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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Patricide

So, this is an unavoidable element of masculinity. I must admit that everywhere I turn I see symbolic patricide as an essential element of a man's coming-of-age ritual. In John Hughes' movies, for example. The conflict between father and son is as universal as anything out there.

I used to think the Freudian interpretation of Hamlet is crap, but after listening to the MIT psychology lecture I must admit it is exceedingly fitting. The patricidal impulse is simultaneously satisfied in killing the stepfather and absolved in the idolization of the real father.

Whether the mother plays a role as the prize of the struggle I am not entirely convinced. It seems that even in a world without women, sons would always have to fight their fathers to become an adult male.

Matricide, on the other hand, might not be clear cut. As a female person I can attest to that. The conflict between the attachment and the competition is far from resolved by penis envy. Obviously girls also need a ritual to enter womanhood, but that is explicitly accomplished physiologically, so perhaps they need no symbolic rite of passage such as matricide? Nevertheless, the competition for male attention is definitely, indisputably real, hence the Snow White symbol. Nevertheless, I wonder whether the competition would remain fierce if the presence of man is removed...

Ack, I need to go read "Man and His Symbols." Hope they discuss Woman and Her Symbols as well.

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