OEDIPUS COMPLEX - Jones College Prep

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OEDIPUS COMPLEX - Jones College Prep

Goodman TheatreStudent Subscription Series2006/2007 SeasonTeacher GuideOEDIPUS COMPLEXBy Frank GalatiDirected byFrank GalatiTeacher Guide written and designed byJessica Hutchinson, Education and Community Programs CoordinatorEdited and published by Goodman TheatreWilla Taylor, Director of Education and Community ProgramsJessica Hutchinson, Education and Community Programs CoordinatorSarah Baughman, Education and Community Programs ConsultantKRAFT FOODSis the Principal Sponsor of the 2006/2007 free Student Subscription Series


The Goodman is grateful to the following donors for their generous support of Education andCommunity Programs:Principal Sponsor of the Student Subscription SeriesSusan and James AnnableAnonymousChristine and John BakalarStephen and Elizabeth BallisMary Jo and Doug BaslerMaria Bechily and Scott HodesDeborah A. BrickerMaureen and Scott ByronCarson Family FoundationChicago Public SchoolsCNA Financial CorporationCode Family FoundationCarol and Douglas CohenThe Crown FamilyPatrick and Anna M. Cudahy FundMr. and Mrs. James W. DeYoungThe Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Family FoundationSidney and Sondra Berman EpsteinLloyd A. Fry FoundationElizabeth GuenzelHSBC North American HoldingsHarry and Marcy HarczakIrving and Joan W. HarrisLoretta and Allan KaplanSheila and Mike KurzmanJames Kyser and Jo PolichCole and Margaret LundquistBob MayoThe Elizabeth Morse Charitable TrustNorthern TrustPeoples EnergyPolk Bros. FoundationAlice Rapoport and Michael SachsRonald McDonald House CharitiesThe Sheridan FoundationMr. and Mrs. Michael J. SilversteinThe Siragusa FoundationCarl W. Stern and Holly HayesColleen H. SullivanBruce TaylorCarl and Marilynn ThomaUBS2


TABLE OF CONTENTSGuide for implementing activities in your classroom 4Additional Resources 6Exploring the Text 7Scene Breakdown – Oedipus Complex 8Engaging with the Text 9Text Questions 10Essay and Discussion Questions 14Frank Galati on Oedipus Complex 17Even Sophocles needed a Source: The Oedipus Myth 19Focus on Sophocles & Oedipus the King 20Notes from the Translators of Oedipus the King 22Source Text: Interpreting Freud’s Dreams 25Freud & Oedipus: Decoding the Riddle 26Freud & Fleiss 28Exploring the Context 31Focus on Greek Theater 32Focus on Freud 36Refuting Dr. Freud 39Still Crazy After All These Years – why Freud still matters 44Master Class – Acting 101 for the Classroom 49Why Adaptation? 50Focus on Frank Galati 51Choose Your Own Adventure: DIY Adaptation 55DIY Adaptation Source Texts – Pandora’s Box & Echo & Narcissus 57Mary Zimmerman on Adaptation and Frank Galati 60Additional Resources 63Teacher Resources 77Teacher Response Form 85NOTE: While many articles and other texts refer to Sophocles’ play on which Oedipus Complex is based as OedipusRex, the translation from which Galati worked titled the play Oedipus the King. These titles mean the same thing, bothare correct, and the play is referred to by both names in this guide, dependant upon the use by the author of the originalpiece in which the play is mentioned.3


