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Seelig, B.J. (2002). The Rape of Medusa in the Temple of Athena: Aspects of Triangulation in the Girl. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 83(4):895-911.

(2002). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 83(4):895-911

The Rape of Medusa in the Temple of Athena: Aspects of Triangulation in the Girl

Beth J. Seelig, M.D.

The relationship between the Greek goddess Athena and her father Zeus, together with the competitive hostility she displays towards other females, is presented as illustrating some previously neglected aspects of triangular developmental conflicts in the little girl. Literature on ‘the Oedipus complex in the female’ is reviewed and discussed. The mythological early histories of both Athena and the female monster Medusa are examined for the light they can shed on female developmental vicissitudes and resultant conflicts in both women and men. Unconscious split representations of women as assertive, phallic and dangerous, or alternatively passive, castrated and receptive result in defensive repudiation of the idea that a woman can be both actively assertive and also feminine and sexual. Athena's enraged action of transforming the beautiful young maiden Medusa into a monster as punishment for the ‘crime’ of having been raped in her temple is discussed as illustrating an outcome of the lack of resolution of the little girl's early triangular conflicts.

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