Psychoanalysis of Medea

Topics: Sigmund Freud, Psychoanalysis, Ovid Pages: 7 (2833 words) Published: August 11, 2012
Title:Libido: Medea’s Real Force
In this study, Medea by “Euripides” is approached from a psychoanalytic perspective. It focuses on the theory of Freud that Libido plays an important role in the character building of an individual and that actions of individuals are motivated and controlled by it. The motivation of Medea’s actions does not come from the outside circumstances but arise from her libido. All her actions are analyzed to bring a somewhat clear picture of her psychology. She murders her children after a lot of thinking because of the conflicts hatching in her mind. The movement of the unconscious of Medea has been highlighted. Her libido transforms into ego when her libido object is taken from her. She loses the ability to judge right from wrong. This perspective of Medea brings out the unique dramatic art of “Euripides” in the ancient Greece. Ahmad Aqeel Sarwar

Professor Ayesha
Classical Drama
31st March’2012
Libido: Medea’s Real Force
Medea is a domestic tragedy by Euripides depicting the psychological implications because of grief that inflate the misery of a barbarian woman Medea. A close study of the mind of Medea shows that there are certain psychological constraints which play a vital role in all of her actions. The extremist actions of Medea are not driven by her rage and grief but by her libido. Freud explains libido as: “libido is a term used in the theory of instincts for describing the dynamic manifestations of sexuality. It is difficult to say anything of the behavior of Libido in thee id and super-ego. Everything that we know about it relates to the ego, in which the whole available amount of libido is at first stored up. Libido participates in every instinctual manifestation, but not everything in that manifestation is libido.” (Freud, Dictionary of Psychoanalysis) It shows that libido is related to ego and its manifestation is instinctual. A strong libido can be observed in the character of Medea which manifests itself in her actions driven by her extreme ego. In order to get a true picture of Medea, the myth of Medea should be examined. Ovid has given a picture of Medea in his Metamorphoses. Patricia B. Salzman Mitchell describes the psychology of Medea, as portrayed in Ovid's Metamorphoses: When her story begins in Book 7, she is no more than a girl, but a girl who promptly falls in love and would give it all to gain her beloved. Her desire springs from an image of Jason. The text first describes how she became passionate for the hero (concipit interea validos Aeetias ignes/ “In the meantime, the daughter of King Aeetes was ignited by the overpowering fire of love,” (Met.7.9); shortly thereafter we realize that she has just seen him: “cur, quem modo denique vidi,/ ne pereat timeo?”/” Why am I afraid that he whom I have only just seen may die?” (Met. 7.15-16). The visual impression proceeds in a double edged-way. Medea Struggling with her own emotions between duty and desire, states: sed trahit invitam nova vis, aliudque cupido,

mens aliud suadet: video meliora proboque,
deteriora sequor...
“But a new force derives me against my will. Desire persuades me one way, my mind another. I see the better course and I approve of it, but I follow the worse.” (Met. 7.19-21)

These formulae utterances have profound inter textual echoes, serve as a defining trace of Medea's character, and hint at woman's libido and inability to do the right thing. At a surface level, video meliora seems to refer to Medea's knowledge of the right path to follow. Her previous comment that she has just seen Jason bears the hidden sense that what is 'melora' may well be Jason, in her eyes. In addition, the monologue presents a key problem in the story: why does Medea burn for a foreigner? (Met. 7.21-22). Medea's 'barbarism' and the problems of treason against one's own land have been widely explored and they remain central in the issues of movement and immobility that are here discussed. Medea knows that...
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