The undead mother : psychoanalytic explorations of by Christina Wieland

By Christina Wieland

Wieland argues that the Western psyche relies upon denial of the facility of the mum. via scientific fabric and re-readings of myths, fairytales, and different cultural artefacts, she demonstrates how this act of common matricide has wrought havoc.

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On the contrary, eroticisation binds him in a dual set of chains: identification and object-love mingle to produce a pull towards unity, that peculiar oneness experienced by people in love, when strong attraction brings about the obliteration of difference. This paradox of being in love-that is, the 'feminine' quality of this state of mind-is clearly evidenced in the way that poets, troubadours, and male lovers become 'soft', and forget masculine preoccupations. In contrast, the boy's relationship to father is adversarial, consisting of wishes to fight and replace father, as well as to be like him.

Less mature solutions might entail the absence of repression, and-instead-the exclusion of the mother from the psyche through more psychotic processes, such as repudiation, evacuation or disavowal, solutions which result in a state of terror and persecution. These defences constitute an attack or, at times, the 'murder' of the mother. The banned mother exists in a state of undeadness. 4 A state of trauma is, exactly, a state of non-assimilation. One might say that a 'natural' death of the Oedipus complex would bring about the assimilation of 60 The Undead Mother the maternal and the paternal objects into the psyche-in Freud's words: 'the two identifications in some way united with each other' (Freud 1923b: 34).

On his arrival she treats him to a hero's welcome and then, the same evening, together with Aegisthus, they murder him. The first part of The Oresteia ends with an unrepentant and triumphant Clytemnestra and a joyful Aegisthus. In the second part Orestes, Agamemnon's son-who has grown up in exile since his father's death-returns to Argos to avenge the murder of his father. With his sister Electra's support, and under the guidance and orders of Apollo, he killsalmost against his will-his mother and Aegisthus.

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