoriescouldbemultipliedmanythousandsoftimesfromtheHolocaust,WorldWarII,anda
painfullylargenumberofwarssincethen,especiallytheCambodiangenocide.Thismother'sreflexivewishtohelpprotectherchildrenanddosomethinginthefaceof
anoverwhelmingthreataddressednotonlytheactualphysicaldangersbutalsotheemotionaldangersoftraumaticseparation.Itisfrequentlytheexperienceofwars
thatparentsandchildrenwhoseparatelyhavebeenthroughhorrendousexperiencesmightstillrecognizeeachotherphysically,butemotionallytheyscarcelyknow
eachother(cf.theyoungprotagonistinJerzyKosinski'sPaintedBird).ThetalefromtheRabbinicMidrashisitselfaminitragedy,andundoubtedlyreflectsthe
horrorsofwhatindeedtookplacewiththeslaughterandenslavementofthedefeatedJews.
Itismycontentionthatthestuffoftragicdramasfromantiquitytothepresentisdrawnnotonlyfromtheunconsciouswishesandfearsofchildhood,butalsofromthe
horrorsoftheworldinwhichthetragedianshavelivedwhetherGreekantiquity,ElizabethanEngland,orpostwarEurope.Thesetraumasarepresentedand
representedinformswherebywecanbothrecognizeandnotrecognizethemaspartsofourownworld.ClassicalGreecewasacultureinwhichthehorrorsofwar
werewellknown(thoughthemodernhorrorscouldscarcelyhavebeenimagined),inwhichexposureofchildrenatbirthwasutterlyplausible,10andwheretheremay
wellhavebeenacertainamountofactualincest(thoughless

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thaninourtime),andwhereacertainnumberofmothersmayhavekilledtheirchildren.11Theseactualitiesaremade"presentable"firstandforemostbyplacingthem
inmythologicalsettings,andthenbyusingalloftheartisticdevicesoftragicdrama,manyofwhicharesetforthinthePoetics.Aristotle'streatiseisthusalsoa
guidebookonhowweshouldsimultaneouslydistanceourselvesfromandinvolveourselvesintheworldsofexternaltraumaandofinternaldreadsanddreaded
wishes.Itis,ineffect,acompendiumoftheartisticdevicesbywhichwebothrecognizeandfailtorecognizeourselvesinthesefearfulscenarios.
Notes
1.ForasuccintandbalanceddiscussionofcriticalinterpretationsofAristotleonanagnorisis,seeTerenceCave'sRecognitions:AStudyinPoetics(1988),esp.
pp.2753.Cave'sbookisthemostcomprehensivestudyofrecognitioninliteratureandunfortunatelycametomyattentionafterthedraftingofthisessay.Itraisesa
hostofintepretativequestionsaboutrecognitionthatgobeyondmypresentscope.
2.Else(1967,128)arguesthattheimitationsinquestionarenotworksofart,suchaspaintings,whichGreekarthadnotyettakenup,butratherbiologicalmodels
anddiagramsorsketches.
3.Ifindsometextualsupportforthisargument,againaidedbyElse'sdiscussionofAristotle'sbriefcommentsonmimesis(1967,13132).
4.Thecaseispartlyfictionalizedforreasonsofconfidentiality.Ofcourse,thismeansthatwearehereinstantiatingproblemsofrecognition.Wewishfor
nonrecognition,i.e.,todisguisethepatientinordertopreserveconfidentiality,butthereportmustalsobeaccurateenoughthatitisrecognizableasatruecaseandas
aplausibledream.
5.PeterRudnytskydrawsmyattentiontothestrikingparalleltoNietzsche'squestionsinBeyondGoodandEvil:"WhoofusisOedipushere?WhotheSphinx?Itis
arendezvous,itseems,ofquestionsandquestionmarks"(Rudnytsky1987,91).
6.Ainterestingvariantonthisview,elaboratedbyGeorgeDevereux(1970),isthattragicdramarepresentsnotsomuchstoriesintheunconscious,butratherthe
processesoftheunconsciousatwork.Overall,differentpsychoanalytictheoriesandschoolshavedesignatedoneoranotherconflictualschemaasthecentraldramatic
themewhichfuelsthegreattragicdramasandmakesthemsoappealingtoanaudience.
7.HowwouldAristotlehaverespondedtothediscoveriesofpsychoanalysis?Whatwouldhehavemadeofunconsciousimpulses,defensemechanisms,free
association,transference,slipsofthetongue,infantilesexuality,andthe

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Oedipuscomplex?Ibelievehewouldhavebeenquitecuriousandfascinated,butalsocautious,evensuspicious.Thisquestiondeservesseriousextended
discussion,towhichthischapterisonlyapreliminarycontribution.
8.Ilearnedofthistale,whichisintheMidrashoftheBookofLamentations,fromProf.GalitChazanRokemoftheDepartmentofFolkloreoftheHebrew
UniversityshehasdetailedanddiscussedthetaleinaHebrewpublication.
9."Happyending"alsoalludestotheproblemofrecognitionincomedyandromance.TherecognitionsandfailuresofrecognitionsinShakespeare'scomediesand
romancestypicallyinvolvestorylinesofratherpainfulandtraumaticevents.ButIhavenotbeenabletoarriveatamoregeneralpsychoanalytictheoryofrecognitionin
allgenresofliterature.
10.WedonothavedirectknowledgeofexposureofchildreninAthensinthefifthcenturyB.C.E.mostofourevidence(primarilyconcerninggirls)comesfromlater
centuries,butthefactofitsexistenceinlatercenturiesandtheextensivemythologyofexposure(mostlyconcerningboys)suggeststronglytheexistenceofthepractice
inthefifthcenturyaswell.
11.InrelationtoEuripides'MedeaEasterling(1977)raisedthequestionofhowoftenmothersactuallykilltheirchildren.ReviewingpolicestatisticsfromEnglandand
Scandinavia,shefoundthatsuchkillingsoccurmuchmorefrequentlythanwewouldcaretobelieve.
References
Anderson,M.1939.TheEssenceofTragedy.Aristotle'sPoeticsandEnglishLiterature:ACollectionofCriticalEssays,ed.E.Olson.Chicago:Univ.of
ChicagoPress,1965,pp.114121.
Cave,T.1988.Recognitions:AStudyinPoetics.Oxford:ClarendonPress.
Cavell,S.1969.TheAvoidanceofLove:AReadingofKingLear.InDisowningKnowledgeinSixPlaysofShakespeare.Cambridge:CambridgeUniv.Press,
1987,pp.39124.
Devereux,G.1970.TheStructureofTragedyandtheStructureofthePsycheinAristotle'sPoetics.InPsychoanalysisandPhilosophy,ed.C.HanlyandM.
Lazerowitz.NewYork:InternationalUniv.Press,pp.4675.
Easterling,P.E.1977.TheInfanticideinEuripides'Medea.YaleClassicalStudies25:17792.
Else,G.1967.Aristotle'sPoetics:TheArgument.Cambridge,MA:HarvardUniv.Press.
Golden,L.andO.B.Hardison,Jr.1981.Aristotle'sPoetics:ATranslationandCommentaryforStudentsofLiterature.Tallahassee:Univ.PressesofFlorida.
Modell,A.1990.OtherTimes,OtherRealities.Cambridge,MA:HarvardUniv.Press.
Nussbaum,M.1986.TheFragilityofGoodness:LuckandEthicsinGreekTragedyandPhilosophy.Cambridge:CambridgeUniv.Press.

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Rudnytsky,P.L.1987.FreudandOedipus.NewYork:ColumbiaUniv.Press.
Schtrumpf,E.1989.TraditionalElementsintheConceptofHamartiainAristotle'sPoetics.HarvardStudiesinClassicalPhilology92:13756.
Simon,B.1978.MindandMadnessinAncientGreece:TheClassicalRootsofModernPsychiatry.Ithaca:CornellUniv.Press.
.1984.WithCunningDelaysandEverMountingExcitementor,WhatThickensthePlotinTragedyandPsychoanalysis.InPsychoanalysis:TheVital
Issues,vol.2ofClinicalPsychoanalysisandItsApplications,ed.G.H.PollockandJ.E.Gedo.NewYork:InternationalUniv.Press,pp.387436.
.1988.TragicDramaandtheFamily:PsychoanalyticStudiesfromAeschylustoBeckett.NewHaven:YaleUniv.Press.
Sinaiko,H.1984.TragedyandPsychoanalysis.InPsychoanalysis:TheVitalIssues,vol.2ofClinicalPsychoanalysisandItsApplications,ed.G.H.Pollock
andJ.E.Gedo.NewYork:InternationalUniv.Press,pp.43762.

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Seven
FreudandAugustine
PeterL.Rudnytsky
Whatisthedifference?Whetheritisinawifeoramother,itisstillEve(thetemptress)thatwemustbewareofinanywoman.
St.Augustine,Ep.243

St.AugustineandFreudconstituteindispensablepointsofreferenceinadistinctivetraditioninWesternthought.Thistraditionisinthefirstinstancethatof
autobiography.ForAugustine'sConfessions(c.397)initiatestheenterpriseofsystematicselfscrutinyinwriting,whosenotabledescendantsincludeMontaigne,
Rousseau,andWordsworth,andwhichculminatesinFreud'sInterpretationofDreams(1900).
ButifAugustineandFreudareequallyadeptpractitionersoftheanomalousgenreinwhichasingleselfisbothauthorandprotagonist,thereislikewisearemarkable
congruencebetweentheirphilosophicaloutlooks.AlthoughAugustineisatheologianandFreudapsychoanalyst,thetwothinkersareatoneinholdingthatthehuman
raceisguiltyofaprimordialtransgressionandintheirattemptstoaccountforthehumanconditionthroughasinglemythofallembracingexplanatorypower.Inboth
TotemandTaboo(1913)andMosesandMonotheism(1939)Freudseekstoderivetheconceptoforiginalsinfromhisownhypothesisofthekillingoftheprimal
father.AcknowledgingthekinshipbetweenhimselfandAugustine,Freudavers:"TheEarlyChristianFather's'inter

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urinasetfaecesnascimur'clingstosexuallifeandcannotbedetachedfromitinspiteofeveryeffortatidealization"(1905,31).
Thus,togetherwiththeirallegiancetoautobiography,FreudandAugustinearticulatedefinitiveversionsofthetwodominantmythsofWesterncultureOedipusand
theFall.Becauseofthisdovetailingofformandcontent,theirnarrativesrefractoneanother.AsJohnFreccerohasremarked,Augustine'sConfessionsprovides
perhapsthe"firstliteraryexpression"ofapsychologicalpattern"namedafterOedipussinceFreud"(1986,19).AsAugustineinventstheformofautobiographyina
workthatisstructuredbytheoedipalparadigm,soFreudepochallyinterpretsOedipustheKinginaworkthatconsummatesbyitselaborationoftheconceptofthe
unconscioustheparadoxwherebythesameindividualisatoncetheinvestigatingsubjectandtheobjectofinvestigation.
NotonlydoAugustineandFreudframetheautobiographicaltradition,therefore,buttheydosoinworksthatdistilloutoftheirpersonalexperiencesmythswitha
claimtouniversalityunrivaledintheculturalrepertoireofAthensorJerusalem.ButtheassumptionofuniversalityimplicitinboththeChristianandthepsychoanalytic
mastermythsconstitutesatoncetheirgreatestappealandgreatestdanger.If"InAdam'sfall,wesinnedall,"andifeverypersonissubjecttotheOedipuscomplex,
thenthereisnoplaceoutsidetheframeworksprovidedbythetheoriesthemselvesfromwhichtheymaybecalledintoquestion.Thus,althoughitisunquestionablytrue
thathumanbeingsdie,itneednotfollowthatmortalitymustberegardedaspunishmentforaprimalactofdisobedience,asthestoryoftheFallwouldhaveit.
Similarly,althoughallhumanbeingsincontrovertiblyexperiencesexualandaggressiveurgesinearlychildhood,theseimpulsesneednotbeaccordedthecentralitythat
havebeengivenbyFreudorleadtothetragicconsequencesthattheydidforOedipus.And,asbothAugustineandFreudaremen,andpatentlycasttheirtheories
fromamasculinepointofview,thesuspicionarisesthattheintrospectivetraditionIamdelineatingisatbottomoneofmalemisogynyandsexualanxiety.Indeed,the
culturalheritageofwhichAugustineandFreudaresuchconspicuouslandmarksisultimatelythatofpatriarchy.Untilthefinalsectionofthischapter,Ishalllargelytake
thepointsofviewofAugustineandFreudforgrantedandseektoexpoundthem,asitwere,fromwithin,butitissalutarytoimaginefromtheoutsetthepossibilityof
feministandothercritiques.

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ToexploretheconjunctionsbetweenAugustineandFreud,IshallfirstundertakeapsychoanalyticreadingoftheConfessionsasawhole,payingspecialattentionto
patternsofrepetitioninAugustine'slife.Next,Ishalldwellonthefamousepisodeofhistheftofthepears,whichmarksthepointofconvergencebetweentheOedipus
mythandtheFallandtherebydisclosesalsothesubjectivedimensionsofAugustine'saccountoftheFallinTheCityofGod.Inconclusion,Ishallcontrastthe
pessimisticconceptionofknowledgeheldbybothFreudandAugustinewiththemoreoptimisticattitudeespousedbyAristotleand,withinapsychoanalytic
framework,byHeinzHartmannandD.W.Winnicott,theleadingrepresentatives,respectively,ofegopsychologyandobjectrelationstheory.Throughthis
multifacetedprocedure,IhopetoshowhowtheFallassumesthelineamentsoftheOedipuscomplexandwhyFreudandAugustinearesocloselyinaccordas
theoristsofforbiddenknowledge.
I
NowherearebothAugustine'spsychologicalacuityandhisaffinitywithFreudmoreclearlyinevidencethaninBookIoftheConfessions,wherehecontemplates
infancy.Seekingtosubstantiatehishypothesisthat"nomanisfreefromsin,notevenachildwhohaslivedonlyonedayonearth"(I.7),1 Augustinepresentsaviewof
humannatureinthecradlethatisdistinctively"Freudian."OnecornerstoneofFreud'soutlookishisconvictionthathumanbehaviorismotivatedbythepleasure
principle,adrivetofulfillwishesthroughtensionreduction.Augustinelikewiseemphasizeshow,asaninfant,hestrove"tomakemywishesknowntoothers,who
mightsatisfythem"(I.6).But,hecontinues,"becausemywisheswereinsideme,whileotherpeoplewereoutside,"adultsoftenfailedtounderstandhim,"soIwould
tossmyarmsandlegsaboutandmakenoises,hopingthatsuchfewsignsasIcouldmakewouldshowmymeaning,thoughtheywerequiteunlikewhattheywere
meanttomime''(I.6).Inthisanatomyofpreverbalcommunication,AugustinedistillsnotonlyFreud'sthesisconcerningtheprimacyofinnerdrivestatesbutalsohis
laterelaborationofthe"twoprinciplesofmentalfunctioning"(1911),accordingtowhichtherealityprincipleachievesbyindirectmeanstheaimsofthepleasure
principle.
Likeadevelopmentalpsychologist,Augustineutilizesinfantobservationtocorroborateconclusionsreachedbyintrospection:"Bywatch

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ingbabiesIhavelearntthatthisishowtheybehave,andthey,quiteunconsciously,havedonemorethanthosewhobroughtmeuptoconvincemethatIbehavedin
justthesamewaymyself"(I.6).Unlikemanycontemporarypsychoanalysts,however,AugustinesharesFreud'sassumptionthataninfant'sprimaryneedsare
physiologicalandnotemotional.Hewrites:"ButinthosedaysallIknewwashowtosuck,andhowtoliestillwhenmybodysensedcomfortorcrywhenitfelt
pain"(I.6).But,asJohnBowlbyhascogentlyarguedinoppositiontoFreud,theoverridingneedininfancyisnotfornourishmentbutforattachment(1982,21114).
Thus,boththeAugustinianandtheFreudianaccountsofinfancyarefoundedonamodelofthedrivesthatishighlysuspect,andwhichinturnprovidesabasisfora
critiqueoftheirrespectivetheoriesoforiginalsin.
TheFreudianovertonesofBookIoftheConfessionsdeepenwhenAugustineturnstothethemeofsiblingrivalry.Affirmingthathehaswitnessed"jealousyina
baby,"Augustinecitestheexampleofaninfantwho,"wheneverhesawhisfosterbrotheratthebreast,...wouldgopalewithenvy.Mothersandnurses,"Augustine
adds,"saythattheycanworksuchthingsoutofthesystembyonemeansoranother,butsurelyitcannotbecalledinnocence,whenthemilkflowsinsuchabundance
fromitssource,toobjecttoarivaldesperatelyinneedanddependingforitslifeonthisoneformofnourishment"(I.7).Thisdescriptionismemorable,butagainone
mightwonderwhetheritisthemother'smilkthatistheobjectofenvy,orrathertheloveofthemotherherselfwhomaybeinsufficientlygenerouswithheraffections.
Theallusiontofosterbrothersisacuriousdetail.Augustineexpresslystatesthatthisincidentisonethathehasobservedandnotexperienced.Andyet,asweshall
see,hehimselfexhibitsthesymptomsofacutesiblingrivalry.Thus,thepossibilitycannotbediscountedthatthismemorypossessesaveiledautobiographical
dimension.Appositely,siblingrivalrylikewiseplayedaformativeroleinFreud'spersonalhistory,asisshownbythewaythatthebirthanddeathofhisbrotherJulius,
beforeFreudhimselfwastwoyearsofage,continuedtohaunthimduringadultlifeandreinforcedtheguiltoverthedeathofhisfatherthatledtohisdiscoveryofthe
Oedipuscomplex(Rudnytsky1987,1823).
AsistrueofFreud,manyofAugustine'sspecificideasaboutinfancycanbechallenged,butboththinkersaresurelyjustifiedintheirgeneralpremisethatearly
experienceprovidesaprototypeforeverythingthat

