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Barchilon, J. (1968). The Fall by Albert Camus: A Psychoanalytic Study. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 49:386-389.

(1968). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 49:386-389

The Fall by Albert Camus: A Psychoanalytic Study

Jose Barchilon

An analysis of Jean-Baptiste Clamence's character reveals an exquisite relationship between an unconscious easily reconstructed conflict and the manifest tale about the tribulations of this unsatisfiable existential hero. Such is Camus' psychological mastery that it is doubtful indeed whether this relationship would have been much different, had Clamence been a real person. My analysis is based on the numerous repetitive symbolic episodes in this tale, really a dialogue between Clamence and a "double".

Jean-Baptiste was a successful lawyer, eminently suited to enjoy life. This cultured philanthropist, defender of the widow, the orphan, and assorted murderers was a great lover of women, who had never loved any one woman. He withdrew from a life of achievements in Paris to become a barfly in the sailor's quarter of Amsterdam under the following circumstances.

His obsession was that he would paradoxically demand of women: "Be faithful but don't love me!" When a woman preferred him to any man she knew, he would break off the relationship. One day a girl found him wanting. When he learned of it, he was galvanized. He forced her to recognize his superiority, repeatedly humiliated her sexually, only to discover that he enjoyed his newly-found unsuspected sadism. This led to the humourous realization that, in order to satisfy his obsession, every loving woman should be killed to fixate their relationship. His native kindness recoiled, however, from such a drastic solution! Immediately following these pleasant fantasies, Clamence tells his alter ego how, one evening, he saw a young woman learning over the railing of the Pont Royal.

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