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Veszy-Wagner, L. (1957). An Irish Legend as Proof of Freud's Theory of Joint Parricide. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 38:117-120.

(1957). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 38:117-120

An Irish Legend as Proof of Freud's Theory of Joint Parricide

L. Veszy-Wagner, Ph.D.

Freud, in Totem and Taboo(2) says: 'I shall resist the temptation of pointing out these traces' (i.e. the elimination of the primal father by the company of his sons) 'in mythology, where they are not hard to find.' It is a pity he resisted, for they are, surprising as it is, harder to find than one would expect. Still, there exists a fair number of myths and sagas dealing with primeval parricide. Mythology, as a matter of fact, is almost brimming over with them. But in nearly all the cases there is only one son-hero who commits the deed individually, and, more often than not, against the consensus of all the others concerned, as shown in Otto Rank's painstaking work on the incest motive (6). The only example of plural guilt to which Freud refers is not conclusive, as it consists in the myth of Dionysos, who was not a father to the Titans who slew him, but a more or less destitute child. Admitted that the Titans similarly revolted in common against Zeus, the father (who had once been a destitute child not unlike Dionysos), this myth would nevertheless be unconvincing without further proof. On the one hand, there is no incestuous event attached and, on the other, it was Zeus and not the wretched brotherhood of revolting Titans—who, by the way, were not his sons—who won in the end. The wrath of the father in mythology very often turns against his children; but on the one hand, it affects daughters and sons equally, and on the other, the reduplication motive has also to be taken into account; which means that emphasis in myth, as in dreams, is expressed rather frequently by reduplication.

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