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followsit.Augustine,forhispart,staunchlyupholdswhatisknowninpsychoanalysisasthegeneticprincipleofexplanation.Hewrites:"Forcommandersandkings
maytaketheplaceoftutorsandschoolmasters,nutsandballsandpetbirdsmaygivewaytomoneyandestatesandservants,butthesesamepassionsremainwithus
whileonestageoflifefollowsanother"(I.19).Theparadigmoftheinfantatthemother'sbreast,moreover,continuestoreverberatethroughouttheConfessions.
AugustineequatesGod'smercywith"thecomfortofwoman'smilk"(I.25),andimplores:"Letusscentyourfragranceandtasteyoursweetness"(VIII.4).By
summoningtheseinfantilememories,Augustinedelivershisreligiousappealtothereaderinthemostpowerfulemotionalterms.
Augustine'scommitmenttoageneticoutlookisespeciallyevidentintheportraitshedrawsofhismotherandfather,MonicaandPatricius,whichenableustofollow
theprocesswherebyinternalizedimagesofhisparentsareprojectedontoindividualshemeetsthroughoutlife.Thispattern,familiartopsychoanalystsastransference,
standsoutinthecaseofmalefigures,whooutnumberandwiththenotableexceptionofhismotherovershadowfemaleonesintheConfessions.
Augustine'scharacterizationofhisfatherismarkedbyacombinationofaffectionandcriticism.Althoughheconvertedonhisdeathbed(IX.9),Patriciuswasnota
Christian,andAugustinereportsthatMonica"didallthatshecouldtoseethatyou,myGod,shouldbeaFathertomeratherthanhe"(I.11).Hewasunfaithfultohis
wifeandhada"hottemper,"butcouldalsobe"remarkablykind"(IX.9).Despitehislimitedmeans,Patricius''wasreadytoprovidehissonwithallthatwasneeded"
fortravelandstudy,but"tooknotroubleatalltoseehowIwasgrowinginyoursightorwhetherIwaschasteornot"(II.3).When,inanincidenttowhichIshall
return,Patriciusonedayinthepublicbaths"sawthesignsofactivevirilitycomingtolife"inAugustine,herespondedaffirmativelytohisadolescentson'ssexuality,
thoughAugustineaddsthathisdelightinthethoughtofgrandchildren"wasduetotheintoxicationwhichcausestheworldtoforgetyou,itsCreator"(II.3).
AugustinesubsequentlyencounterstwocontrastingfatherfiguresFaustusandAmbrose.AsayoungmaninCarthage,heawaitsFaustus,theManicheansage,with
"keenestexpectation"(V.6)andisatfirstimpressedbyhispolishedmanner.Uponseekingtoknowhisteacherbetter,however,Augustineisdisappointedbythe
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arship.Faustus'inabilitytoresolveAugustine'sintellectualdoubtscausesthelattertobeginquestioningManicheandoctrines.Butthoughhisfinaljudgmentisnegative,
AugustinelaudsFaustusforrecognizinghislimitationsandaddsthat"modestyandcandourarefinerequipmentforthemindthanscientificknowledgeofthekindthatI
wishedtopossess"(V.7).Withthisambivalentverdict,AugustineclearlycastsFaustusinthemoldofPatricius.
WhereasFaustusisAugustine'spaganfatherfigure,AmbroseishissurrogateChristianfather.2 Augustinemakesexplicitthefilialdimensionofhisrelationshipto
Ambrose:"ThismanofGodreceivedmelikeafatherand,asbishop,toldmehowgladhewasthatIhadcome"(V.13).ThetrajectoryofAugustine'sattitudetoward
AmbroseistheobverseofthattowardFaustus.Atfirst,despitethebishopofMilan'skindnessanderudition,Augustineis"uninterested"andeven"contemptuous"of
hissermons,whichhefailstodeliverina"soothingandgratifyingmanner"(V.13).OnlygraduallydoestheyoungmanbegintolistenseriouslytoAmbrose'sarguments
indefenseoftheCatholicfaith.
Ambrose'sroleaspaternalidealforAugustineisconfirmedbyanincidentinvolvingMonica,whohadjourneyedtoMilantobewithAugustine.Althoughithadbeen
hercustominAfricatobringofferingsofbreadandwinetotheshrinesofsaints,sheimmediatelyceaseddoingsoinMilanuponlearningthatthepracticehadbeen
prohibitedbyAmbrose.(ThisritualpermittedMonicatopartakeofthewineherself,thoughAugustineinsiststhatshedidsoonlyoutofnoblemotives.)AsAugustine
surmises,Monica's"pioussubmission"(VI.2)tothisedictwouldnothavebeenforthcominghaditbeenissuedbyanyonewhomsheveneratedlessdeeply.For
Augustine,Ambrosethusreinstatesastrongpaternalprinciple,whichhadbeenlackinginhisownearlyupbringing.
Inevaluatinghisparents'marriage,AugustinestressesthatMonicaneveropenlydisobeyedPatriciusinanyway.Indeed,shewouldreproachotherwiveswho
complainedaboutbeingbeatenbytheirhusbandsfortheloosenessoftheirtongues:"Hermannerwaslightbuthermeaningseriouswhenshetoldthemthateversince
theyhadheardthemarriagedeedreadovertothem,theyoughttohaveregardeditasacontractwhichboundthemtoservetheirhusbands,andfromthattime
onwardtheyshouldremembertheirconditionandnotdefytheirmasters"(IX.9).Monicadefinesheridentitywithinthelimitsplacedonwomen'srolesin

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lateclassicalculture,buthersubserviencetoPatriciusanddefenseofpatriarchyareoffsetbytheforceofherpersonalityandbyherevidentgriponthereinsofpower
withinthefamily.
ThechainofAugustine'stransferencesubstitutionsislesseasytofollowinthecaseofMonicathaninthatofPatriciuspreciselybecauseheroverwhelmingpresencein
herson'slifemadeitimpossibleforhimtoreplaceherwithanyotherwoman.Inapatterntypicalofpatriarchalsocieties,theabsenceofanyextrafamilialoutletfor
Monica'senergiescausedhertodedicateherselftotherearingofherchildren.AsIanSuttiehasobserved,inaculturewherethewomanisaccordedrespectand
autonomyshenormallywillbeable"toterminate[herchildren's]dependency"andto"repressinfantilesexualityinapermanentlyandcompletelyeffectivemanner."
However,ifthewomanhasnostatusapartfromhermaternalrole,shebecomes"dependentonthechild,willclingtoitandcultivateitsdependencyonherself,with
contraryeffectsupontheOedipuswishes"(1935,122).
Suttie'sanalysisdelineatesthewaythattheintensityofAugustine'sOedipuscomplexisitselfafunctionofhismother'sundulypassionateandpossessiveloveforhim.
BecausePatriciuswasnotaChristian,aswehaveseen,MonicasoughttomakeAugustinefeelthatGodwashisfather,therebycreatingabondbetweenmotherand
sonfromwhichtherivalparentwasexcluded.MonicathusrearedAugustineinananaloguetotheHolyFamily,inwhichasinnumerablepictorialrepresentations
attesttheinfantJesussharesanintimacywiththeVirginMarytowhichhishumanfatherJosephisnotprivy.
Asthiscomparisonsuggests,moreover,thetriangulationthatstructuressomuchofAugustine'sexperienceissuperimposedonanunderlyingmothersondyad.
Indeed,Monica,whosharedPatricius'ambitionsforAugustine(II.3),evidentlyinducedinhersonintenseanxietiesconcerningseparation.Thisanxietywasactedout
inAugustine'sattemptinimitationofAeneas,aboutwhosewanderingshehadreadasaschoolboy(I.11)toescapefromherinfluencebysailingatnightsecretly
fromCarthagetoRome(V.8).3 AugustineexpresslyinterpretsthisjourneyasameansbywhichGodusedMonica's"toojealousloveforhersonasascourgeforher
ownjustpunishment.Forasmothersdo,andfarmorethanmost,shelovedtohavemewithher"(V.8).Eventhoughhedeceivedhismother,Augustinenotesthat
God"didnotpunishmeforit"(V.8),sincetheseajourneypassedwithoutincident.OnemayinferthatAu

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gustineexpectedtobepunished,andheaddswithoutfurthercomment:"AtRomeIwasatoncestruckdownbyillness"(V.9).Thisunexplainedillnessseemstobeat
leastinpartpsychosomatic,asthoughAugustinesuccumbeduponarrivaltotheguiltfeelingshehadtemporarilywithstoodinventuringtosailawayfromMonicain
thefirstplace.
UnlikeDido,however,whoyieldedtodespairandangerfollowingherabandonmentbyAeneasandimpaledherselfonasword,Monicarefusedtoconcededefeat
andfollowedhersononhisepicjourney(VI.1).Thus,Augustineneverfullyseparatedhimselffromher,andbecauseofMonica'sintransigencehemaybesaidtohave
becomeaChristianandnotaclassicalhero.ThebattleofwillsbetweenmotherandsonissymbolizedbyMonica'sdreamofthewoodenruleinBookIII,inwhich
sheandayoungmanina"haloofsplendour"(III.11)standateitherendofaplank,theinterpretationofwhichunderscoredinaconversationwithAugustine
hingesonthedetailthatheshallcometowheresheis,andnotviceversa.TheyoungmaninthedreamisnotexplicitlyidentifiedasAugustine,butitisclearthathe
representsAugustineinastateofglory.Afterherdream,whenthedisconsolateMonicatalkstoapriestaboutherwaywardson,hereassuresherwiththewords:"It
cannotbethatthesonofthesetearsshouldbelost"(III.12).AsAugustine'seventualconversiontoChristianitygoestoshow,Monicadidindeedgetherway,butat
thecostofdeprivingheroffspringofanormalprocessofseparationandindividuation.
OneconsequenceofMonica'spossessivenessmaybeseeninAugustine'srelationswithhismistress,themotherofhischild,whowas"tornfrommyside"whenhe
contemplatedmarriage,"ablowwhichcrushedmyhearttobleeding"(VI.15).AsAugustinewasunabletoescapefromhismother,sohepaidthepricebybeing
forciblyseparatedfromthewomanheloved.TheanonymityofthiswomanisafurthertellingmeasureoftheshadowcastbyMonicaacrossAugustine'slife.
NotonlydidAugustineabandonhismistress,onlytoformanotherliaisoninshortorder,buthecouldnotbringhimselftomarryanyone.Althoughtherewasno
externalobligationthatherenouncesexualityChristianswerepermittedtomarryAugustineconsistentlyequatedhisstruggletoconvertwithasubduingoftheflesh:
"Thoughyoudidnotforbidmetomarry,youcounselledmetotakeabettercourse"(X.30).ThispreoccupationwiththeissueofcelibacyepitomizedbyAugustine's
oftechoedprayer,"Givemechastityandcontinence,butnotyet"

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(VIII.7)mustbeascribedtopsychologicalfactors.Indeed,afterbeingbetrothedtoagirlsoyoungthathewouldhavetowaittwoyearsuntilshecameofage,
Augustinedescribeshimselfas"exhaustedbythecankerofanxiety,becausetherewereotherreasonstoowhyIfounditirksometobeforcedtoadaptmyselftoliving
withawife"(VIII.1).Augustinedoesnotspecifywhyhefoundtheprospectofmarriageso"irksome,"buthis"cankerofanxiety"goesdeeperthanthetypical
enjoymentofsexualfreedomthatmightbeexpectedinayoungmanoflateantiquityandstemsinalllikelihoodfromanunconsciousincestuousfixation.Anotorious
libertineobsessedbysexualitygoingsofarinadolescenceastogratifyhislust"withinthewallsofyourchurchduringthecelebrationofyourmysteries"(III.3)
AugustineconformstothepatternoftheDonJuanwhostrivesthroughpromiscuitytoreplacethemotheronwhomheremainsemotionallydependent.
ThethemeofcelibacycomestoaheadatthemomentofAugustine'sconversion.Justpriortohisfinalbreakthrough,Augustineseesbeforehim,standingontheother
sideofa"barrier,""thechastebeautyofContinenceinallherserene,unsulliedjoy"(VIII.11).HeenvisionsContinencenotas"barren,"butas"afruitfulmotherof
children,ofjoysbornofyou,OLord,herspouse"(VIII.11).Thispersonificationisdeliberatelyallegoricalanddepictsthe"unityofself''hehaddissipatedbythe
pursuitofa"varietyofpleasures"(X.29).Butinadditiontoitsreligiousmeaning,thefusionofchastityandfecundityinthefigureofContinencecanbeinterpreted
psychoanalyticallyasarepresentationofthemother,who,inherson'seyes,isatonceanonsexualandsexualbeing.AsAugustine'searlierpromiscuitywasa
symptomofhisincestuousattachment,sothe"barrier"betweenhimselfandContinencestandsfortheincesttaboo,whichisparadoxicallyatoncerestored(inthat
Augustinerenouncessexuality)andviolated(inthathetakespossessionofthemother)whenAugustinecrossestotheotherside.Indeed,thefirstthingthatAugustine
does,afterhisconversionandthatofhisfriendAlypius,istogoinandtellhismother,whois"overjoyed"thathersonnolonger"desiredawife,"but,infulfillmentof
herdream,isratherpreparedtojoinheruponthe"ruleoffaith"(VIII.12).
ThedeathofMonica,recordedinBookIX,promptsAugustinetolookbackonherlifeasawhole.HerecallsaconversationonthenightbeforeMonica'sdeath,in
whichheandshetogethercontemplatedthesuperiorityofheavenlyjoystoanyearthlypleasures:"Andwhilewe

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spokeoftheeternalWisdom,longingforitandstrainingforitwithallthestrengthofourhearts,foronefleetinginstantwereachedoutandtouchedit.Thenwitha
sigh...wereturnedtothesoundofourownspeech,inwhicheachwordhasabeginningandanending"(IX.10).Thishighlychargedevocationofatranscendence
beyondlanguageissuffusedwithsexuality,asmotherandsonattainamysticalecstasy,acommunionofsoulsthatisAugustine'smostintensereligiousexperience.
AfurtherstrikingfeatureofthedescriptionofMonicaonherdeathbedisthatitelicitsAugustine'ssolereferencetoasibling.WhileAugustinestrugglestoholdback
histears,hisbrother(who,likethewomeninAugustine'slife,remainsanonymous)remarkshowunfortunateitisthatMonicahastodieabroadinsteadofinherown
country.Tothis,sherespondswithareproachfulglanceandsaystoAugustine:"Seehowhetalks!"(IX.11).Augustineseemstointroducehisbrotherfornoother
purposethanthuscruellytodemolishhim,anditisthispassagethatsuggeststhathisdiscussioninBookIofsiblingrivalryatthematernalbreastissubjectively
motivated.
Fromhisbrother,Augustine'snarrativerevertstohisfather.Withherdyingbreath,Monicarenouncesthe"vaindesire"ofbeingburiedbesideherhusband.Whereas
earliershehad"alwayswantedthisextrahappiness,"attheendMonicanolongersoughtsuchworldlyconsolations,andAugustineadmitsthathewas"bothsurprised
andpleasedtofindthatthiswasso"(IX.11).DespitePatricius'ownconversiontoChristianity,heandMonicaremainapartafterdeath,andthisseparationofhis
parentssealsAugustine'striumphoverhisfather.(Inagestureofreparation,Augustineprays,"Letherrestinpeacewithherhusband.Hewasherfirsthusbandand
shemarriednootherafterhim"[IX.13].Butthisafterthoughtdoesnotundohisactofsymbolicpatricide.)Thus,throughhismother'sdeathAugustinesimultaneously
vanquishesbothhissiblingandoedipalrivals.Monica'slastwishratifiesforeternityherdevaluationofherconjugaldutiesinfavorofherspiritualintimacywithherson.
Fittingly,althoughAugustineconsecratesmostofabooktohismother'sdeath,hementionsthatofhisfatheronlyinpassing(III.4).
InBookXII,Augustineoffersahymnofpraisetohis"belovedmother"JerusalemandtoGod:"AndIshallrememberyouherRuler,youwhogiveherlight,youher
Father,herGuardian,andherSpouse"(XII.16).ThatAugustineshouldcelebrateGodandJerusalemaspartnersinamysticmarriage,wherethehusband"rules"his
wife,isreadilycompre

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hensibleintheologicalterms.But,likethepersonificationofContinence,thismetaphortakesonadditionalmeaningwhenitisinterpretedastheculminationof
Augustine'sfamilyromance.GodherereplacesAmbroseastheultimatehusbandfatherwhocanreassertauthorityoverthefeminineprincipleembodiedinJerusalem.
II
ThetheftofthepearsthatAugustinerecountsinBookIIoftheConfessionsdisquietsbothhimandthereaderbecauseofitsapparentlackofmotivation:"Forofwhat
IstoleIalreadyhadplenty,andmuchbetteratthat,andIhadnowishtoenjoythethingsIcovetedbystealing,butonlytoenjoythetheftitselfandthesin....
Perhapsweatesomeofthem,butourrealpleasureconsistedindoingsomethingthatwasforbidden"(II.4).
Inanatomizingacrimewhosehorrorconsistsinitsabsenceofarationalmotive,AugustineistheprecursorofDostoevskyinCrimeandPunishment.Throughhis
theftofthepearsAugustineconfrontsasanemotionalrealitythepuzzleofthenatureofevilwithwhichhealsostrugglesintellectuallyintheConfessions:"Wherethen
isevil?Whatisitsorigin?Howdiditstealintotheworld?"(VII.5).Augustine'sChristiananswertothesequestionsisthatevilisnotasubstance(astheManichees
claimed)butratheraprivationofgood,arisingfromthechoiceofthepervertedwilltodisobeyGod.Lookingbackonthetransgression,committedattheageof
sixteen(II.6),Augustinedeclares:"IamquitesurethatIwouldnothavedoneitonmyown"(II.8).KennethBurkehasilluminatedthiscollectiveaspectoftheepisode
byproposingthatAugustineandhisbandformablasphemouscounterparttothefellowshipoftheChristianchurch,inthatthegratuitousnessofthesinthatbinds
themtogetherisbalancedandredeemedbyChrist'sgiftofgracetoallwhoaccepttheofferofsalvationthroughhisblood(1961,93101).
Fromatheologicalstandpoint,therefore,Augustine'stheftofthepearssignifiesanontogeneticreenactmentoftheFall.NotingthatAugustinereferstothepearsas
poma,thesamewordusedintheVulgatetomean"fruit"intheGardenofEden,Frecceroproposesatypologicalrelationbetweenthepeartree,redolentofsexuality,
andthefigtree,associatedwithmaternity,beneathwhichAugustine(likeNathanaelinJohn1:4548)issittingwhenheexperienceshisconversion(1986,2528).
This

