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  • Thumbnail for A failure to atone : object relations theory in Orestes’ sacrifice of sanity
    A failure to atone : object relations theory in Orestes’ sacrifice of sanity by Mitsunaga-Whitten, Michiko Audrey

    As he feels the inescapable brunt of duty bound with crime, Orestes, son 0f Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, declares: If the serpent came from the same place as I, and slept in the bands that swaddled, me, and its jaws spread wide for the breast that nursed me into life and clots stained the milk, mother’s milk, and she cried in fear and agony- so be it. Aesch. Ag. 1 Spurred by Apollo, Electra, responsibility, and omens, Orestes is coerced to commit revengeful matricide. What seems an ancient family feud in The Oresteia is a timeless and modern issue, that yields itself to fruitful analysis when seen through the lens of infantile developmental stages in Melanie Klein’s object relations theory. Klein herself reflected upon The Oresteia and its correspondence to object relations in her book, Envy and Gratitude (1984). As if Aeschylus held a modern understanding of the depth and development of the unconscious, his characters are paradigmatic of the object relationships Klein describes. The cardinal conclusion Klein arrives at in her psychoanalytic criticism of Aeschylus’ trilogy is that Orestes’ acquittal in the third book, The Eumenides, heals and restores his mental state after intense familial trauma. I, on the other hand, propose that there is an essential feature of Orestes’ trial that forbids a healthy psychic recovery to occur for the unfortunate prince.

  • Thumbnail for A narratological insight on the journey to an integrated self :  individuation and collective merging in Homer’s Odyssey and James Joyce’s Ulysses