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Villela-Minnerly, L. Markin, R. (1987). Star Wars as Myth: A Fourth Hope?. Psychoanal. Rev., 74(3):387-399.

(1987). Psychoanalytic Review, 74(3):387-399

Star Wars as Myth: A Fourth Hope?

Lucia Villela-Minnerly, Ph.D. and Richard Markin, Ph.D.

To avoid unwarranted concerns as well as broken expectations, we would like to start by stating what we are not going to discuss in this paper. We are not going to analyze cinema itself as a special medium with its own syntax of discourse and desire. And we are not going to psychoanalyze an unwilling writer—or director, producer, artist—who has not had the chance to cooperate with or protest against possibly unwarranted interpretations. We intend to focus on the text, not the authors; and on the themes made salient by the plot line and characterizations, not on the characters as such.

This reading of the Star Wars text is based on the assumption that movies are modern myths and that myths, fairy tales, and narratives in general are metaphorical attempts to understand and explain the perceived realities of our own selves, our origins, our future, our world. We believe it is often through these creative metaphors that we reach for that which is as yet imperfectly understood and attempt to expand our knowledge of the conscious and unconscious wishes, fears, and conflicts that underlie human dreams and human actions.

These assumptions are not new. In 1725, Giambattista Vico had already claimed that myths were civil histories expressed in poetical form, and that analysis of their poetical wisdom gave us clues on how primitive men coped with the realities of daily living (Bergin & Fisch, 1984).

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