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correspondencebetweenAdam'ssinandthatofAugustinecanonlybeapproximateratherthanexact,becauseitispreciselytheconsequenceofAdam's
disobediencethatnoneofhisdescendantscanrecapturehisfreedomofthewill,whichwouldonceagainmakeitpossibletochoosenottosin.Buttheparallelis
unmistakablenonetheless,for,asAugustineremarksinTheCityofGod,notonlywasAdam'ssin"committedaboutfood,"butthelureofAdam'stree,nolessthan
hisown,arosefromthefactthatitwas"notbadnornoxious,exceptbecauseitwasforbidden"(XIV.12).
ThelackofmotivationthatistheessenceofAugustine's,asofevery,sinconstitutesanattemptonthepartofacreaturetodenycontingencyanddependenceonits
Creator.InFreccero'swords,"theappropriationofthepearsisaselfappropriation,anillicitassertionofone'sselfhoodandone'sautonomy"(1986,24).Butthis
theologicalunderstandingofthecausasuiprojectmaybereinterpretedpsychoanalyticallyasamanifestationoftheoedipalfantasyofusurpingtheplaceofthefather
andbegettingoneself.
TheoedipalaspectsofAugustine'stheftofthepearsarefurtherilluminatedwhenhisinsistenceonthetrivialityoftheoccurrenceissubjectedtopsychoanalytic
scrutiny.For,asIshallargue,thissymbolictransgressionservesAugustineasascreenmemoryforotherforbiddenwishes.Freuddefinesscreenmemoriesasthe
recollectionof"everydayandindifferentevents"inplaceofdisturbing"seriousandtragic"onesfromthesameoradifferentperiod(1899,305).Heunexpectedly
maintainsthatearliermemoriescanservetoconceallaterones,aswellasthereverseetiologicallysignificanteventsthuscontinuetotakeplaceinadolescenceand
beyond.
The"seriousandtragic"determinantsofAugustine'sscreenmemorylieconcealedinplainsight.InBookII,Augustinedisclosestwopsychologicallysignificant
memoriesconcerninghisparents.Thefirstofthese,towhichIhavealreadyalluded,ishisfather'switnessingof"thesignsofactivevirilitycomingtolife"(II.3)in
Augustineinthepublicbaths.Thesecondinvolveshismother,who,"alarmedandapprehensive"thatAugustinemightstrayfromthepathofvirtue,"mostearnestly
warnedmenottocommitfornicationandaboveallnottoseduceanyman'swife"(II.3).MonicaconspicuouslyenjoinsAugustinenotmerelyfromfornicationbutalso
fromadultery.But,sincethefirstandprototypicalwifeofanothermanforwhomaboyexperiencessexualdesireishis

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mother,Monica'swarningagainstadulteryisultimatelyanadmonitionnottoviolatetheincesttaboo.Fromallthatwehaveseenoftheexceptionalintimacybetween
motherandson,moreover,thisprohibitionmustitselfbeviewedasareactionformation,whichparadoxicallyintensifiestheveryrepressedincestuouslongingsitis
designedtodefendagainstMonica'saswellasthoseoftheoverstimulatedAugustine.
Eitheroftheseincidentswouldlikelyhavebeenformativeonitsown,buttheirimpactiscompoundedbytheirconvergence.InBookII,Augustinereaches
adolescence,"theageatwhichthefrenzygrippedmeandIsurrenderedmyselfentirelytolust"(II.2),andthesememoriesconcerninghisparentsdistilltheemotional
impactofhisarrivalatpubertyandinitiationintogenitalsexuality.Whatismore,AugustinereportsthesetwohighlychargedexperiencesinthesectionofBookII
immediatelypriortothatinwhichhecommenceshisnarrativeofthepearstealingepisode.
ThedisproportionbetweenthetrivialityofAugustine'soffenseandtheextremeimportanceheimputestoitmaythusbeexplainedpsychoanalyticallyasadisplacement
ofthesenseofguiltproperlyattachingtotheformereventsontothelatter.Itisthisdisplacementofaffectfromsomethingseriousontosomethingtrivialthatmakesthe
theftofthepearstrulya"screenmemory."Andsince,asIhavecontended,Monica'swarningagainstfornicationandadulteryrestsontheincesttaboo,Augustine's
stealingoftheforbiddenfruitisatonceareenactmentoftheFallandasymptomofhisOedipuscomplexasitisrevivedinadolescence.4
ButjustastheoedipalpatternsinAugustine'slifeasawholearesuperimposeduponpreoedipalones,sohistheftofthepearsisopentointerpretationsonmultiple
psychologicallevels.AcrucialinsightintotheearlierdeterminantsofAugustine'sdeedisprovidedbyD.W.Winnicott:
Butachildwho,say,regularlygoesandstealsapples,andquicklygivesthemawaywithouthimselfenjoyingthem,isactingunderacompulsion,andisill.Hecanbecalledathief.
Hewillnotknowwhyhehasdonewhathehasdone,andifpressedforareasonhewillbecomealiar.Thethingis,whatisthisboydoing?...Thethiefisnotlookingforthe
objectthathetakes.Heislookingforaperson.Heislookingforhisownmother,onlyhedoesnotknowthis.(1964,163italicsinoriginal)

WinnicottdoesnotmentionSt.Augustine,andthecompulsivenessofthebehaviorhedescribescontrastswiththeapparentlyisolatednature

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ofAugustine'stheft.Nonetheless,hiscommentsreadasthoughtheywereintendedasanexegesisoftheConfessions.5 ForAugustinedoesnotenjoythefruitthathe
steals,justashecannotprovideamotiveforhisactions.TheincestuouscomponentofAugustine'sfixationonhismotherisnotcontradictedbythisunderlyingtheme
ofdependence.Indeed,fromaWinnicottianstandpoint,Augustine'ssexualpromiscuitymayitselfbeconstruedasanattempttocompensateforalackofemotional
security,forasenseofhavingbeencheatedofhismother'slovethroughthebirthofabrother.AndjustasFreudresemblesAugustineinhisintertwiningofoedipaland
siblingrivalry,so,too,inhisearlychildhoodFreudstolecoinsfromhismother'spursewhenshewaspregnantwithhissisterAnnainacharacteristicresponseto
deprivationthatlikewiseexemplifiesWinnicott'sideas(Rudnytsky1991,101).
ThisconjunctionbetweentheOedipuscomplexandtheFallintheConfessionsforgedbythetheftofthepearsinturnshedslightonAugustine'sexegesisoftheFallin
TheCityofGod.ForhetherelosesnoopportunitytomagnifythesexualcomponentofAdam'stransgression.TheprizeexhibitofAugustine'sgreatlawof
retribution,"thattheywhodoevilshouldsufferevil"(XIV.15),isthe(male)sexualorgans,"fortheinsubordinationofthesemembers,andtheirdefianceofthewill,are
thecleartestimonyofman'sfirstsin"(XIV.20).AsAdamdisobeyedGod,sodisobedienceisnowlodgedwithinthehumanbody,subjectedbothtolustanddeath.
Augustine'sappealintheConfessionstoinfantobservationtosubstantiatehisbleakviewofhumannatureisbuttressedinTheCityofGodbyhisempiricalcasethat
theshameattachedtosinisfundamentallysexualinnature:
Whodoesnotknowwhatpassesbetweenhusbandandwifethatchildrenmaybeborn?...Andyet,whenthiswellunderstoodactisgoneaboutfortheprocreationofchildren,
noteventhechildrenthemselves,whomayalreadyhavebeenborntothem,aresufferedtobewitnesses....Andratherwillamanendureacrowdofwitnesseswhenheis
unjustlyventinghisangeronsomeone,thantheeyeofonemanwhenheinnocentlycopulateswithhiswife.(XIV.1819)

HadAdamandEveremainedunfallenintheGardenofEden,Augustinespeculates,theiractsofgenerationwouldhavebeenpromptedbythewillandnotbylust,and
"themalesemencouldhavebeenintroducedintothewombofthewifewiththeintegrityofthefemalegenitalorganbeingpreserved,justasnow,withthatsame
integritybeingsafe,the

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menstrualflowofbloodcanbeemittedfromthewombofavirgin"(XIV.26).
FromtheevidenceoftheConfessions,itisclearthatwhateverotherculturalandhistoricalfactorsmaybeinvolvedAugustine'ssexualreadingoftheFallisbased
onhispersonalexperience.AdamisAugustinewritlarge,justasAugustinesufferstheeffectsofAdam'ssin.Inthisdialecticbetweensubjectiveandobjectivetruth,
Augustinetracesthecirclethathermeneuticphilosophershavearguedisconstitutiveofselfreflectiveknowledge(Hoy1978).Andasahermeneuticcirclestructures
Augustine'srenderingoftheFall,so,too,itsubtendsFreud'sarticulationoftheOedipuscomplex(Rudnytsky1987,6465).NotonlydoesFreudinThe
InterpretationofDreamsfusetheautobiographicalqualityoftheConfessionsandthedoctrinalqualityofTheCityofGod(Schorske1980,183),but,asAugustine
doeswithAdam,heinvokesthemythologicalfigureofOedipustouniversalizetheinsightsarrivedatinthecourseofhisownselfanalysis.
TheprincipalintellectualsourceforAugustine'stheologyoftheFallisSt.Paul,andaboveallhisepistletotheRomans.6 WhenAugustineinthegardenhearsthevoice
ofachildtellinghimtotakeupandreadtheBible,aquotationfromRomans(13:1314)providesthefinalcatalystforhisconversiontoChristianity(VIII.12).
PassagesfromPaulareinterspersedwithversesfromthePsalmsAugustine'sfavoritebiblicalquarrywithincreasingfrequencyashisnarrativebuildstoitsclimax.
Paul,however,isindispensableforAugustinenotsimplybecauseofhisideas,butalsobecauseheprovidestheprototypeforChristianspiritualautobiography.
WhenAugustinewritesofhimself,priortohisconversion,that"itwasIwhowilledtotakethiscourseandagainitwasIwhowillednottotakeit....SoIwasat
oddswithmyself"(VIII.10),hisindictmentparaphrasesthe"Paulineparadox"setforthinRomans:"ForthegoodthatIwould,Idonot:buttheevilwhichIwouldnot,
thatIdo"(7:19).Whatismore,Paul'sexpostulation,"OwretchedmanthatIam!whoshalldelivermefromthebodyofthisdeath?"(7:24),makesitplainthathis
''captivitytothelawofsinwhichisinmymembers"(7:23)isnolessurgentlyandpersonallyfeltthanthatofAugustine.ThatAdam'stransgressionhasuniversal
significanceisneverassertedintheHebrewBible,thoughtheassumptionseemstoinhereinGenesis.NotuntilPaul'stypologicalpairingofAdamandChrististhis
ideamadeexplicit:"For

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asbyoneman'sdisobediencemanyweremadesinners,sobytheobedienceofoneshallmanybemaderighteous"(5:16).And,asPaul'ssubjectiveexperienceofthe
conflictbetweensinandgracepromptedhimtoposittheuniversalityoftheFall,soAugustine'srelivingofPaul'sspiritualstruggleallowedhimtocarrythelatter's
theologytoitslogicalconclusionbyformulatingthedoctrineoforiginalsin.
III
ForbothFreudandAugustine,allknowledgeisatbottomforbiddenknowledgebecause,asFreudwrites,"thethirstforknowledgeseemstobeinseparablefrom
sexualcuriosity"(1909,9).Althoughthispointofviewisapowerfulone,itneedstobebalancedagainstthatexpoundedbyAristotleattheoutsetofthe
Metaphysics:"Allmenbynaturedesiretoknow.Anindicationofthisisthedelightwetakeinoursensesforevenapartfromtheirusefulnesstheyarelovedfor
themselvesandaboveallothersthesenseofsight"(1941,689).LikeHeinzHartmann(1939),Aristotleregardsthepursuitofknowledgeasan"autonomousego
function"thatisintrisicallymotivatedandnotnecessarilycontaminatedbysexualoraggressivedrives.
AsmyreferencestoHartmannandWinnicottsuggest,thelargerdebateinthehistoryofideasbetweenFreudandSt.AugustineontheonehandandAristotleonthe
otherisreenactedwithinthedomainofpsychoanalysis.Inasearchingmeditationonthesequestions,VictoriaHamiltonhasdrawnacontrastbetweenthe"tragic
vision,"whichistiedtoamodeloftheinfantas"aneedorientated,autisticcreaturewhodoesnotwishtoknowabouthisrealityortorelatetothebeingswhoinhabit
it,"anda"holycuriosity,"inwhich"thevarietiesofmentalfunctioningdevelopinthecontextof[maternal]presenceandminimalfrustrationandarelinkedtothe
emergenceoftransitionalobjectsandphenomena''(1982,25556).ForHamilton,theformerpositionisrepresentedinBritainbytheKleinianschool,notablybyW.
R.Bion,andthelatterbytheIndependentgroup,ledbyWinnicott.
Aglimpseoftheoutlinesofanalternativeperspectiveonhumandevelopmentandtheacquisitionofknowledgehelpstosettheclaimsofuniversalitypropoundedby
bothFreudandAugustineintocriticalrelief.Inaccentuatingarchetypalpatterns,thedangeralwaysliesinunderestimatingthedegreetowhichtheformtheytakeis
subjecttomodification

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byenvironmentalinfluences.AsIhavealreadyurged,thefactthatdeathisuniversalneednotbeexplainedasapunishment,asthedoctrineoftheFallwouldhaveit,
anddeathissurelyexperienceddifferentlybydifferentindividualsandcultures.Bythesametoken,Freud'stheoryofinnatedrivesofsexualityandaggression
overlooksthathumanbeingsareneverisolatedmonadsbutratherexist,frominfancyon,inastateofinterconnectednesstoothers,andthatitisthesepersonal
relationshipsthatlargelydeterminethequalityofaperson'semotionallife.
Whereasthedefenseof"holycuriosity"byAristotleandhispsychoanalyticalliesmaybetermedphilosophical,thevisionofFreudandAugustineisindeed
quintessentiallytragic.For,againandagain,itisthelessonofthetragicpoetsthatwisdomcomesthroughsuffering,thatknowledgeisacquiredonlythroughthe
violationofataboo.Aristotle'sequationofknowledgewithvisionhearkensbacktoPlato'ssimilesofthesunandthecaveintheRepublic.Butpreciselythispriority
giventothesenseofsightisexploitedbythetragedians,forwhomtheactofwitnessingaspectacleonthestageisnotaninnocentpastime.Sophocles'Oedipus,with
itsagonbetweenOedipusandTeiresias,immediatelycomestomindforitsthematizationofthedialecticofblindnessandinsight.Butnolessrelevantinthisconnection
isEuripides'Bacchae,thelastGreektragedy,whichcirclesbacktothemythofDionysusthatpresidesovertragedy'sbirth.For,inPentheus'succumbingtoDionysus'
temptationtoseetheritesoftheBacchantes,whichleadstohisdismembermentbyhismother,Euripidesfurnishesaparableofwhatitmeanstocometowatchaplay
beingperformedinthetheater.Thespectator,initiallysecureintheillusionofApolloniandetachment,comestofindthatheisimplicatedinwhathegazesupon,and
endsupbeingcastintheroleofheroandvictim,destroyedbytheDionysianforceshehasunwittinglyunleashed.7
InBookXoftheConfessions,afterexpatiatingonthetemptationsposedbythebodilyappetites,Augustinecomestothe"moredangerous"perilofthemind'suseof
thesensestosatisfyitsowninquisitiveness:"Thisfutilecuriositymasqueradesunderthenameofscienceandlearning,andsinceitderivesfromourthirstforknowledge
andsightistheprincipalsensebywhichknowledgeisacquired,intheScripturesitiscalledgratificationoftheeye"(X.35).NotonlydoesAugustineagreewiththe
Greektragediansonthesubversiveimplicationsoftheequationbetweenvisionandknowledge,butheusestheconceptof"lustofthe

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eyes"tolaunchanattackonscientificinquiryingeneral:"Itistosatisfythisunhealthycuriositythatfreaksandprodigiesareputonshowinthetheatre,andforthe
samereasonthatmenareledtoinvestigatethesecretsofnature,whichareirrelevanttoourlives"(X.35).Augustine'santiintellectualismastrandofChristian
theologynotopenlychallengeduntilBaconisnotlikelytoappealtomostmodernreaders,butitfollowslogicallyfromhisinsistenceontheinstinctualrootsofeven
seeminglyinnocuousactivities.
AugustineprovidesanillustrationofscoptophiliclustinactioninthestoryofAlypius,whodetestedthegladiatorialdisplaysinRome,butononeoccasionallowed
himselftobeledthitherbyfriends,convincedthathecouldremainunmovedbytheatrocities.Hekepthiseyestightlyshutuntil,thrilledbytheroarofthecrowd,he
couldnolongercontainhiscuriosity:"Soheopenedhiseyes,andhissoulwasstabbedwithawoundmoredeadlythananywhichthegladiator,whomhewasanxious
tosee,hadreceivedinhisbody.Hefell,andfellmorepitifullythanthemanwhosefallhaddrawntheroarofexcitementfromthecrowd"(VI.8).Alypiusexperiences
aChristianversionofthefateofPentheusandbecomesthetragicprotagonistofaspectaclebywhichhewasconsciouslyrepelledbutunconsciouslyfascinated,and
whichhethoughthecouldsafelywitness.
Withhiscustomarypsychologicalacuity,Augustinetracesthis"lustoftheeyes"toitsrootsinchildhood.Hewritesofhisownearlyloveofthetheater:"Astimewent
onmyeyesshonemoreandmorewiththesameeagercuriosity,becauseIwantedtoseetheshowsandsportswhichgrownupsenjoyed"(I.10).Inarestatementof
thegeneticoutlook,herecognizesthecontinuitybetweenthegamesplayedbychildrenandadults:"However,grownupgamesareknownas'business,'andeven
thoughboys'gamesaremuchthesame,theyarepunishedforthembytheirelders"(I.9).
Throughhisiterationoftheverb"fall"(cadere)inthetaleofAlypius,moreover,Augustinemakesplainthatallsuch"futilecuriosity"isarepetitionofthesinofAdam.
InhisanalysisoftheFallinTheCityofGod,AugustinestressesthevisualcomponentoftheshamevisiteduponAdamandEveasaconsequenceoftheir
transgression:"thattheirdisobediencemightbepunishedbyfitretribution,therebeganinthemovementoftheirbodilymembersashamelessnoveltywhichmade
nakednessindecent:itatoncemadethemobservantandmadethemashamed"

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(XIV.17).And,asIhavenoted,Augustineoffersasproofoftheshameattendantonallsexualintercoursethefactthat"noteventhechildrenthemselves...are
sufferedtobewitnesses."
Sincethecounterparttoparents'attemptstoconcealtheirsexualactivityisthe"eagercuriosity"ofchildrentopryintothesemysteries,Augustine'sexegesisof
scoptophiliaconvergeswithFreud'sconvictionthattheultimateobjectofinfantilesexualcuriosityisaviewoftheprimalscene.Noanalysthasmoreforcefully
championedthisconcept,andtheimportanceofinfantilefantasyingeneral,thanMelanieKlein:
Thefirstobjectofthisinstinctforknowledgeistheinteriorofthemother'sbody,whichthechildfirstofallregardsasanobjectoforalgratificationandthenasthescenewhere
intercoursebetweenitsparentstakesplace....Atthesametimeasitwantstoforceitswayintothemother'sbodyinordertotakepossessionofthecontentsandtodestroy
them,itwantstoknowwhatisgoingonandwhatthingslooklikeinthere....Thustheinstinctforknowledgebecomeslinkedatitssourcewithsadismwhenitisatitsheight,
whichmakesiteasiertounderstandwhythatbondshouldbesoclose,andwhytheinstinctforknowledgeshouldarousefeelingsofguiltintheindividual.(1932,174)

