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Wilson, E., Jr. (1987). Revue Française De Psychanalyse. XLVI, 1982: Medea. Simone Bécache. Pp. 773-793.. Psychoanal Q., 56:593-594.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Revue Française De Psychanalyse. XLVI, 1982: Medea. Simone Bécache. Pp. 773-793.

(1987). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 56:593-594

Revue Française De Psychanalyse. XLVI, 1982: Medea. Simone Bécache. Pp. 773-793.

Emmett Wilson, Jr.

Bécache reviews classical sources of the Medea story, from Hesiod, Pindar, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Apollonius of Rhodes, Lucan, and Seneca; she discusses

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Corneille's tragedy, iconography including a painting at Pompeii and Delacroix's work in the Louvre, and Cherubini's opera. Her aim is to discern the permanent structure of the myth. She asks whether the myth has not been repressed or forgotten in human thought. It developed over the centuries, in the manner suggested by Lévi-Strauss, until the exhaustion of its original intellectual impulse. One might think that the intellectual purpose was the story of crime and its punishment. The moral preoccupations that act on the myth would have modified it toward the justification of Medea's sufferings as punishment for her murders. However, her sufferings never seemed to be commensurate with her crimes; she fell into unhappiness only intermittently and was often triumphant. Bécache suggests that Medea represents the feminine oedipus complex and that we can discern behind her actions the figure of her father. As if in counterpoint to this object of Medea's libidinal desires, another Medea can be seen, in rivalry with her children. The Medea myth may be seen as an expression of the hostility of daughter toward father. The myth tends to be repressed because Medea represents woman above and beyond the oedipal situation. Medea, governed by her passions, becomes frightening and awakens everything in human thought that is repressed. She is the descendant of the great mother goddesses of the most ancient periods of humanity. The myth has become the expression of rejected desires, the realization of the most odious of dreams, fears, and forbidden fantasies.

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Article Citation

Wilson, E., Jr. (1987). Revue Française De Psychanalyse. XLVI, 1982. Psychoanal. Q., 56:593-594

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