GUIDE FOR IMPLEMENTING ACTIVITIES IN YOUR CLASSROOMFor ease of implementation, all work in the Student and Teacher Guides contains the following designations(which are noted on the page in the Teacher Guide but not in the Student Guide):For overall lesson identification and where it falls, we are using a bull’s-eye target.Core Ideas and Essential UnderstandingsThe center of the target. All students should have clear understanding of these lessons.Important Elements to ExploreThe middle of the target. All students should have basic understanding of most of these lessons.Worth Being Familiar WithThe outside of the target. All students should have been exposed to at least some of these lessons.To determine which activities are most appropriate for your students’ ability level, all exercises will beidentified as:4REMEDIAL GENERAL ADVANCEDWe hope that using this set of designations both on the table of activities and within the Teacher Guide will helpyou structure your unit on this play in a manner best suited to the needs of your students.By the Standards – How our activities integrate into the curriculumSome activities listed as appropriate for All ability levels feature layers within a single activity – beginning with a portionappropriate for remedial students to which is added a portion making the activity appropriate for general students, andthen another for advanced students. Those activities are indicated as All-layers under the ability heading. Also, pleasekeep in mind that most activities can be adapted to suit any ability level.Guide Page Target Ability Activity Name or Description When Category State StandardStudent 6 Outer A, G Proper Citation Anytime English/LA Goal 5, CAS AStudent 7 Outer All-layers Design It Yourself Pre-Show Fine Arts Drama Goal 25AStudent 8 Middle All-layers Group Think Anytime Fine Arts Drama Goal 26AStudent 8 Outer All-layers Human Set Pieces Anytime Fine Arts Drama Goal 26BStudent 10 Core A, G English to English Translation Pre-Show English/LA Goal 1, CAS BStudent 11 Outer All-layers Promiscuous Materials Anytime English/LA Goal 3, CAS CStudent 13 Outer All-layers The Choral Majority AnytimeEnglish/LA Goal 3, CAS CFine Arts Drama Goal 26BStudent 13 Middle A, G What's the Chorus For Anyway? Pre-Show English/LA Goal 2, CAS BStudent 14 Outer All-layers Interpret Your Own Dreams Anytime English/LA Goal 1, CAS DStudent 16 Middle All-Layers Go Galati Anytime English/LA Goal 3, CAS CStudent 18 Outer All-Layers Make Your Own Mythology Anytime English/LA Goal 3, CAS CStudent 19 Outer A, G It's All Relative Anytime English/LAGoal 1, CAS DGoal 5, CAS A


Guide Page Target Ability Activity Name or Description When Category State StandardStudent 21 Outer All-Layers Different It Good, Right? Anytime Fine Arts Visual Arts Goal 26BStudent 22 Core All-layers Define Our Time Pre-Show English/LA Goal 1, CAS DStudent 24 Outer All-layers Laughter is the Best Evasion Pre-Show Fine Arts Drama Goal 26BStudent 26 Outer All-layers Free Your Mind Anytime English/LA Goal 3, CAS CStudent 26 Outer All-layers Who Was I? Who Will I Be? Anytime Fine Arts Visual Arts Goal 26BStudent 28 Core All-layers Study Guide Questions Pre-Show English/LA Goal 1, CAS AStudent 32 Core All-layers Writing Your Response Letter Post-Show English/LA Goal 3, CAS A,BTeacher 9 Core All-layers Engaging with the Text Pre-Show English/LA Goal 1, CAS ATeacher 10 Core All Text Questions Pre-Show English/LA Goal 1, CAS ATeacher 14 Core All Essay & Discussion Questions Anytime English/LA Goal 1, CAS DTeacher 19 Core All Think About It - new stories Pre-Show English/LA Goal 1, CAS DTeacher 21 Core All Think About It - "too" questions Anytime English/LA Goal 1, CAS CTeacher 27 Core All-layers Conflicting Interests Anytime English/LA Goal 3, CAS CTeacher 29 Middle All-layers Dramatic Correspondence AnytimeEnglish/LAFine ArtsEnglish/LAFine ArtsGoal 2, CAS ADrama Goal 26BGoal 1, CAS ADrama Goal 25ATeacher 35 Middle All-layers Oedipus BreakdownPre-Show /Post-ShowTeacher 35 Middle A Party On - Research Project Anytime English/LA Goal 5, CAS ATeacher 38 Middle All Careful, You'll Slip Anytime English/LA Goal 5, CAS BTeacher 38 Middle A, G Talk About It - Sex & Violence Anytime English/LA Goal 1, CAS DTeacher 47 Middle All Paging Dr. Freud Anytime English/LA Goal 2, CAS BTeacher 49 Outer All-layersMaster Class: ExploringAdaptationAnytimeEnglish/LAFine ArtsGoal 1, CAS ADrama Goals 25A,26A, 26B5