InacriticalreviewofKlein'sthought,EdwardGlovermaintainsthatherviewoftheinfant'srelationtoitsmother"isavariantofthedoctrineofOriginalSin"(1945,
117).ButonemayagreewithGlover'sassessmentwithoutconcurringthatKlein'scouplingofthe"instinctforknowledge"withsadismandguiltistherefore
incompatiblewithpsychoanalysis.Indeed,herpositionissimplyamoreextremeversionofthatespousedbyFreud,whoaverredthatpsychoanalysis"isnomorethan
confirmingthehabitualpronouncementofthepious:weareallmiserablesinners"(1913,72)anditisratherenvironmentallyorientedtheorists,suchasWinnicottand
Hartmann,whofacethechallengeofgraftingtheirmoreflexibleoutlooksontoFreud'spessimisticlegacy.
BookXservesanimportantfunctioninthestructureoftheConfessionsasawhole,forinitAugustineconfrontstheineradicabilityofsininhisownlifeevenafterhe
hasembracedChristianity.(Inthefinalthreebooks,Augustineabandonsautobiographyaltogetherinfavorofanextendedallegoricalexegesisoftheopeningversesin
Genesis,astheConfessionsundergoesanarrative"conversion"frompersonaltoimpersonalthemesthatparallelsthetrajectoryofAugustine'sownlife.)Augustine
observesthattheimagesofhisformerhabitsaboveall,fornicationwhichremainfeebleduringhiswakinghours,returnwithfullforcewhile

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heisasleep:"ButwhenIdream,theynotonlygivemepleasurebutareverymuchlikeacquiescenceintheact"(X.30).Unlikesex,however,whichhewasatleast
abletorelegatetotherealmofdreams,theappetiteforfoodanddrinkisnotonethathecanaltogetherrepudiate.WhatAugustinefindsmostinsidiousisthatthe
"snareofconcupiscence"lurkseveninsuchbiologicallyordainedactivities:"althoughthepurposeofeatinganddrinkingistopreservehealth,initstraintherefollows
anominouskindofenjoyment"(X.31).Himselfpronetoovereating,Augustineasksrhetorically:''Butisthereanyone,OLord,whoisneverenticedalittlebeyondthe
strictlimitofneed?"(X.31).
Augustinevividlyexemplifiesthedangersofthistemptationinhisnarrativeofthelifeofhismother.Asachild,Monica'supbringinghadbeenentrustedtoanaged
femaleservant,who,exceptatmealtimes,wouldnotallowMonicaorhersisters"todrinkevenwater,howevergreattheirthirst,forfearthattheymightdevelopbad
habits"(IX.8).Thisseveredisciplineseemsinitiallytohavebackfired,however,forMonica"developedasecretlikingforwine."Whenshewassentbyherparentsto
drawwinefromthecask,"shewouldsipafewdrops,barelytouchingitwithherlips,butnomorethanthis,becauseshefoundthetastedisagreeable.Shedidthis,not
becauseshehadanyrelishfortheliquoranditseffects,butsimplyfromtheexuberanthighspiritsofchildhood"(IX.8).Eachday,Monicatookincreasinglylargersips
until"itsoonbecameahabit,andshewoulddrinkherwineatadraught,almostbythecupful"(IX.8).Onlywhenaquarrelsomeservantgirlcalledheradrunkarddid
Monicarealizethedespicablenessofherfaultandputastoptoit.
Augustine'staleofMonicaformsapendanttohisownyouthfultheftofthepears.For,likeAugustine,Monicaatfirstdrinkstheliquor"notbecauseshehadanyrelish"
forit,butsimplyoutof"highspirits."ThissymmetrybetweentheparadigmaticsinsofmotherandsonsuggeststhatAugustine'sreenactmentoftheFallisdetermined
bythebondbetweenhimselfandhismotheratanevendeeperlevelthanMonica'swarningagainstadultery.Freudobservesthat"achild'ssuperegoisinfact
constitutedonthemodelnotofitsparentsbutofitsparents'superego"(1933,67),andhisinsightisborneoutbythewaythatAugustine'sstrictconscience,
transmittedbyMonica,maybefurthertracedbacktohermaternalnursemaid,who"wasconscientiousinattendingtoherduties,correctingthechildrenwhen
necessarywithstrictness,fortheloveof

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God,andteachingthemtoleadwiseandsoberlives"(IX.8).Monica'ssecretdrinkinglikewisehelpstoexplainhersubmissiontoAmbrose'sprohibitionagainst
bringinglibationstotheshrinesofthesaintsinMilan,althoughAugustinenevermakesexplicitthisconnectionbetweenherchildhoodandadultlife.
Augustine'scommentaryonthe"ominouskindofenjoyment"thataccompanieseatingagainhighlightstheaffinitybetweenhisthoughtandFreud's.Forboththeorists,
aswehaveseen,theinfantisafundamentallyselfishcreatureimpelledtodischargeinstinctualtensions.Freudwritesofinfants'proclivitytosucking:"Thebaby's
obstinatepersistenceinsuckinggivesevidenceatanearlyageofaneedforsatisfactionwhich,thoughitoriginatesfromandisinstigatedbythetakingofnourishment,
neverthelessstrivestoobtainpleasureindependentlyofnourishmentandforthatreasonmayandshouldbetermedsexual"(1940,154).ForbothAugustineand
Freud,thetakingofnourishmentarousesapleasurethatexceeds"thestrictlimitofneed,"andthissurchargeofexcitationcontaminatesthewholeoflifewitharesidue
ofsexualitythatresistsalleffortsatsublimation.
TheemphasisplacedonoralexperiencebybothAugustineandFreudconformstowhatHamiltonwithrespecttoBionhascalledthe"feedingmodel"ofhuman
knowledge,whichgeneratesthetragicvisionbecause"theknoweroscillatesbetweenhungerandsatisfaction,neitherofwhichextremesisacceptable"(1982,243).
Bowlby,ontheotherhand,woulddissentfromtheproponentsofinevitabletragedybyarguingthatattachment,andnotthe"secondarydrive"oftheoralzone,isthe
paramountdesireofhumanlife.Hamilton'scollocationofthe"feedingmodel"withatendencytooscillatebetweenextremesisvindicatedbyAugustineandFreud.
ErnestJoneshasdrawnattentiontoFreud's''obstinatedualism,"his"difficultyincontemplatinganytopicunlesshecoulddivideitintotwoopposites,andnevermore
thantwo"(1955,46970),andAugustineexhibitsthesamepenchantforcontraries.JustaseachincarnationofFreud'sinstincttheoryemploysoneoranotherpairof
antitheticalterms,soAugustine'sentireschemeoftheuniverseisfoundedonthedichotomybetweenloveofself(cupiditas)andloveofother(caritas)ortheCityof
ManandtheCityofGod.
ThemajesticpoweroftheFreudianandAugustiniantragicvisionsisbeyonddispute,but,aswiththeirrelianceonmastermyths,oneoughttoaskwhatislostaswell
asgainedbysuchexclusivefidelitytoabinary

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model.Thedualisticsystemsofbothmenfindaconcomitantintheirzealousdevotiontoacause,inwhoseserviceeachcouldbeapassionatehateraswellasalover.
Augustinewritescontemptuouslyofthepractitionersofastrology,"BynowIwaseagertomovetotheattackandreducethesepeopletosilencebyridicule"(VII.6),
andFreudsimilarlysparesnoquarterinhiscontroversieswiththeopponentsofpsychoanalysis.Inlightoftheiraggressivetemperaments,itisnotsurprisingthatmany
oftheworksofbothdefendersofthefaithshouldbepolemicalincharacterandbeartheimpressoftheoccasionsbywhichtheywerecalledintobeing.
Butwhateverone'squalmsabouttheirideasorcharacters,therecanbenodoubtthatbothAugustineandFreudpossessedtogetherwithintellectualand
administrativepowersofthehighestordertheintrospectivegeniusthatallowedthemtoimmortalizetheirpersonalhistoriesinworksthatepitomizetheWestern
traditionsofautobiographyandpatriarchy.AsPeterBrownhasobserved,Augustine"takesupapositionanalogoustothatofFreud"inmaintainingthata"dislocation
inhumanconsciousness"makesselfknowledgeinherentlyimperfectandlanguagealwaysinneedofinterpretation(1967,261).AsistrueofFreud,moreover,
Augustinesimultaneouslyexpoundsatheoryofrepressioninhisview,aresultoftheFallandencountersitateveryturninhisselfanalysis:"Butwhilehe
[Ponticianus]wasspeaking,OLord,youwereturningmearoundtolookatmyself.ForIhadplacedmyselfbehindmyownback,refusingtoseemyself"(VIII.7).
AccordingtoFreud,dreams,slips,andneuroticsymptomsareallcompromiseformations,inwhichbothrepressingandrepressedagenciesofthemindfindpartial
expression.Confrontingtheparadoxofinhibition,Augustinereachesthesameconclusionamillenniumandahalfearlier:"It[themind]givestheorderonlyinsofaras
itwills,andinsofarasitdoesnotwilltheorderisnotcarriedout"(VIII.9).
MasudKhanhaspersuasivelyarguedthatFreud's"greatestinvention"willalwaysbe"theuniquehumansituationwhereapersoncanexplorethemeaningand
experientialrealitiesofhislife,througharelationshipwithanother,andyetnotbeintrudeduponormanipulatedinanywaythatisnottruetohisownselfand
values"(1972,127).Therootsoftheanalyticsettinglieintheformofautobiography,inwhichtheselftakesitselfasitsownobjectinordertorecoverintegrity
throughdialoguewithanimaginedother,whetherthatotherbethetranscendentdeityof

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St.AugustineorthehumaninterlocutorsofMontaigne,Rousseau,andFreud(Khan1970).InWinnicott's(1958)view,theprototypeofpsychoanalytictreatmentis
therelationshipbetweentheinfantandmother,inwhichthemotherpermitstheinfanttobealoneinherpresence.Augustinerevealsthesamespacetobeessentialto
hisdialoguewithGod.HeconfesseshisanguishedresponsetothePsalmsofDavid:"thiscrycamefrommyinmostheart,whenIwasaloneinyourpresence"(IX.4).
Thatachildshouldwishtostrikethosewhoknowbetterthanhe,includinghisownparents,Augustinecontends,"showsthat,ifbabiesareinnocent,itisnotforlack
ofwilltodoharm,butforlackofstrength"(I.7).ThisunsparingjudgmentonhumannatureinthecradleanticipatesthepassagefromDiderot'sRameau'sNephew
invokedbyFreudasanillustrationofhisownteachings:"Ifthelittlesavagewerelefttohimself,preservingallhisfoolishnessandaddingtothesmallsenseofachildin
thecradletheviolentpassionsofamanofthirty,hewouldstranglehisfatherandliewithhismother"(191617,338).WhatAugustinecalledoriginalsin,Freud
renamedtheOedipuscomplexandboththeologianandpsychoanalystwrotefrompersonalexperienceofthesenseofguiltthattheydeemedthebedrockof
civilizationandthepriceofforbiddenknowledge.
Notes
1.QuotationsfromtheConfessionsaretothetranslationofR.S.PineCoffin.Forthesakeofconvenience,Iwillgiveparentheticalreferencesbybookandsection
number.ThesameholdsforthetranslationfromTheCityofGodbyMarcusDods.
2.Commentingonthispattern,wherebyAugustinereplaceshispaganfatherwithAmbrose,FrecceroarguesthatthepsycherevealedintheConfessionsis"notthat
ofSt.AugustinetheindividualbutratherthatofLatinChristianity"(1986,27).Butitisnotnecessarytochoosebetweenindividual,cultural,anduniversallevelsof
meaning,allofwhichareatplayinAugustine'soedipaldramaofsalvation.
3.OnAugustineandAeneas,seeKligerman(1957),towhomIamindebtedontheoedipalconfigurationsinAugustine'sfamily.
4.Inapreviouspaper(1988)IhaveattemptedtoshowthattheOedipuscomplexfunctionsasthe"latentcontent"ofMilton'srenderingoftheFallinParadiseLost.

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5.MycollocationofWinnicott'sideasandAugustine'stheftofthepearshasbeenanticipatedbyHopkins(1981).
6.SeePagels(1988),who,however,exaggeratesthenoveltyofAugustine'sinterpretationoftheFall.QuotationsfromtheBiblearetotheKingJamesVersion.
7.Foraprofoundmeditationonthese"metatragic"dimensionsofTheBacchae,seeSegal(1982,21571)andSpitz(1991,178201).
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Segal,C.1982.DionysiacPoeticsandEuripides'"Bacchae."Princeton:PrincetonUniv.Press.
Spitz,E.Handler.1991."MeditationsontheSmileofDionysus:RepresentationsofPerverseFantasyinEuripides'Bacchae"inImageandInsight.NewYork:
ColumbiaUniv.Press,178201.
Suttie,I.1935.TheOriginsofLoveandHate.London:FreeAssociationBooks,1988.
Winnicott,D.W.1958.TheCapacitytoBeAlone.InTheMaturationalProcessesandtheFacilitatingEnvironment.London:HogarthPress,1966,pp.2936.
.1964.TheChild,theFamily,andtheOutsideWorld.Harmondsworth:PenguinBooks,1978.

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Eight
TheArchitectureofSexuality:
BodyandSpaceinTheDecameron
RichardKuhns
CognominatoPrencipeGaleotto.
Boccaccio,TheDecameron
Allpaintingsthatmetaphorizethebodyreceivesomepartoftheirauthoritytodosofromthewaytheyengagewithprimitivephantasiesaboutthebody.
RichardWollheim,PaintingasanArt

Inanearlierstudy(1989)Itoldthestoryofthepoetwhowouldalsobe,andregardedhimselfas,thepainter.BoccaccioforheisthepoetaspainterIreferredto
exploredalloftheartsinthebookwhichmightberegardedasthefirstGesamtkunstwerkofalongtraditionweknowwellinourowntimeofoperaand
"happenings."AsTheDecamerongrowsinitsonehundredstories,itplotsoutandestablishestheboundariesofmanyarchitecturalandphysiologicalspaces.Nor
doesitneglecttosetthemintime,theotherfundamentalparameterofhumanconsciousness.
RunningasasinewofarticulationthroughoutthetendaysofstorytellingthatmakethecorpusofTheDecamerontherearerepeateddescriptionsofbuildingsand
bodies.Itisatonceobviousthatthey

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metaphorizeoneanother,andthatintherepresentationofarchitecturalsettingsandhumanbodiessymbolicreferencestospaceandtime,parts,andwholes,createa
latentfoundationforthemanifestentertainments.Thatbuildingsandbodiesstandasmetaphorsforoneanotherhasbeennotedbymanypsychoanalystsandart
historians.RichardWollheim(1987,30554)hasanalyzedthoserealizationsinpaintingthroughastudyofTitian,Bellini,Bellotto,andDeKooning.
Ofcourse,wearefamiliarfromliteraturewiththemanywaysinwhichhumanbodiesmetaphorizespaceandtime,andobjectsmetaphorizebodies.InThe
DecameronBoccacciofoundsubtle,andforhispurposesessential,waystoendowbodieswithmeaningswellbeyondtheliteralandtousemerephysicalpresences
asmetaphorsforthebody.Asthetendaysofstorytellingunfold,thereisadevelopingcomplexityinthearchitecturalandphysiologicalinterconnections.Theybeginat
thebeginning:thebrigatameetsinSantaMariaNovellatheyreturntothatchurchattheconclusionoftheirstorytellingstaysinthreedifferentgardensoutsideof
Florence.SantaMariaNovellahousedfrescoeswhosenarrativecontentestablishesformsandthemesforthesucceedingstories,andthepaintingsofferobvious
interpretativesuggestionstothereader.Imentiononlytwoofthefrescoes:therepresentation,inananthilllikecrosssection,ofDante'sInferno,byNardodiCione
andthecolorful,heavilypopulatedpaintingsintheSpanishChapeldepictingthegloryofSt.ThomasAquinas(SantaMariaNovellaisaDominicancenterofworship
andlearning),andonanotherwall,anallegoryoftheDominicanorder.AfullanalysisofTheDecameronwouldrevealaffinitiesbetweenitandDante'sDivine
Comedy,andwouldopenuptoourinquiriesthepresenceofThomasAquinasinmanyofthestories.
Gardens,bothopenandenclosed,courtyards,andwalledvestibulesthelastofwhichareoftengivenanatomicalspecificallysexualsuggestivenessaschambersthat
serveasentrancestoaninneroradjacentcavityappearoverandoveragaininTheDecameron.ThereadingsIofferbelowserveasexamples.Thebook'suseofa
commongardenenclosuretoposhasbeenwellunderstoodthroughmanystudiesofthehistoryofsuchstructuresandspaces(Doob1990).Yetwiththistradition,as
witheverythingelseherepresents,Boccaccioworkswonderfultransformationsandcreateswittyanaloguesaswellasprofoundinterconnections.Itismyinteresthere
toexploresomeofthesespacesandtoclimbarounduponsomeofthestructures.Iimaginemyselfinthe(mo

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mentarily)happyconditionofGuiscardoonhiswaytomeetGhismonda,inDayIV,Story1.IonlyhopeIdonotendashedid,inhavingmyheartcutoutandsentto
myobjectofdesireasapunishment.
ThesadtaleofGhismondaisprecededbyratherdetaileddescriptionsofwomen,theirplaceinfamilylife,theirminds,andtheirbodiesaswellasoftheconsolation
andphilosophicalinstructionthisbookasGaleotto(orgobetween)willprovideforthem.TheDecameronasawholeopenswithanaddresstowomenwhoarein
dangeroffallingintomelancholybecauseofthesequesteredandlonelylivestheyareforcedtolead,yetwhohidewithintheirbreastsafierypassionwhichdrivesthem
toseekobjectsnotjustofsexualgratification,butofinsightandunderstanding.TheyarelikePlato'saspiringyouthswhoneeddirectionandameansofascenttothe
properobjectoftheirdrivingeroticdesire.Andtheyarealso,welearnintheintroductiontoDayIV,Muses,realMuses,whoinspirethepoet,Boccaccio,tofeatsof
linguisticexcellenceinstorytelling.FleshandbloodladiesareinspirationsthemythicMusesarenot!
Onceonehasgiventhoughttothesedeclarationsonthepartoftheauthorwhobestowsthecognomenof"PrencipeGaleotto"uponhisbook,onewillbereadyto
understandthedeephiddenmeaninginthatdelightfulfirststoryofDayIIIwhichIshallreadasanintroductiontothestoryofGhismonda.
ThisisthestoryofMasettoofLamporecchio,whopretendstobedumbandtakesajobasagardenerinaconventwhereallthenunsusehimastheirbedfellow.To
besure,thestoryisusuallyreadasanindictmentofthelasciviouslifeofwomendeniedtheirnecessarysexualpleasures.Buthere,aswithalmosteveryotherstoryin
TheDecameron,thereisa"secret"tobeexcavatedbytheperceptivereader.Thereareninenuns(includingtheMotherSuperior),justastherearenineMuses.
IntercoursewiththeMusesisthepoet'savenuetosong,andindeedsexualintercoursewiththenunsleadsthe"dumb"MasettotobreakintospeechwhentheMother
Superiorexhaustshiminsexualplay."Amiracle,"sheshouts.Indeeditisamiraclehehasn'tcried"Uncle"longbeforebutthemiracleis,aswereadersknow,the
miraculousmoveacrossboundarieswhenthesimplemanbecomesapoet.Asthetextsays,''whenhistongueligamentwascut"hebrokeintowords(rottolo
scilinguagnolo,cominciadire)heisnowtrulytemperedintheservicetohisMuses,andthereafterdevoteshimselftofathering"babies,"i.e.,hisworks.Indeed,
movingintodeservedretirement,Masettocallsthereaders'at

