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Whitehead, C.C. (1987). On Prometheus. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 14:527-540.

(1987). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 14:527-540

On Prometheus

Clay C. Whitehead


The reconstruction of Aeschylus' trilogy on Prometheus is analysed primarily from a psychodynamic perspective. Freud's brief study is used as a prelude to the consideration of the

complete cycle. The three ancient plays are rich with technological, cosmological, theological, and psychological meaning levels. In addition to the negative oedipal and homo-erotic interpretation offered by Freud, the present study points up the resolution of a positive oedipal conflict in the reconstructed trilogy. The intense, patriarchally tinged drama reveals on a deeper level profound ambivalences about gender differentiation, creativity, and existential definition. At a still deeper level the analysis reveals the dynamics of masochism as a search for maternal object constancy and as a defence against the loss of symbiotic maternal attachment. The analysis of these complex and profound themes helps to understand the enduring power of Prometheus' titantic struggles.

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