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Bunker, H.A., Jr. (1935). Three Brief Notations Relative to the Castration Complex. Psychoanal Q., 4:341-343.

(1935). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 4:341-343

Three Brief Notations Relative to the Castration Complex

Henry Alden Bunker, Jr.

1. Richard Ill and the Female Castration Complex

The patient was a middle-aged single woman in whom was early revealed the presence of a castration complex of rather severe degree. My purpose in this note is merely to record how in early life she found confirmation in a passage from Shakespeare of her humiliating inferiority to her brother, three years her senior, and of the low esteem in which this caused her to be held by others. It would be more accurate to say that this highly unpleasant proof was forced upon her, for it came about through her father's habit of reciting long passages of poetry aloud—a habit dating back as far as the patient can remember, so that she was unable to place the first hearing of the lines which made so deep an impression on her, the more so since her father, in his apparent partiality for them, recited them on numerous occasions. The lines are those with which Richard III opens, spoken by the Duke of Gloucester, afterwards Richard III:

"Now is the winter of our discontent

Made glorious summer by this sun of York".

The patient, quite naturally, thought that "sun" was "son", and that therefore the father's recital of these lines, and his fondness for them, was meant by him as a more or less veiled allusion to the place which her brother occupied not only in his esteem but as regards the fortunes of the house as well, in comparison with herself.


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