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tentiontohisfunctionasasurrogateforBoccaccio:"Andthis,hemaintained,wasthewaythatChristtreatedanybodywhoplacedapairofhornsuponhis[Christ's]
crown"(checostrattavaCristochegliponevalecornasopra'lcappello)(1972,234411984,8186).TheDecameronslylypointsoutitsown
incommensurabilitywiththebeliefsanddoctrinesofChristianity.Thisstorybelongstoawholesetofstorieswhichareexplicitlyconcernedwithartists,suchasGiotto,
Buffalmacco,Calandrino,andotherswhoappearinvariousdisguises(VI,5VIII,3VIII,6VIII,9IX,3IX,5).
ThecuckoldingofChristputsthepoetinaparticularrelationshiptoboththeMusesofthepaganworldandtheSavioroftheChristianworld:tobeapoetnotonly
mustoneseduceandliewiththeMuses(tillexhausted),butonemustalsobeasexualtraitortoChristhimself,beddingdownhisownbrides.BydeprivingChristof
theirministrations,onedeclaresoneselfforeverfreedfromtheholdofChristianityuponpoetry'screativethought.
Thislovelytalestandsasaparadigmforeveryoneinthebookinthatithidesdeepandyetdeepermeaningstheyareforustoferretout,todigdownto,toliftupinto
consciousness.AndthusthesimplegardenerofLamporecchionotonlyworksthesoilinanenclosedplace,butexploreswithhisMusesthebodiestheyintertwine
withinafertilegarden.Spaceandthebodynowbegintofilloutthemanysuggestiveimplicationsofthecognomenofthebook,PrinceGaleotto.
Thebook,webegintounderstandasweinterprettheindividualstories,andmostemphaticallytheauthorofthebook,Boccaccio,Mr.Badmouth,hewhopulls
faces,hewhowearsmasksforallthosemeaningsarehiddeninthenameBoccacciobestoweduponhimselfisthePrinceofPimps,thegobetween,theonewho
leadshischaractersintotheirsexuallinguisticinterchangesandcommunionsofbodyandofmind,andtheonewhotakesthereaderintohisconfidenceifthereader
onlyknowshowtoread,whichmeans,aswithMasetto,howtocommunewiththeMuses,thelovelyladies.
Ofcourse,suchcommunionshavetheirrisksaswithallsexualartisticplay,onemayfallovertheedge,onemaydescendfromarttopornography,oronemaybeget
bathetictales.Worse,onemayendupdead.ThatisthefateofpoorGuiscardo,whobecametheloverofthephilosophicallyandsexuallyadventurousGhismonda.
Here,inthefirststoryofDayIV,thearchitectureofsexualityisfullyexplored:thespacewithout

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andwithinthebody,theroomdesignedforlove,thedangerofbeingdiscovered,andthepenaltiesattachedtowomen'sexplorationsofboththeirownbodiesand
theirsexualrelationswithmenarecloselyrepresentedinacomplexsetofmetaphorsandarguments.Herephilosophyandpoetryjoinforcesinarevelationthatisat
onceshockingandenobling.
ThephilosophicallysubtleandphysicallydeprivedGhismondaselectstheunaffectedGuiscardoasherlovertobe.Shehandshimanotehiddeninareed,andsaysto
him,"Turnitintoabellowspipeforyourservingwench,sothatshecanuseittokindlethefirethisevening"(1972,333).Oneneednotseekfarforthesexual
meaningofthisexchange.AndGhismondahas,wequicklylearn,beenexploringbothherownbodyandthearchitectureoftheplaceinwhichshelives:fleshandearth
metaphorizeeachother,aswephilosophicallyknowtheyinfactdo.
Thisinteranimationisrepresentedinthefollowingdescription:
InsidethemountainonwhichthePrince'spalacestood,therewasacavern,formedatsomeremoteperiodofthepast,whichwaspartiallylitfromabovethroughashaftdriven
intothehillside.Butsincethecavernwasnolongerused,themouthoftheshaftwasalmostentirelycoveredoverbyweedsandbrambles.Therewasasecretstaircaseleadingto
thecavernfromaroomoccupiedbythelady,onthegroundfloorofthepalace,butthewaywasbarredbyamassivedoor.Somanyyearshadpassedsincethestaircasehadlast
beenused,thathardlyanybodyremembereditwasstilltherebutLove,towhoseeyesnothingremainsconcealed,hadremindedtheenamouredladyofitsexistence.
Forseveraldaysshehadbeenstrugglingtoopenthisdoorbyherself,usingcertainimplementsofherownaspicklockssothatnooneshouldperceivewhatwasafoot.Having
finallygotitopen,shehaddescendedaloneintothecavern,seentheshaft,andwrittentoGuiscardo,givinghimaroughideaofthedistancebetweenthetopoftheshaftandthe
floorofthecavern,andtellinghimtotryandusetheshaftashismeansofaccess....[T]hefollowingnight...hemadehiswaytotheshaft,wearingasuitofleathertoprotect
himselffromthebrambles.Firmlytyingoneendoftheropetoastoutbushthathadtakenrootatthemouthoftheopening,heloweredhimselfintothecavernandwaitedforthe
ladytocome.(1972,33334)

ButtheenvyofFortunebringstheirpleasuretoatragicendGhismonda'sfather,Tancredi,anoedipalPaifevertherewasone,observeshisdaughterandherloverin
theirsexualexertions.TancredihasGuiscardokilled,andconveyshishearttoGhismondawiththecruelestwordsutteredinthewholebook:"Yourfathersendsyou
thistocomfortyouintheloss

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ofyourdearestpossession,justasyouhavecomfortedhiminthelossofhis"(1972,339).
Ghismonda'sdetailedaccounttoherfatherofthepurposes,necessities,andelevatingpowersoflovegivestheimpressionthatBoccacciohadreadPlato's
Symposium.Heofcourseknewofitindirectly,butmanuscriptsoftheSymposiumbecameavailableonlyinthenextcentury.Nonetheless,TheDecameronis
throughoutadeeplyphilosophicalbook,andinthisstoryofGuiscardoandGhismondathehierarchyofbodymindspiritandthelinkingofrationalargumentwith
corporalityisverylikethetwinthemesofthePhaedrusinwhichSocratesunites(inaverysexualwayonemustrecallthatPhaedrusinitiallyseeksoutSocratesin
ordertoreceiveinstructiononseduction)mythandargument,bodyandsoul,earthyphysicalityandetherealspiritualityinthestoryofthechariotdrawnbyblackand
whitesteeds.Indeed,Socrates,likeBoccaccio,isaPrinceGaleotto.Butthenthatistheverynatureofphilosophyitself,andofTheDecameron.Socratesreferredto
himselfasapimp(MastroposTheaetetus,150a).
DayVIII,Story7,thelongesttaleofTheDecameron,isatoncethemostdifficulttointerpretandthemostcomplexinitsexplorationofbodyandmind,sexualityand
thought.ThecharactersElenathewidowandRinierithephilosopherrepresentbodyandmind,andthemindbodyproblemwasneversodelicatelyyetsoharshly
andcruellysetforth.
Inthecollectionofstories,thisoneisnumber77,andsinceeverynumberismeaningfulinTheDecameron,thereaderisexpectedtounderstandthat77suggests
completiontwiceover.(SevenisthedayonwhichGodrestedaftercreatingtheuniverse.)Thedoublehere,Isuggest,referstothetwinshipandtotalinterdependence
ofbodyandmind.IshallexplaintheunderlyingnarrativestrategythatitseemstomeBoccaccioslylyinvokes.
Thisisthestoryinwhichthepoetpimpbringstogetherambiguouslydefined"lovers"inwhatappearstobedeepmisogyny,inabookthatuptothispointhasbeen
devotedtothelovelyladies.Thewouldbeloversinthisstorycan,itappears,onlydestroyeachother.Yetthereliesbeneaththecruelsurfacedepthsofcalm
understandingandeven,Ibelieve,biblicalwisdom.
ThestorybeginswithRinieri,thephilosopher,justreturnedfromstudyinginParis,eagerlyseekingtowinthewidowElena.Shealready

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hasaloverandfindspleasureinforcingRinieritostandoutsideinthecourtyardofherhouseonabitterlycoldnightwhiletheloversdesportthemselvesinside.Shortly
thereafterElenalosesherloverandseeksoutRinieri,towhomsheattributesmagicalpowershebeingaphilosopherandhepromisestohelpher.Inmidsummer
heatshestandsnakedonatowerinthebeliefthatmagicalcharmswillbringherloverbacktoher.Theladderbywhichshemightdescendhasbeenremoved.As
Rinierinearlydiedofthecold,shenearlydiesoftheheat.
Ishallseektheinnerhiddenplotofthisstorythroughthe"argument"givenbyRinieritotheladyhehasfinallytrappedonthetowerwheresheisbeingtorturedby
exposure,inhernakedness,tothesun.
Andevensupposingthatallmylittleschemeshadfailed,Ishouldstillhavehadmypen,withwhichIshouldhavelampoonedyousomercilessly,andwithsomucheloquence,
thatwhenmywritingscametoyournotice,astheycertainlywould,youwouldhavewishedathousandtimesadaythatyouhadneverbeenborn.Thepowerofthepenisfar
greaterthanthosepeoplesupposewhohavenotproveditbyexperience.(1972,636).

Thephilosopherthendeliversalectureonthesexualpotency,stayingpower,andtechniqueofolderlovers,for"theywillshakeyourskincoatwithgreatervigor,the
olderman,beingmoreexperienced,hasabetterideaofwherethefleasarelurking"(637).Theoldermandoesnotgooffatagallop,butconveystheladywitha
gentletrottotheirdestination.Conversely,inDayVI,Story1,MadonnaOrettaisgivenabadridebytheincompetent"storyteller"andsufferssexualarousalwithout
fullgratification.Soshewhohaslittletime"Oretta''meaning"littlehour"suffersfromtheyouthfulknight'sinabilitytousehis"pen"tothefull,andwithittocreatea
satisfyingstory.Inallthestoriesthereareclosemetaphoricaffinitiesbetweenhorses,horsebackriding,storytelling,andthepowerofthepen,whosephonetic
likeness,inItalianasinEnglish,toanotherinstrumentisonlytooobvious.
However,IampuzzledaboutthecomplexinnerstructureofStory77,ofwhichIhaveuncoveredbutasmallpart.Mystillevolvinginterpretationgoeslikethis:Elena
representsthebodyRinieri,themind.Eachmustbe"educated"inthepowersoftheotherandtheirneedforinterdependence.ElenateachesRinierithecoldnessof
intellectandphilosophyifpursuedwithoutattentiontotheneedsofthefleshRinieriteachesElenathedestructiveforceofbodilypassionwithout

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mindorattentiontotruthandthought.ThusElenabelievesphilosophytobeblackmagic,andRinieriplaysonthatdeficiencytoleadherintoselfdestruction.1 Ifleft
isolated,bodyandminddestroyeachotherneithercansurvivewithouttheother.Attendantuponbodyandmind,andessentialtotheirfullestdevelopment,aretwo
powerssightandspeech.Theheroandheroineofthisstorylearnhowtouseandcontroltheireyesandvoice,theabilitytoseeclearlyandtruthfully,andRinieri
possessestheabilitytowritepowerfullyasstoryteller.Tosuggesttoustheessentialnatureofthesetwogiftswhichintheirinterdependencedefinehumanitythatis,
theeyeandthepenthestorytellsushowitshouldbereadandunderstood.ThegiftofsightanditspowersarerepresentedinthefigureofSaintLucy,foritisin
SantaLuciadalPratothatElenaandRinierimeetwhenElenaturnstoher"magician"forhelp.
SaintLucywasthevirginmartyrofSyracuse,inthereignofDiocletian.ShewasdenouncedandcondemnedasaChristian,butnopowercouldmoveherfromthe
placewhereshestood.Theorderwasgiventoburnher,buttheflamesdidnottouchher.Shewasslainbyasword,thrustintoherneck.Acuriousstoryisattached
tothelifeofthesaintitisrecountedthatayoungmanwassomovedbythebeautyofhereyesthathecouldfindnorest.She,torequitehispassion,toreouthereyes
andsentthemtohim.Thus,sheisrepresentedholdingaplatewithhereyesonit.2
ThestoryemphasizesthepoweroflanguagethroughRinieri'sargumentshurledatElenaandhisboastingaboutthepowerofhispen.Mindwillalwayswinoverbody,
butbodymustbegivenitsdueandthesalvationofbodydependsonmind,becauseonlythroughmind(thought)doesbodyachieveimmortality.Thisisboth
theologicaldoctrineandpsychologicalinsight,apairingthatischaracteristicofBoccaccio'spowerasawriter.
DayVIII,Story7exploresthemindbodyproblemintermsthatgobeyondtheologicalandphilosophicalsophistries.Intheprocessitexploresthewaysinwhichthe
interdependenceofmindandbodybecomesknowntousandthemeanswherebyweexploreeachsideoftheself.Sexuallifebringstwobodiestogether.Thatwas
theoriginalgoalofRinieri,andhealmostgivesintolustwhenheseesElenanakedbuthecontrolshisbodyonbehalfofthechasteningofbodyhewillimposeon
Elena.Sheimposesachasteninguponhisbodyinherturn,butit

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wasonbehalfofthosepassionsthatinterferewithphilosophygreed,every,anger,andpettynarcissisticboastingtoherlover.
ThemodelofSaintLucyshouldbeaguideforElena,andforthoseofuswhouseeyestoread.TheinsightsofphilosophyshouldbeaguideforRinieri,whohadgone
toParistostudy,andforusthelifeofthesaintandtheteachingsofphilosophyshouldbeentertainedinconnectionwithSaintLucy'spurityofbody.Thehighest
exerciseofmind(philosophy)andthemostseverechasteningofthebody(religiousfervor)cometogetherinastorythatteachesushowtoplacebodyandmindin
theirproperorder.
WhenElenaandhermaidservantarefinallyfreedfromthetower,itisrecountedthatthemaidbrokeherthighwhileclimbingdowntheladder.Thebreakingofthe
thighis,Ibelieve,areferencetoGen.32:2533,whereJacobwrestlestheangel,andconnectsalsowiththevisionofJacob,i.e.Jacob'sLadder.Tobreakthethigh
is,byanalogy,tosustaintheinjuryinflictedbytheangeluponJacob.ThisIinterpretasasymbolofthedangerthatone'ssoulmaybealienatedfromthewholeand
thusreducetheselfbyhalf.3
TheservantofElenasuffersaninjurythatrepresentswhathashappenedtohermistress:thesoulisnolongerpresentinthebody,andthephysicalandthespiritual
realmshavebeensplit.Thepersonisreducedtoananimalform.ThisinterpretationismetaphorizedinthedescriptionofElenawho,sufferingextremesunburn,islike
asnakesheddingitsskin.Elenaisasnake,thatiswithoutasoul,andtheincarnationofsheercarnality.Incontrast,Rinieri,bymeansofmindandthoughtthatis
philosophycontrolshissexualimpulsessufficientlytosuppressthephysical.ThehopedforsexualunionwastotakeplaceonthedayafterChristmas,thegreatfeast
dayoftheincarnationoftheLord.Butthatincarnationoccurseverymomentinwhichmindandbodycoupleandcreatefurthermindbodies.BoccaccioasPrince
Galeottoworksonthelevelsofbothphysicalbodilyandspiritualaestheticreality.ArtistheproductofthepenbrushpenisasitinseminatestheMuses,andtheyin
turngivebirthtopimpingimagination'simagesandnarratives.Theygaintheirpoweroverusthroughtheirwisdominbeauty.Thebeautifulthatwhichwerespondto
asaestheticenfolds,encloses,shroudsthedeepestthought,forthroughthebeautyofartthewayisgainedfirstintotheenclosedgardenorcourtyard,andtheninto
thewombofcreativity.

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Notes
1.Thereare,Ibelieve,hiddenreferencestoBoccacciohimselfinthethemeofmagic.ThebiographerofBoccaccio,HenriHauvette,makesastrange
commentaboutthewayinwhichBoccacciowasrememberedbyhisneighborsinCertaldo:
ThegoodpeopleofCertaldo,whoseintelligenceBoccaccioneverboastedof,preservedonlyamemoryofhimasakindofmagicianorsorcerer.The
devil,itwassaid,atBoccaccio'sbiddingjoinedtogetherbyabridgeofglasshishousetothestrangehillwhichfacedit,sincehehadalongingtowalk
thereatnight.Itistoldthatawoman,whoseworkasaweavershookthewallthatseparatedherhousefromthatofthestoryteller,saw[through]abreak
inthewallanavalancheofpapersandconjuringbooksthathehaddevotedlyandwithhastecastintothefire.(1914,464)
2.Boccaccio'stalecontainsfrequentreferencestotheputtingoutofeyes.Elenasays:"I'vebeencryingsomuchoverthetrickIplayedonyou...thatit'samiracleI
haveanyeyesleftinmyhead"(1972,633).Rinieriboastsofthepowerofhispen:"youwouldhavebeensomortifiedbythethingsIhadwrittenthatyouwouldhave
putoutyoureyesratherthanlookuponyourselfeveragain"(636).
3.Thethigh(coscia)hasamultitudeofmeaningsinalllanguages,sothereferencesherearecomplex.Thethighisoftenametonymyforthegenitals,andthebreaking
ofthethighthereforesuggestscastration.IntheVulgate,"femur"isthethigh,andthepassageinGen.32:25states:"Qui[theangel]cumvideretquideum[Jacob]
superarenonposset,tetigitnervumfemoriseius,etstatimemarcuit"(Andwhenhesawthatheprevailednotagainsthim,hetouchedthehollowofhisthighandthe
hollowofJacob'sthighwasoutofjoint.)"Femur"isoftentranslated''loins,"thesourceoffertilityandfuturegenerations.SeeGen.46:26Exod.1:15.(Iamindebted
toEugeneRiceforthesereferences.)
References
Boccaccio,G.1972.TheDecameron,trans.G.H.McWilliam.Hamondsworth,England:PenguinBooks.
.1984.Decameron,ed.C.Segre.Milano:Mursia.
Doob,P.R.1990.TheIdeaoftheLabyrinth.Ithaca:CornellUniv.Press.

