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Title: Euripides' 'Ion' : a psychoanalytic reading
Author: Voela, Angeliki
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1997
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This thesis offers a reading of a Classical Greek play, the "Ion" of Euripides, in terms of the psychoanalytic theories of S. Freud and J. Lacan. There are four chapters, each dealing with a particular aspect, or group of related aspects, of the play. Each chapter offers an exposition of the relevant psychoanalytic concepts, followed by an application of them to a particular aspect, or aspects, of the play. Chapter one introduces some basic Freudian and Lacanian concepts. The Freudian aspects are: the Oedipus complex and its mechanism, repression and its motives, and the unconscious. The Lacanian concepts are: the signifier and the signified, metonymy and metaphor in relation to desire, Lacan's view of the unconscious, and the function of the phallus in the economy of desire. In the light of these notions a psychoanalytic reading is offered of Ion's monody and his interview with Creusa. Chapter two begins with a discussion of the ego and the imaginary. The Freudian notions of the instincts and their vicissitudes, the imaginary ego, aggression and alienation are introduced. Lacan's optical schema of the imaginary is then outlined, together with the general lines, principles and first stage of psychoanalysis. Lacan's paradigmatic reading of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Purloined Letter" then sets the scene for structuralist overview of the play as presenting the child Ion as a piece of news addressed 'to whom it may concern'. These theoretical considerations are then brought to bear upon two matching developments in the play; Xuthus' acknowledgement of Ion as his son and the response to this challenge by his wife Cresua and her old servant. It is argued that both pairs are impelled by a unique opportunity to satisfy a desire and by a need to conceal their aims and their success from the other pair. The desire of the 'minor' characters is also discussed. It is argued that Xuthus, the old servant and the chorus all harbour impossible desires, the impossibility of which they pass on to Ion and Cresua. The space of the imaginary developments is considered as 'an apprenticeship in appearances'.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available