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Hauvette,H.1914.Boccace:tudebiographiqueetlittraire.Paris:ArmandColin.
Kuhns,R.1989.TheWriterasPainter:ObservationsonBoccaccio'sDecameron.InMalerieiundStadtkulturinderDantezeit,ed.H.Belting.Munich:Hirmer
Verlag,pp.6569.
Wollheim,R.1987.PaintingasanArt.Princeton:PrincetonUniv.Press.

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Nine
OnHamlet'sMadnessesandtheUnsaid
AndrGreen
WhydoesHamletdelay?Theprobleminvitestoomanyanswers,proof,unfortunately,thatnoneofthemisconvincing.Whenweask,however,"Whydoes
ShakespearehaveHamletdelay?"andlinkthisquestiontothetheater,andtothefactthatthetheaterrepresentsitselfinHamlet,wearetemptedtoconnectthe
theater'smiseenabmewiththeoverturningofitsmainspringaction.Shakespeareconstructshisplaybyinvertingthesignsofthetheatricalprojectofhistime,
opposingtoactionitsnegativeinaction,ordivertedaction.InthisthetheaterinHamletbecomesmimeticofthepsyche,whichdefers,displaces,andcondensesby
representation.Inbeingrepresented,thetheaterisnegativized,invertingitsaimsandcatchingtheconscienceofthespectatorthroughthenonrealizationofdesire.
Althoughonecanexplainthisnonrealizationinpsychopathologicalterms,thesetermswillalwaysbeinadequatebecausewhatisinquestionhereisnotthecontentof
therepresentationbutratherthestructureofrepresentation1 itselfor,moreprecisely,thesubject'srelationtohisrep
ThischapterisatranslationbyJoshuaWilnerofexcerptsfromAndrGreen,HamletetHamletuneinterprtationpsychoanalytiquedelareprsentation(Paris:Balland,1983).
ThechapterhaspreviouslyappearedinHebrewUniversityStudiesinLiteratureandtheArts14(Autumn1986):1839andisreprintedherebypermissionoftheeditorsandDr.
Green.

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resentation.Inpsychopathology,onecanseparatethesubjectfromhisrepresentation,oneevenconceivesofhimasusinghisrepresentationnotmerelytodisguiseor
todeceivehimselfbuttoeffacehimself,sothatwewilllookforhimsomeplaceelse.Inthetheater,thisseparationisimpossibletheexcessofrepresentationsaturates
consciousness,fascinatesit,andbarsthethoughtofaseparablesubject.Astherepresentationofasituation,ofacharacterorofseveralcharactersjoinedinsolidarity,
astherepresentationoftheirownrepresentation,Hamletisexemplary.Hamletisapicedethtreabouttheater,whichistosay,aboutthesubject's(authorand/or
actor)relationtorepresentation.Buttounderstandthispieceoftheater,itisnotenoughtobepresentatitsstagingonemustrethinkitbyareadingwhichsituatesthe
representationretrospectively.2
Aswithlanguage,sowithrepresentation.Unceasingly,thedeepenedanalysisofrepresentationsendsusbacktoitself,tothecontainerwhichitconstitutes,andwhich
oneseekstoapprehendindependentofallcontentandunceasingly,indelimitingitsformalframework,webecomeawarethatweareunabletograspitapartfromits
content,withoutwhichweareunabletoconceiveit.Wetryinvaintothinktheframewithoutthepicture,thecontainerwithoutthecontent:theframerelegatesusto
thepicture,whichinitsturnsendsusbacktotheframe.Thereisnowaytoseparatethisframefromtherepresentationofparricideandincest.Thesymbolicefficacy
oftheonedependsonthesymbolizingpoweroftheothers.
WehavedweltontheanalysisoftheframeinordertomakeitclearthatatragedywhichmightseemlikeanyotherofShakespeare'stragediesis,infact,ofaformal
complexitywhichprecludesthepossibilityofunderstandingitsimplyintermsofathemeapproachablewiththetoolsofconsciousness.Allthemoresointhatparricide
andincestareboundupherewiththequestionofHamlet'smadness.
ThelimitsofpsychologicalinterpretationareneverbetterrevealedthanwhencriticalcommentarytriestosaysomethingaboutthequestionofmadnessinHamletand
moreparticularlythequestionofHamlet'smadness.Formadnessisnotoneaspectofthistragedyamongothers.Itisboundupwiththethemeofparricideandincest
andwiththehero'sobscureproblematic.Andnothisalone,sinceOpheliaisalsostricken,sufferingdefinitivelythefatethatmighthavebeenHamlet's.Whatmustbe
recognizedistheexistenceofinterdependentrelationsbetweenthe

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problematicofthetheaterrepresentationthatofincestandparricide,andfinallythatofmadness.Whatwelackistherepresentationofthistotalityandits
articulations,whichwouldcallforaconceptionoftherepresentationalfunctioninandofthesethreeorders.Noothertragedymoreclearlyshowsthatitisthehaunting
ofrepresentationwhichdrivesonemadanditisbyworkingthroughrepresentationthatoneissavedfrommadness,beitonlybyshiftingitsburdentoanother.
Parricideandincestholdthekeytothepowerofrepresentationtheirstructuringpowermayneverthelessbeascreenforsomethingunrepresentablewhichmustatall
costsbeexorcised.
Toaddress,evenifonlyinafewwords,theenigmaofmadnessinHamletandinHamlet'scaseistokilltwobirdswithonestone:ontheonehand,totrytorespond
inanotherwaybymeansofpsychoanalyticinterpretationtoitsraisond'treontheotherhand,todemonstratewhyonlyapsychoanalyticinterpretationis
capableofbringingusclosetothisconceptionofthewhole,sincetwoofitsthreeaspectsbelongtoadomainwhich,thoughtransposedontothetheatricalstage,
nonethelessbelongstotheareaofcompetenceofpsychoanalysis.
Whatseemsatfirstsighttobeoutsideitsinterpetativefieldtheaterwillenterintoitsorbitbywayofananalysisofthefunctionofrepresentation.Thiswilladdress,
inthecaseoftheauthor,therelationsbetweenmadnessandthethematicofparricideandincest.
Letusturnthentomadnesssincewehaveleftthissubjectinabeyance.
Hamlet'sMadnesses
RiversofinkhavebeenflowingnowforcenturiesonthesubjectofHamlet'smadness.Thosewhobelieveinitandthosewhodon'thavebyturnsdeployedthearsenal
oftheirargumentsandquibbles,whichrangefromthemostconvincingtothemostconjectural,thebestsupportedtothemostfragile.Examiningthesecontroversiesin
thelightofthetext,onequicklycomestotheconclusionthatthedebateiscompletelymisguided.Itseemsasthoughbothfictionanditstheatricalrepresentationin
thefinalanalysisShakespeare'screationarebeingdeniedtheresourcesofambiguitythatfictionturnstoitsadvantage,clinicaldescriptionbeingoutofplaceonthe
stage.Onecannotschematizeinaccordancewiththetermsofthedebate:eitherhe'smad,orhe'splayingatbeingmadwhilesane.Thiswouldbeastrangepositionto
takesincealienation

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presupposesaduality,allmadnessarisingfromsomekindofrationalityandcoexistingwithit,andallrationalitybeingabletoconstructitselfonlyonthebasisofa
repressedmadnesstowhichacertainfieldofplayhasbeenallowedalongsidewithrationality.Theproblemseemstobecomedistressingwhenfictionforgesthefigure
ofapluralmadness,alienationbeinglocatedthennotintherelationsbetweenmadnessandreasonbutbetweendifferentmadnesses,withinasinglesubject.Whetherit
isamatterofmadnessorofreason,wearealwayssentbacktomeaninganditsstrategy:themethod,asPoloniussaysinrelationtothecause.Oneiscompelledto
admit,ifonereadsHamletwiththeeyesofdesire,ratherthanofreason,thatthereareatleastthreemadnesseswhereitsheroitconcerned,coexistingunderthesame
mask.
Thefirst,mostevidentandmostopenlyavowed,isthatwhichservescunning'scauseitworksthroughdissimulation.ItisonlyafterhavingseentheGhostthatHamlet
announcesforthefirsttimehisintentionofplayingatmadness.ItisnotinordertoprotecthimselfthatHamletdissimulates.Onthecontrary,hisinnerneedscompel
himtoplaythefoolnotinordertohidehimself,butrathertoshowhimself,torealizehisprojectbyneverceasingifonlybyequivocationtospeakhistruth.
Madnessisthegamebywhichherevealshimself,whileunsettlinghisenemies,whoareunabletodecideifheknows,whatheknows,andtowhatdegreeheknows.
Thismadnessmakesuseoftheresourcesofsemanticambiguity,playingwiththesignifierasYorickdidonceatthecourt.WhenHamletplaysmad[faitlefoui.e.
playsthefool,],hismadnessishistrionic,inthesenseinwhichYorickistheking'sfool,withthedifferencethatthejesterisonlypartiallyhismodel.Asaprince,he
doesn'tknowhowtobemadexceptbybeingtrulymad.Thismadnessgivesthedesiretoexhibitoneselfprecedenceoverthedesiretosucceedinone'saction,which
woulddictatediscretionforthesakeofsuccessinone'senterprise.Hamletwantstoresolvetheconflictbetweenthedesiretoshowhimselfandthedesiretohideby
showinghimselfasawayofhiding.Butinfact,unabletorelinquishhiscomedicselfexhibition,herevealshimselffartoomuchsothatthethrustofhisexhibitionismis
masochistic.Thisishystericalmadness.
Thesecondmadness,lessevidentbecauseonthebordersofthatwhichoneagreestocallnormality,isHamlet'smelancholypassion.Itisbornfrommourningforthe
fatherwhohasbeenmonumentalizedbytheegoidealandfromthecollapseoftheidealizedimageofthemother,the

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supportoftheidealego.Itisperceivedasexcessivebyothers,particularlythosewhofeartheunpredictableconsequencesofamourningthatthreatenstodrive
Hamlettoextremes.ButitisremarkablethattheworkofmourningandtheinhibitionwhichafflictHamletareenigmatictohimself.Madnesshereishiddenfromitself.
Whatismorecomprehensiblethanthepainofasoninmourningforamurderedfather,andwhocansaywhatlimitssuchaworkofmourningmustnotcrossinorder
toremainnormal?Mourningormelancholia?Thedistinctionisdifficult.Perhapsitwouldbebettertosaymourningandmelancholia.3 Whatleadsonetoseein
Hamletapathologicalmourningprocessisnotitsexcessiveness,butratheritsambivalence,whichisnotunrelatedtohisprocrastination.Theinternalobjectinrelation
tothedeadfatherisundertoomuchsuspicionofbeingthedevil'smessengerforthismourningtobebroughttoitsconclusioninanordinaryway.Asregardstheimage
ofthedepartedking,itsidealizationtestifiestoHamlet'sintoleranceofthefeelingsofunconscioushostilitythatinhabithim,feelingsthatmakethemselvesfeltinhis
deferralofvengeance.IfonerecallsthatalongwithmourninghisdeadfatherHamletisalsolivingouttheseparationthathemustachievefromhislivingmother,from
whomhehaswithdrawnhisloveinconsequenceofherremarriage,thisdoublelossdriveshimtoanarcissisticregressioninwhichthedangerofsuicideinclinesus
towardadiagnosisofmelancholia.Thesecondmadness,themelancholicone,isthusthewoundinflictedbyhisfeelingsforthedeadfather,andtheresentmenthefeels
towardamotherwhohasfallentothelevelofwhoreactress.
Thereisafinalmadness,resultingfromtheothertwo,whichtotallyeludesthesubject'scontrol.ItisHamlet'struepsychosis,andonethatescapesthespectator's
notice,becauseitisnottranslatedintothelanguageofunreason.Thisisamorousmadness.Originatingintheother'sthatistosay,hismother'sincest,itispropped
upbythedutifulmadnessofmourning.Itisasexualandmurderousmadnesslegitimatedbythefiliallovethatweseeatworkinthebedchamberscene.Themadness
thatismostsecret,theonethatismosthidden,evenfromHamlethimself,isinthefinalanalysishissexualmadnessregardingOphelia,amadnessthataimsatrendering
theothermad,notguiltyasinthecaseofGertrudewhomhewisheswouldadmitherguilt,butmadtothepointofsuicide.Hamletthusexorciseshistruestmadnessin
drivingOpheliatomadnessandsuicide,whichishisowngreatesttemptation.

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Havingdifferentiatedthesethreemadnesses,wearenowgoingtoreunitetheminrevealingtheircommoncausefemininity.ForwhenHamletplaysthefool,his
exhibitionismandclowninggivehimapleasurethatheexperiencesasguilty.Heisunabletoresistthistendencybecauseofhisloveofthetheater.Thusifonesaysthat
Hamletplaysatbeingmad,oneshouldnotplacetheemphasisonthemadness,butonitstheatricality.Whatmattersisnotthathehaschosentoplaytheroleofa
madman,butthathismadnessfindsnooutletotherthaninacting.Itisnotthechoiceofmadnessasarusethatshouldclaimourattention,butthecompulsivenesswith
whichhegiveshismadnessatheatricalturn.Now,asthewholetragedyhasshown,theactoris,byessence,awoman.Thissimulatedmadnessisthustheweaponof
awomanwhoreactress,threewordswhich,forHamlet,meanthesamething.
LetusnowconsiderHamlet'ssecondmadnesshismelancholia.Hereagainwewillfindfemininityonourway.ForbothHamlet'sidealizationofthedeadfatherand
thereproachesthathedirectsathimselfforfailingtoactareexplainableintermsofahomosexualfeminizingsubmissiontoapaternalimage.InrelationtoClaudius,this
feminizationisevident.Claudiusisspokenofasawoman,awhore,oranactoronseveraloccasions,andHamletdirectsthesameaccusationsathimself,likening
himselftowhatheabhors.Herewhatisinvolvedisdefeatedrivalrywiththepaternalimage.Butthesameholdstrueoftheloverelationwiththeidealizeddeadfather.
Whenthesoncompareshimselftohisfather,heneverceasestounderscorehissmallness,hismediocrity,hisinadequacyinthefaceofthegrandeur,excellence,and
majestyofthedeadking.WhenHamletcondemnshismother'sweakness,attributingittothepowerofthefleshoverherentirebeing,heendsuprecognizinghimself
inhisdepictionofher,feelinghimselfincapableofbreakingthetiethatbindshimtoherandsubjectshiminspiteofhimself,tothefeminineidentification.
ThemadnessofHamlet'sthatismostgenerallyrecognizedassuchtheonlyonecapableofturninghismelancholyintoparanoiarevealsinhimaboundlesssadism
andcrueltywhereGertrudeandevenmorewhereOpheliaareconcerned.Thisisbecausethelovehehasforthemissostronglymisogynisticthatheisforcedtorepel
themviolentlyandtohatethem,fearingthatthedefilementheseesinthemwillthroughcontactinvadehim.Yetitisonlybecauseheexpelsitfromhimselfthathesees
thisdefilementinthem.Hisdisgustwiththefleshandwith

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sexualitymerelytranslateshisrefusalofafemininitythathecanneitheracceptnorintegrateandthatisgoingtofindexpressioninaninabilitytoactwhentheaction
demandedofhimleadshimtoconfrontthepersonwhohasrealizedhisowndesires,thetreacherousClaudius,akingof"shredsandpatches."
Thusitisthefemininityofthemanthatdriveshimtothevariousmadnessesplayedoutinhimbyturnshysteria,melancholy,persecution.Shakespeareundoubtedly
hadhisreasonsforunderstandingtheforcesbehindthismasculinemadness,atonceunitaryandthreefold,eachofitsmanifestationstemperingtheactionoftheothers
anditisthankstotheirreciprocalplaythathekeepsHamletfromsuccumbingtooneoranotheroftheiroutcomes,sothathisherocanliveoutthetimeofthetragedy.
Andsothathehimselfcanseehisworkthroughtoitsend.ForShakespeare,toplayistoallowtheperformancetogoon,withoutinterruptingit,aswiththetoo
explicit"MurderofGonzago."
WhathewillteachusisthatitisrepresentationsandnoteventsthatmakeHamletgomad.Andthattheonlymeansofescapingthetotalinvasionofmadnessisthe
representationoftheserepresentations.Inthefinalanalysis,itistheaterthatsavesShakespearefrommadness,thetragedy'sdevelopmentthatsavesHamletfrom
madness,andtherepresentationtousbothofthisthematicofincestandparricideandofthethreatmenacingourreasonthatsavesusatthesamestrokefrom
madness.
TheUnsaidoftheTragedy
Behindthemadnessthatassailstheheroandnotjusthimanothermadness,onesuspects,isatwork,hauntinghisauthor.Onecouldseetheworkofthetragedyas
thelatter'sattemptedcure,onethatpermitsthethreattobeconjuredwhilerefusingtocedetoit.Whereisonetofinditstracesifnotinsomethingunsaidagainstwhich
Shakespearestruggleswithmoreorlesssuccess?
ThefailureoftraditionalcriticismtoexplainthedifferenceofHamletstemsperhapsfromitsrefusaltotakeintoconsiderationthestimulustocreationtobefoundin
Shakespeare'smentalturmoilpriortoitswriting.Thebirthofthisworkwasnotacreationexnihilo.IfHamletmarksabreakintheShakespeareancorpus,this
splittingresultsfromamutationeffectedinrelationtohimselfandhispredecessors.
BythetimehebeganworkonHamlet,Shakespearehadalready

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writtenallofhishistoricaldramas.4 Regicideisaproblemwithwhichheisfamiliar,thefateofsomeofEngland'skingshavingprovidedhimwithmaterialfor
reflection.Therearenumeroussituationsintheseplaysthatofferthepsychoanalystanopportunitytoshowtheoedipalrelationsatworkbetweenmonarchsandtheir
sons.Sovereignscloakingthemselvesinvirtueinordertoconcealthegravecrimesthatweighontheirconsciencesandthattheyconfesstotheirinheritorsatthe
momentofextremeunction,aprincedonninghisfather'scrownevenbeforehisdeathhasbeenofficiallyannouncedthesearemattershehasalreadyspokenof(II
HenryIV).Assassinkingswhodoawaywiththeirbrotherstoreachthethrone,whoseducethewifeoftheonetheyhavemurderedthesehehasencountered
(RichardIII).Despoiledprinceswhowilldoanythingtoreignhehasdescribed(KingJohn).Monarchsdoomedtofailureanddeathbyexcessiveshynesswefindat
theperipheryofhiswork(HenryVI).AndsomehaveseeninRichardIIanearlyprototypeofHamlet.
ItisnotonlythehistoryofEngland,asseenthroughHolinshed'seyes,thatinspiresShakespeareinpreparationforHamlet.AncientRome,towhichthistragedy
makessuchfrequentallusion,alsocametooccupytheauthor'sthoughtswithJuliusCaesarimmediatelyprecedingtheturntoDenmark.5
ThesefactsonlybringoutmoreclearlytheextenttowhichShakespeare,havingalreadytakenonallthesesituations,doessomethingelsewithHamlet.Farfrom
providingantecedentsforHamlet,theyunderscorewhatsetsitapart.HamletisShakespeare'sfirsttruetragedy,thefirsttotakeonlyitspretextfromhistory,like
MacbethorKingLear,forinallofthesecases,thehistoricframeworkrecedesbehindtheinteriorizationofthecharacter.
ThesamemovementcharacterizesShakespeare'streatmentoftheHamletthemeitself,athemethatwasalreadyintherepertory,since,from1589on,anowlost
HamletofThomasKydhadbeenperformedontheLondonstage,andwasundoubtedlyfollowedbymanyothers.AlthoughweknownothingaboutKyd'splay,the
comparisonofShakespeare'sHamlettorelatedworks,suchasTheSpanishTragedy(c.1588Bchner1878,13336),alsobyKyd,opensontoanabyssof
differences.AGermanplay,DerbestrafteBrudermord(TheFratricidePunished)oderPrinzHamletausDoenemark,whichoriginatedwithKydoranother
author,butinanycasefollowedaveryoldversion

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anteriortoShakespearewasperformedinGermanyearlyintheseventeenthcentury.6 Whateverthecasemaybe,alltheseworks''practicetothepointofexcessthe
cultofthehorriblemixedwithburlesque."7 ItisdifficulttosayhowmuchknowledgeShakespeareandhispredecessorshadofthelegendofHamletarisingfromthe
HistoriaDanicaofSaxoGrammaticus7 oroftheadaptedtranslationbyBelleforestinhisTragicHistories.ButmanydetailsinHamletfromwhichShakespeare
derivesintensedramaticeffectsaretobefoundintheDanishmyth.
ThemovementfromSaxoGrammaticustoShakespeareisaculturalonefrommythtotragedy.ThelegendrecountedintheHistoriaDanicaisagglomerate,diffuse,
andcomplicated,themythlendingitselftodevelopmentsinwhichtheprincipalthemeiswaylaidinsecondaryepisodes.Thereisnopointinrelatingitheredespitethe
interestitoffersandthesurprisesitholdsforthereaderwhorecognizesinthisprimitivesourcefeaturesthatwilllaterfindaplaceinShakespeare'swork.Eventhough
weknownothingaboutKyd's1589Hamlet,whatwedoknowabouttheothertragedieswithwhichHamletcanbecomparedshowsthattherepresentationofthe
mythonthestageledtoanarrativereduction,toatighteningoftheplotingeneral,toasearchforwaystodramatizethestory.ButuntilwegettoShakespearewefind
ourselvesinagenrethatremainsconsiderablyindebtedtomelodrama,makingofHamlet,orrathertheHamlets,atargetforthejibesofhiscontemporaries,whodid
notfailtosmileattheatricalexcessesthatsmackedmoreofaPunchandJudypastimethanofhightragedy.
ThemutationthatShakespearehasHamletundergoisconnectedaboveallwiththereversalofthetheatricalperspectivethatistosay,theprincipalaimofthetheater
isnolongertoshowonstagethestoryoftheprotagonists'actions.Itisnolongeraquestionofmovingtowardanexternalizationofthemythicnarrative.Uptothis
pointitstheatricalmaterializationhadfacilitatedthevisibilityofactionsarrangedinsuchamannerastoarousethespectator'semotionbygivinghimtheillusionthathe
waspresentnotatamythicnarrativebutatthereproductionbeforehisveryeyesoftherealityofwhichthemythspeaks,expressedinthelanguageofthestage.
Shakespearetakestheoppositetrack.Whatheputsonthestage,whatheisgoingtotrytoshow,isnotasemblance,butratherthatwhichcannotbeshown.Whence
theimportanceofHamlet'sresponsetohismother'squestion:

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Queen:...Whyseemsitsoparticularwiththee?
Hamlet:Seems,madam?Nay,itis.Iknownot"seems."
'Tisnotalonemyinkycloak,goodmother,
Norcustomarysuitsofsolemnblack,
Norwindysuspirationofforc'dbreath,
No,northefruitfulriverintheeye,
Northedejectedhaviorofthevisage,
Togetherwithallforms,moods,shapesofgrief,
Thatcandenotemetruly.Theseindeedseem,
Fortheyareactionsthatamanmightplay,
ButIhavethatwithinwhichpassesshow
Thesebutthetrappingsandthesuitsofwoe.(1.2.7586)8

Thewholepassage,withitstheatricalallusionto"actionsthatamanmightplay,"reflectsoneofthemanycondemnationsofthetheatricalstyleoftheperiodfromwhich
Shakespearesetshimselfoff."ButIhavethatwithinwhichpassesshow."Thatwhichiswithincannotbeexternalizedinaspectacleor"show."Itisthisvery
impossibilitythatHamletisgoingtomakepossiblethroughaninteriorizationofthetragicinbothHamletandHamlet,theentiretragedybearingthemarkofitshero.
ItisnotbychancethatthelinesIhavejustcitedspeakofmourningasanexperienceinwhichthewholepsycheundergoesanarcissisticwithdrawalsubsequenttothe
lossoftheobject,andinwhichthesubject,paralyzedbysorrowandsufferingcruellyfromwhatheexperiencesasapainfulanesthesia,findsthatheisstrickenby
inhibition.Thisbeingthecase,itislogicalthatthemovementofinternalizationthetragedyundergoesshouldinvertthecanonsofthegenre,whichexploitthedramatic
resourcesofaction,bysubstitutingforthemacontrarydramaticvalueinaction.
ItisherethatonemustlocatethedecisiveinfluenceofthepersonaleventthatcontributedtoShakespeare'smutationthedeathofhisfather.Thismourningwasnota
simplematter,nomorethanwasHamlet's.Itisprobablynotapointofdeparture,buttheendresultofapsychicprocessthatwasperhapsascomplicatedatthestart
aswerethetheatricalplotsofthepreShakespeareanHamlets.Iamassumingherethatthemourningitselfwastheresolutionofastateofmadnessarisingfromthe
resurgenceofearlychildhoodfantasiesandgivingrisetoahostofquasideliriousrepresentationsofwhichtheunsaidisthetrace.Shakespeare'smelancholywill
absorbtheserepresentationsinordertoyielditselfen

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tirelytothedoubleinteriorizationthatpresidedsimultaneouslyovertheworkofmourningandtheworkofliterarycreation.
Shakespeare'sworkofmourningwilleffectanextraordinarilyfruitfulchiasmus.Foriftheworkisgoingtogainindepththroughaninteriorizationoftragedy,the
processofartisticcreationisgoingtocompeltheauthortogivetheworkofpersonalmourninganoppositeturn.Thatistosay,itwillforceShakespearetoexteriorize
throughrepresentationtheinternalpsychicwork,thuswrestingitfromitsunrepresentability.
Publicrepresentationisgoingtogiveusaccesstotheprivateworldoftheprotagonistswhiletheprivateworldoftheauthorisgoingtobegivenovertothepublicityof
theater.
Theworkoftheaterandtheworkofmourningaregoingtocombineforcesandtendtowardasinglegoalrepresentation.Behindthereproductionofevents,whichit
endowswiththepalpitationoflife,settingtheprotagonistsbeforeus"bodyandflesh,"caughtinthenetoftheconflictualordealsthatgoverntheirrelationships,
representationrevealsitsownstructure.Nolongerthemirrorofanexternalaction,itallowsustorediscoveratitsheartthereflexiverelationshipsthatallsubjective
organizationsdisclose,especiallywhentheyplungesodeeplyintotheunconscious.Inotherwords,itisthemirrorofthemindthatrepresentationbringstolightrather
thanthemindasthemirroroftheworld.Betterstill,themirrorofthemindthatthetragedyholdsouttothespectatorassignslanguagethefunctionofrepresentingthat
whichnomirrorcanreflectbecauseitdoesnotbelongtotheorderofrepresentation.Languagewillbeaccordedprimacy,insofarasitisthehighestrealizationofthe
workofrepresentation,theonlymodeofrepresentationthatcansaywhatcannotbeshown,theonlyonethatiscapable,ifnotofexpressingaffect,atleastofcreating
inpoetrythevehicleofitstransmission.Ittakesupthechallengeofpronouncingtheunpronounceable,ofarticulatingtheinarticulablebeitascryorassilenceand
allofthisenclosedwithinthestrictlimitsofthetheater.
Thiselaborationisbasedonadoublerefusalnotonlytheonethattakesitsdistancefromthetheatricaltraditionofthemoment,butalsothatrefusalinthemourning
processwhichkeepsatadistanceeverythingoftheimaginaryrelationsbetweenthedeadandthelivingthatthepersonalfantasizedofthepastcausestoreemerge.All
thesame,howeverradicalthisrupturemaybe,itleavesthetraceofitsscar.ItisimpossibletoknowifShakespearewilledthisrepressioninadeliberatemanner

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stillitremainsthecasethattheworkgainedadditionalpowerinleavingsomethingunsaidwhosepatternwehaveguessedat,fortheauthorcouldnotavoidleaving
behindhimthesignsbywhichtheunsaidescapestheforgetfulnessinwhichhewouldhavewishedtoimprisonit.Unlesstheunsaidwasneverclearlyformulatedinhis
mind.
Theruseofthetragedyistomakeusbelievethatthestorythathasgainedcurrencyabouttheking'sdeathcontainsnomoresecretsforus.Inotherwords,thatwe,
thespectators,likeHamlet,know.Andthatthereisnothingelsetoknow.9 Butthedisclosureofsomethingunsaidmaywellserveasascreenforsomethingelse
unsaidthathasbeenreducedtosilence.Oralmost.Themythworkeditswaythroughtheplay,compellingthelattertofreeitself.Butanothermyth,thistimea
personalone,filledthevoidleftbythefirstevenbeforeShakespearedecidedtoturnhisbackonit.ItisthiscrossingthatengendersHamlet,thehybridizationbeing
consignedtothescrapheapsoastoleavethefieldtotheauditingofadebtowedadeadfather,whohasbeenwashedcleanofallsuspicion.Oralmost.For"howhis
auditstandswhoknowssaveheaven?"(3.3.82).
Despiteeverything,theunsaidweighsonthetragedy,asitweighsonus.Fromwithinthesilencethatcontainsit,itworksintheshadows.Itworksthroughus,forcing
ustopenetrateitssecret,toriskforginginourturnacrude,improbablestory,whichwillleadthetragedybacktotheprimitivematerialoftheunconsciousfromwhich
itissuedinordertobecomewhatitis.InrediscoveringthemadnessfromwhichShakespeareextricatedhimself,itisweourselveswhomightpassformad.
WhatwearegoingtorelatetakesofffromourreadingofHamletinordertoconstructtheplotoftheplaythatShakespearedidnotwrite,butaboutwhichhewould
havedreamedbeforewritingthetragedywhichbearsitsmark.OnewouldhavefoundinittracesofthereworkedDanishmythandtheexteriorizationofpersonal
reveriesunearthedbymourning.Thisversioninvolvesincoherencesandabsurditiesthatinnowayimpedethefantasmaticconstruction.
Threefamiliesarepresent:theHamletides,thePolonides,andtheFortinbrasides.ThistriangulationisShakespeare'screation.Theyrepresentthreenations:Denmark,
Poland,andNorway.AlthoughShakespeareatnomomentsuggestsaconnectionbetweenPolandandPolonius,onecannotattributethechoiceofthisnameto
chance.10Intermediariesbetweentheprincipaladversaries,theDanesandtheNorwegians,they

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arevassalsoftheformer.Everythingbegan,asinthelegend,witholdFortinbras'challengetoayoungeradversary,HamlettheValiant,whoseexploitsendangeredthe
reputationofhisNordicneighbor.ButinShakespeare'smyth,onemustsupposethatGertrudewasalsothestakeofthisduel.LikeClaudiuslater,KingHamlet,not
wishingtoriskhiscrownandhisqueen,chosetoresorttocunning.HeobtainedtheservicesofPolonius,whoproposedtohimthesamestratagemsasthosewhich
ShakespearewillusefortheduelbetweenthePrinceofDenmarkandLaertes.FortinbrasisvanquishedthedayofHamlet'sbirth,whichisalsothedaythe
gravediggerbeginstopracticehistrade.Thiscoincidenceindicatesthattheprinceisdoomedtodie,perhapsinordertopayforhisfather'ssin,perhaps,aswell,
becausehisbirthisillegitimate.Claudius,whoisjealousofhisbrotherandwhodoesn'tlikewar,profitsfromtheking'sabsencestowooGertrude,whoyieldstohis
advances.Asuspicionhangsoverthisbirth.IstheprincethesonofHamlettheValiantorofClaudiusthetraitor?GertrudepresentsClaudiustoHamletashisfather
asuggestionthatHamletenergeticallyrejectswithhisveryfirstreply,"Alittlemorethankin,andlessthankind."Claudiusmultiplieshisdisplaysofaffectionfor
Hamlet,andnotsolelyforthepurposeofdeception:
forlettheworldtakenote
Youarethemostimmediatetoourthrone
Andwithnolessnobilityoflove
Thanthatwhichdearestfatherbearshisson
DoIimparttowardyou.
(1.2.10812)

HeexplicitlycallshimselfHamlet'sfather(4.3.50).ButtheuncertaintyofthispaternitydrivesClaudiusatthemomentofdangertoresolveoninfanticide.
DoesHamletsuspectthisintheleast?Theinsistencewithwhichhedeepensthedistancebetweenfatheranduncleanddetectsinhimselfthesamefaultsthathe
condemnsinClaudiusmaysupportthisunconsciousfantasy.WhatequivocalwordshasheheardfromYorickintheirgames?Yorickobservedallandmockedall,his
insolentwordshardlymattering.ThusoneseesthatHamlethadtworeasonstodie,inconsequenceofbothhisfather'sandhismother'sfaults.
ButthisdoesnotexplaintheexterminationofthePolonides.AsforPolonius,whosebehaviorunderClaudiusallowsustoguesswhathe

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mighthavebeenlikeunderhispredecessor,thereishardlyanyneedtolookfurtherforthecauseofhisdeath.Buthischildren?Laertes'sharpwordsuponhisreturn
toDenmark,hisvehemence,seemlikeadenial:
Thatdropofbloodthat'scalmproclaimsmebastard,
Criescuckoldtomyfather,brandstheharlot
Evenherebetweenthechasteunsmirchedbrow
Ofmytruemother.
(4.5.11821)

ThewordsthatdeliriumwrestsfromOphelia,"Itisthefalsesteward,thatstolehismaster'sdaughter,"(4.5.173),seemtopointtoherfather.Polonius'childrenwould
betheworkofthelatekingandtheirmother.ThiswouldexplaintheconspiratorialbehaviorofPolonius,whomustwreakvengeanceontheHamletides.Hehasallied
himselfwithClaudiusinordertogetridofthelateking,sinceClaudiusistiredofwaitingandwantsthecrownandthequeen.Polonius,forhispart,dreamsofsetting
uphischildrenonthethroneafterClaudius.ThatLaertesshouldbeproclaimedkingbythecrownonhisreturnshowsthatheisapotentialsuccessor,asbelovedof
thepeopleasHamlet.AndifPoloniusfailsinthis,hecanalwayshopethatOphelia,whomheturnsawayfromHamletonlytoforcetheprince'shand,willbequeen.
Herfather'sdeathandHamlet'srecklessnesswilldriveOpheliamad,permittingShakespearetoshowusthatsheknowsmuchmorethanonemighthavethought.Not
onlyaboutthedeathoftheking,butalso,nodoubt,aboutherownparentage.
Hereitisnottheclown'sfollythattellsthetruth,buttruefolly,thatmadnesswhichHamletandShakespeareeludedandthatcallsforthwhatforeclosurehadtotally
annihilated.ForwhileonemayposequestionsaboutwhatHamletknowsanddoesn'tknow,Ophelia'sinnocenceiscertain.Thesumoftraumatismscreatedby
Hamlet'sassassinationofPoloniusandperhapseventhechildthatsheisbearingbyhimareneededtobringbackintothedomainoftherealsomethingofthepastthat
seemedtotallyabolished.ThatGertrudeisdistrustfuloftheconsequencesofthismadnessandthewordsthatmightcomefromhermouthexplainswhysherefusesto
seeher.ForOphelia'sdeliriumisterriblyaccusatoryandthetruththatitrevealswillbeheardbyonewhocanunderstand...Gertrudeistoomuchawomannotto
divineit.Itisonlyatthispointthatsheexpressessomeanxiety:

Page178
Tomysicksoul,assin'struenatureis,
Eachtoyseemsprologuetosomegreatamiss,
Sofullofartlessjealousyisguilt,
Itspillsitselfinfearingtobespilt.
(4.5.1720)

Opheliawillkillherselfbecauseherdiscoursewasheardbynoone,becauseshehascomeupagainstthewallofdenialthatthosewhoareguiltyandwho,totheend,
wanttoseeinhernothingbuttheinnocent,thecharming,thesweet,thepoorOphelia,haveerected.WithOphelia,Shakespeareredeemsallhismisogyny.Heseems
toevokethroughherayounggirlofverylongagowhohasbeenlovedandlost.
Attheendofthetragedy,theLastJudgmenthaspronounceditssentence.Ithasbroughtaboutthepunishment,throughoutthetragedy,notjustoftheoneguiltyparty,
butofallwhoareguiltyofcrimes,bothrevealedandunrevealed.Ithasproceededtothedestructionofthechildrenissuedfromtheseimpureraces.Ithasestablished
therightsofanunknownfromelsewhere,victimofthefirstwrongFortinbras.
Thisistheessenceoftheunsaidthatworksthetragedyfromwithin.11
ItappearsinplacesinthethreadofthetextlikeaseriesofislandsthatIhavesoughttolinktogether,fromHoratio'sfirstremarkonthetremblingoftheSpecter,to
Fortinbras'finalaffirmationclaimingrightsoverDenmark.IhaveconstructedthelinkthatmightunitetheislandsofthisarchipelagoinordertoexplainHamlet's
conclusion.Acertainboldnessisneededtounearththisquasideliriousconstructionandridiculecankillit.IremainnonethelessconvincedthatHamletemergedfrom
thismadreverieorfromanotherofthesamekindbeforeknowingthedestinyofitsdefinitiveform.Fromwheredoesitcome?
TheconstructionIhaveproposedisnotunlikeamythicnarrative.Sexuality,femininebetrayal,thetreacheryofkingsalltheseoccupyalargeplaceinSaxo'slegend,
whichismarkedbytheharshnessoftheoldnarratives.ThusShakespearewouldbebuildingamythuponamyth.Thisstory,onenotofhisowndevising,wouldhave
servedasacoreofexcitation,tobecomeinvestedwiththeprojectionswithwhichhewouldhaveenricheditindrawingonthedelusionaltrendsofhismostinner
psyche.
ItmustbeacknowledgedthatnoeruditeorrationalcommentarywillevergettothebottomofHamlet.Thatrequiresthepoeticimagination

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ofthewriter.Insomestunningandallthesamedelusionalpages,JamesJoycedelineatesthroughtheintermediaryofStephenDedalus,theportraitofaShakespeare
beatenandbetrayedbywomen,byhiswifeaswellashismother,bothunfaithfulspousesseducedbytheirbrothersinlaw.Forthethemeofthefalse,usurping,and
adulterousbrotheriseverywhereinhiswork.WhentheGhostspeakstoHamlet,Joycethinks,ShakespeareisspeakingtohisownsonHamnettotellhimthathis
motherisguilty.Andyet,ShakespeareisalsoHamletandtheGhosthisownfatherbringingthesameaccusationagainsthiswife.ShakespearewritingHamletisthe
Fatherofallhisrace.Anotherversionofafamilyromance,inwhichthefantasmofbastardyisexplicit.Onemustreadthesepages,whichshowmoreinsightinto
Shakespearethananythingelseonecouldread.12
Dedalus'sChristianravingsdealwiththeproblemofHamletintermsofthemourningthatreunitesthesonandthedeadfatherbetrayedbymaternallove.Our
hypothesisconcerningtheunsaidspeaksofaphasepriortotheinstitutionofmourninginwhichthefatheristheobjectofacriminalaccusationinadeliriousnetworkof
conspiraciesandadulteriesthatstirthememoryofenshroudedfantasmsconcerningaprimevalfatherwhoknowsnootherlawthanthatofhisdesire.
HadShakespearecededtothepromptingsofthesefantasmshewouldhavewrittenamedicoremelodramaaltogetherwithinthetheatricaltraditionoftheperiod.And
hewouldhavesparedhimselfagooddealofmourning.Butheplungedintoit,andthewritingofHamlettakesonthefunctionofamiseenscnethatbringsabouta
recastingofthefamilyromanceinordertorescuethememoryofthedeadfather.
Nowwebeholdhisloftyandnoblefigureimbuedwithspirituality,coupledwithamotherwhoisaprisoneroftheflesh.Alltheguiltwillbebornebythebadbrother,a
distantechoofthetreacheryofallthefathersoftheprimitiveconstruction.
Whatthenisthefunctionoftheunsaid?Repressedbytheauthor,itwillbecometheschemebehindthework,itssilentmotor,thehiddendemonthatleadstothe
structuringofthemanifestplot.Workingagainstit,Shakespearewilluseitasafoilbymeansofwhichtoeffectaninwarddeploymentofthework.Theunsaidwillbe
thesupportagainstwhichthetheatricalworkandtheworkofmourningarebuiltup.Inotherwords,Shakespearewillusewhatisunsaidasakindofunconscious
operator,theobjectofapermanentanticathexiscompellingthetragedy

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toweaveitselfinordertocoveritover.Thecohesionofthisstructuredependsonsomethingbeingcrossedout,onanunfilledblankcompellingittoconstructitselfas
awayofconjuringthe"delirium"tiedupwiththefamilyromanceanditsdarkindictmentoftheparentalimages.Thisiswhythetragedy'sunfoldingisfarfromuniform,
butratherconstantlystrivestosustainacoherencethatmustovercomethework'scontradictorytensions,itsexcursionsintosideplotswhosenecessitywillbe
revealedonlyatthetragedy'send.
Nonetheless,theunsaid,which,outofitsrepression,leadstoastructuring,organizesthehiatusthatbarsalltotalization.Itbecomesgenerativeofrichlyuncertain
relationsandproductiveofincompletemeaningsofwhichwewillneverhaveourfill.
Whathavewedoneinconstructingit?Filledinwhatismissing?Certainlynot.Wehaveinventedasimulacrumofthatwhichmighthavebeenattheoriginofthe
refusalfromwhichHamletarises.Apureconjecture.Whatismostfictiveinthisfiction,thisunsaid,becomesafictionoffiction,andthusvergesontruth.Butthis
fictionisinlimboitnevercameintoexistence.Ontheotherhand,itallowedthetheatricalfictiontocomeintobeing,whichisnosmallaccomplishment.
Outofagroupofchaoticrepresentations,gatheredtogetherbyathreadofprecariousrationalizationlikeapieceofclothingmadeof"shredsandpatchesthat
minimalbindingofwhichmadnessisyetcapablerepresentationbroughtsomethingintobeing.Representationanditsmiseenabmeasarticulation,network,faceted
diamondorpalaceofmirrors,whosemaddeninginternalpowertransmutesitselfandbecomes,butthistimebyforceofrichness,infinitelyrevelatoryofconnections
leadingtootherconnections,ofreverberationsbetweenspaceandtime,ofcrossedidentifications...Thetragedybecameasymbolicstructure,butthisstructure
remainsinvisible,asyettobediscovered,carriedawayonthesurgeofpoeticwritingthatkeepsusfromcatchingourbreathsothatwemightcontemplateits
architectureandattempttograspitscomposition.Itsgreatestaccomplishmentwillhavebeentocontainpsychicspacewithinthelimitsofthestage,tobringthisother
scenewithitsinfiniteprolongationsontothestrictspaceoftheboards,whereitmustbeconfined.Ithasorganizeditsnetworkaroundthefictivebeingthatradiatesat
itscenter.Thetheaterhasbecomeasymbolicmatrix,areflectorofourownminds13andofourheroicdouble.
ThisisHamletcontainingHamlet.

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Notes
1.TheFrenchreprsentation,whilesimilarinmeaningtoitsEnglishcognate,isalsousedtospeakaboutatheatricalperformance.SinceIhaveconsistentlyrendered
reprsentationas"representation,"thereadershouldbearthisrangeofmeaninginmind[Translator'sNote].
2.Thetextintheoriginalusesthepsychoanalyticexpressionaprscoup(Nachtrglich),forwhichthereisnoappropriatetranslation.Deferredactionhasbeen
proposedtodesignatethemechanismbywhichaneventbecomesmeaningfulonlywhenitisreactivatedbymemoryafteracertaindelay.
3.Inthepsychiatricsense.
4.WiththeexceptionofHenryVIII,inanycaseacollaborativework.
5.BelleforesthadalreadynotedtheanalogybetweenHamletandBrutus.Cf.A.Bchner(1878,61).(1878,61).
6.In1603accordingtoBchner,in1626accordingtoBernhardycitedbyJones(1949,107).
7.Bchner,p.103.Hamletbelongedtothegroupof"revengetragedies."
8.AllquotationsfromHamletaretothetextofTheRiversideShakespeare(Evansetal.1974).
9.LacanremarksthatinHamletthefatherknowshowhediedandmakesthisknowntoHamletinwhichhediffersfromOedipuswhodoesn'tknow,andwantsto.
10.Inanearlierversion,PoloniusiscalledCorambis,whichhasbeenattributedtoaninterpretationofthecopyist,whowouldhavecompletedtheabbreviation"Cor."
forcourtier.
11.ThisconstructionhasmuchincommonwithNicolasAbraham(1978,44774).Histext,whichdatesfrom19745,wasknowntomefromthetimeitwaswritten.
Iwillnotconcealthatitelicitedfrommeatthattimeatotalrejection.Iwasgreatlysurprisedwhen,yearslater,intheprocessofworkingonthisessay,IrealizedthatI
hadarrivedinmyownwayatmanyconclusionsinwhichhehadprecededme.NonethelessIamfarfromsharingallofAbraham'sdeductionsIunderstandquite
differentlythefunctionoftheunsaid.
12.JamesJoyce(1922,184214).ItisremarkablethatwhenDedalus,havingcometotheendofthisdazzlingconstruction,isasked"Doyoubelieveyourown
theory?"canonlyanswer"No,"asiftheunsaideventhoughdifferentfromoursmust,onceunearthed,beannihilatedagain.
13.ThisiswhatMallarmunderstoodsowell:"Shakespeare'sworkissowellmade,accordingtotheonlytheaterofourmind,prototypeoftherest....Hissolitary
drama!Andwhichattimes,somuchdidthiswandererinalabyrinthoftroublesandsorrowsprolongtheircircuitswiththesuspense

Page182

ofanuncompletedact,seemstheveryspectacleforwhichthestageexists,asdoesthegildedquasimoralspacewhichitguards''(1887,300).
References
Abraham,N.1978.L'corceetlenoyau.Paris:Flammarion.
Bchner,A.1878.HamletleDanois.Paris:Hachette.
Evans,G.,etal.,eds.1974.TheRiversideShakespeare.Boston:HoughtonMifflin.
Jones,E.1949.HamletandOedipus.NewYork:Norton,1976.
Joyce,J.1922.Ulysses.NewYork:ModernLibrary,1961.
Mallarm,S.1887.Crayonnauthtre.InOeuvrescompltes,ed.H.MondorandG.JeanAubry.Paris:BibliothquedelaPliade,1945,pp.293351.

Page183

Index
A
"AcquisitionandControlofFire,The,"(Freud),2830
Aeschylus,27,39,87,110,112.SeealsoPrometheus
Aggression,63,6566
Alchemy,102,105
AnalysisofaPhobiainaFiveYearOldBoy(Freud),143
Anderson,Maxwell,11417
Androgyny,21
"AntitheticalMeaningofPrimalWords,The"(Freud),104
Apollodorus,104
Aquinas,St.Thomas,154
Aristotle,4344,4950,64,88,105,113
oncatharsis,9697
andhamartia,11112
andrecognition,106,10912,114,11618,125.
SeealsoFreud,Sigmund
ArnoldofVillanova,105
Artemidoros,4243,4548,5057,64,102,105
andEpicurus,5861,63
Athena,103
Augustine,St.,10712852
andAeneas,13435
andAmbrose,13233,138,148
CityofGod,130,139,14142,145
Confessions,128,13045
conversionof,13536,142,146
andFall,12930,13843,145,147,14950
andFaustus,13233
geneticoutlookof,132,145
andhermeneuticcircle,142
incestuousfixationof,136,140
andMonica,13236,14748
andOedipuscomplex,134,137,13941
andPatricius,13234,137
andprimalscene,14546
aspsychologist,13031,141,145,148
andseparationindividuation,13435
andsiblingrivalry,131,137,141
theftofpears,130,13841,147
Autobiography,12829,149
B
Bacon,Francis,145
Badcock,C.R.,100101,103
Benjamin,Walter,8889
BeyondthePleasurePrinciple(Freud),13
Bion,W.R.,143,148
Bloom,Harold,7,16
Boccaccio,Giovanni,15363
andartists,156
onbodiesandbuildings,15354,15657
andChristianity,156,161
Decameron,asGesamtkunstwerk,153
andgardens,154,156
onmindbodyproblem,15861
andMuses,15556,161
nameof,156
numerologyin,158
as"PrincipeGaleotto,"15556,158,161
andSt.Lucy,16061
secretmeaningsin,15556,159
onwomen,155,158
Bowlby,John,131,148
Brown,Peter,149
Bcher,A.,172
Burke,Kenneth,138

Page184

C
Callimachus,106
Cavell,Stanley,118
Cicero,97,104
ClementofAlexandria,97
Cocteau,Jean,83
D
Dante,154
DaphnisandChloe(Longus),49
Diderot,Denis,150
DioCassius,103
DiogenesLaertius,97
Dionysus,21
Dostoevsky,Feodor,138
Dreams,4243,48,5058,147,175
clinicalexample,11921
E
EgoandtheId,The(Freud),16
Else,Gerald,11012
Epictetus,64
Epicurus,45,49,5763
Euripides,104,11012,117,144
Exposedchild,97
F
Fairbairn,W.R.D.,66
Feldman,YaelS.,725
Felman,Shoshana,90
"Femininity"(Freud),21
"FormulationsontheTwoPrinciplesofMentalFunctioning"(Freud),130
Foucault,Michel,4546
FragmentofanAnalysisofaCaseofHysteria(Freud),12829
Freccero,John,129,13839
Freud,Jacob(father),9
Freud,Sigmund,aggressivityof,149
andAristotle,96,104105,130,143,144
andArtemidoros,48,53,5556,63,102
andAugustine,12852
andbiblicalnarrative,1516
and"deferredaction,"114
ondreams,4748,50,104
anddrivetheory,131,144,148
dualismof,14849
andEpicurus,63
andfemininity,104
andgenderessentialism,17,19
andinterpretation,9091
andIsaac,89
andJoseph,9
andJudaicheritage,2627
andMelanieKlein,66
andlanguage,7475,8889
andmisogyny,129
onmoney,52
andMoses,9
onmotherchildbond,21
onmothergoddesses,99
onmyths,98,100,129,148
andNietzsche,118
andOedipus,12,2728,31,40
andOedipustheKing,9,43,45,6465,72,8789,129
andOedipuscomplex,16,44,96,150
andoriginalsin,128,131,146
parentsof,21
andprimalwords,104
andPrometheus,2831
andrepetitioncompulsion,13,33
andsiblingrivalry,1213,131,141
andtragedy,123
andunconscious,43,79,82,84,88,90
andWinnicott,141.
Seealsotitlesofworks
G
Gay,Peter,21
Genesis,8,11,31,146,161
fratricidein,13
genderin,1921
Gill,Merton,14
Girard,Ren,13
Giraudoux,Jean,115
Glover,Edward,146
Green,Andr,16482
Grene,David,32
H
Hamilton,Victoria,143,148
Hamlet(Shakespeare),16482
anddeathofShakespeare'sfather,173,175
delayin,164
andearlierversions,17173,17576,178
femininityin,16970,178
andillegitimacy,17677
andmadness,16570,17778,180
mourningin,16869,17375,179
Opheliain,165,16869,17778
parricideandincestin,16566,168,170
andpsychoanalyticinterpretation,166,171
andrepresentation,16466,170,17274,180
andunsaid,17080.
SeealsoJoyce,James
Hartmann,Heinz,130,143,146
Heilbrun,Carolyn,21
Hephaestus,30,3233,3839,105
Heraclitus,101
Herodotus,1023
Hippias,103
Hippocrates,101
Hofmannstahl,Hugovon,83
Holinshed,Raphael,171

Page185

Homer,8081,102,111
Homosexuality,17
I
Ibsen,Henrik,115
Incest,5257,81,89,99,1017,113,124.SeealsoOedipustheKing
InterpretationofDreams,The(Freud),74,81,97,1023,142
IntroductoryLecturesonPsychoAnalysis(Freud),150
Isaac(inBible),810,1619
J
Jacob(inBible),725,161
Jones,Ernest,148
Joseph(inBible),13
Joyce,James,17980
JuliusCaesar,103
Jung,C.G.,105
K
Khan,Masud,14950
Klein,Melanie,32,6566,143,146
Knox,Bernard,88
Kosinski,Jerzy,124
Kuhns,Richard,15363
Kyd,Thomas,17172
L
Lacan,Jacques,1011,20
Lazarus,Richard,66
LviStrauss,Claude,30
Lucretius,5762,6566
M
Mallalas,102
Mann,Thomas,7
Marx,Karl,98
Maternus,JuliusFirmicus,99
Menander,106
Metaphor,113
Montaigne,Michelde,128,150
Morris,Humphrey,113
MosesandMonotheism(Freud),9,16,128
Myth,culturalfunctionof,9798
claimstouniversality,129,14243
N
NardodiCione,154
NewIntroductoryLecturesonPsychoAnalysis(Freud),104,147
Nietzsche,Friedrich,31,101,118
Nikolova,Vassilka,96108
Novick,J.,3738
K.K.Novick,3738
Nussbaum,MarthaC.,4271,11617
O
Objectrelations,45,6566
Oedipus,122
andHephaestus,105
andIsaac,8
andJocasta,7576,78,8081,8385,87,1012,1056,110
asmasterplot,17
andMessenger,8687
nameof,9798,106
andOedipuscomplex,75,84
andriddles,98,106
andsexuality,49,65
andTeiresias,74,80,8283,88,144
and"Thebancycle,"97.
SeealsoFreud,SigmundOedipustheKing
Oedipuscomplex,10,12,43
female,11
ofOedipus,75
positiveandnegative,16
resolutionof,15,101.
SeealsoAugustine,St.Freud,Sigmund
OedipustheKing(Sophocles),7295,109,115,119
andancientunconscious,4345,6466
incestin,7679,85,87,89
andlanguage,7475,78,8990,106
motherfiguresin,79
oraclein,8284
patricidein,7981,8387,102,107
tragicironiesof,73,82
andtruth,74,7981,87
visionin,7374,8789,107,144.
SeealsoFreud,SigmundOedipusSphinx
O'Neill,Eugene,34
OutlineofPsychoAnalysis,An(Freud),148
P
Palaephatos,102
Pandora,3031
Pasolini,PierPaolo,83
Patriarchy,129,149
Paul,St.,14243
Pausanias,100
Penis,5152
Pirandello,Luigi,115
Plato,33,103,105,107,144,155,158
Plutarch,99,103,1067
Poe,EdgarAllan,73
Prometheus,16,27,32
asanalyticpatient,33
andboundaries,33,37
andfire,2930
andforeknowledge,3334,36
Freudon,2831
andHephaestus,30,3233,3839
andIo,

Page186

3536
andmasochism,35,3738
andmother,38
asmythofirreversability,29
andsecrecy,3435
andZeus,2937,39
Protagoras,101
"PsychopathicCharactersontheStage"(Freud),31
R
Rabinovitch,A.,105
Rank,Otto,15,17
Reik,Theodore,15
"Remembering,Repeating,andWorkingThrough"(Freud),1314
Ricoeur,Paul,14
Roscher,Wilhelm,104
Rousseau,JeanJacques,49,128,150
Rudnytsky,PeterL.,9,12,16,44,12852
S
SaxoGrammaticus,172,178
Schafer,Roy,14
"ScreenMemories"(Freud),13940
Segal,Charles,7295
Seligman,Martin,66
Seneca,97
Sexuality,inantiquity,42,44,4653,5556,59,6163,6566
Shakespeare,William,11516,118.SeealsoHamlet
Siblingrivalry,1213,17,21,131,137,141
Simon,Bennett,10927
SocratesofArgos,102
Sophocles,16,27,104,113.SeealsoOedipustheKing
Spence,Donald,14
Sphinx,73,8283,97105,107,110,119
Spitz,EllenHandler,2641
Starobinski,Jean,89
Stoicism,49,64
Sternberg,Meir,14
Sublimation,30,52
Suetonius,103
Suttie,Ian,134
T
TotemandTaboo(Freud),31,99,128,146
Transference,inAugustine,13234
inBible,18
asmetaphor,11314
andreading,90
Trauma,12325
Trible,Phyllis,20
U
"'Uncanny,'The"(Freud),78,82
V
Vernant,JeanPierre,75,89
W
Winkler,JohnJ.,46
Winnicott,D.W.,66,130,14041,143,146,150
Wollheim,Richard,15354
X
Xanthos,104
Y
Yerushalmi,Yosef,9
Z
Zeligs,Dorothy,12,15
Zonnaras,103