ADDITIONAL RESOURCESHere is a list of resources we’ve found that may be of use to you and your students as you study OedipusComplex. Feel free to encourage students to look up these resources – or others – on their own time andreport back to the class. Or you can use these as a starting point for more activities and assignments tailoredto your specific student population. Regardless, we hope this list proves helpful in your further exploration ofthe play in your classroom.On evaluating and understanding Sigmund FreudGenius: A Mosaic of One Hundred Exemplary Creative Minds by Harold Bloom: This book, influential toFrank Galati and his thinking about Freud, includes an essay that asserts Freud’s genius lay in his work as aliterary figure rather than as a scientist. The book in its entirety is also an excellent resource for insightfulglimpses into brilliant minds.Sigmund Freud: Pioneer of the Mind by Catherine Reef: This book, targeted at a young adult audience, give agreat overview of Freud’s life and major works in an interesting and accessible format. There are also a greatdeal of photographs and other images that provide excellent context for further understanding Dr. Freud.Freud: a life for our time by Peter Gay: One of the most comprehensive biographies of Freud, excepted inthis guide, provides an excellent look at Freud’s life and works.On mythologyMythology by Edith Hamilton: An excellent resource for anything related to myth. Ms. Hamilton employs fulldisclosure when discussing her sources.On the continuing influence of mythThe Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell with Bill Moyers: The transcript of a conversation between BillMoyers and Joseph Campbell is the expanded edition of the six-hour conversation which aired on PBS. Thetwo recorded over twenty-four hours of conversation about the power of myth and its modern implication. Agreat read for anyone who wants to understand the influence myth and legend still exercises on our culturalconsciousness.A Short History of Myth by Karen Armstrong: Ms. Armstrong has quite a different view of the power ofmythology in a modern context. Her work juxtaposed with that of Joseph Campbell provides an interestingdichotomy of theory.On filmMighty Aphrodite - a Woody Allen film: Woody Allen employs a Greek chorus as narrator, confidante, andadvisor as he searches for his adopted child’s birth mother. Especially fantastic is Allen’s use of the chorusat the end of the film.Oedipus Wrecks – part of New York Stories – a Woody Allen film: In this section of a larger film, Allen’scharacter deals with the consequences of an embarrassing mother. Really, just about every Woody Allen filmhas a reference to Freud or a Freudian idea. Even Annie Hall mentions Freud in the first five minutes!Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure: Here we see the pervasiveness of Freud’s impact on contemporary culture.Appearing as the “Frood Dude,” Sigmund Freud has a cameo in a film about which we’re sure he would haveplenty to say.6


EXPLORING THE TEXT7


SCENE BREAKDOWN – OEDIPUS COMPLEXWhile the script for Oedipus Complex is written as one long piece, the director has broken it up into twentyscenes to make work in the rehearsal hall more manageable. This breakdown will likely make yourexperience in the classroom more manageable as well. The following breakdown is referenced in “Engagingwith the Text” when discussing which scenes on which to focus your work, and in the Text Questions as well.Scene Pages Who Starting Line Who End Line1 1-2 Freud “Gentleman, in my experience…” Freud “…Sophocles’ tragedy opens.”2 2-5 Oedipus “Why, brothers,…” Oedipus “…what did god Apollo say?”3 5-8 Kreon “His words are hopeful.” Oedipus “…the whole city of Thebes.”4 9-10 Freud “Rise. We have the help…” Freud “…convince us that this is so.”5 11-14 Chorus “o Zeus god beyond all…” Freud“…might see more, more, andmore.”6 15 Freud “Austria-Hungary is a little…” Freud “…Oedipus dwells, and Teiresias.”7 15-25 Oedipus “Teiresias? Kreon spoke of…” Teiresias “…prophet who cannot see.”8 25-28 Chorus “who did crimes unnamable…” Chorus “…never be evil not to me”9 28-34 Kreon “Men of Thebes, I hear Oedipus…” Kreon “Thebes is mine too.”10 34-38 Freud “Stop. I see Jocasta coming …” Chorus “…safety now if you can.”11 38-45 Jocasta “If you love the gods, tell me…” Jocasta “My only wish is to please you.”12 46-48 Chorus “fate be here let what I say…” Jocasta “…who can pilot Thebes to safety.”13 48-58 Messenger “Friends, can you tell me where…” Jocasta “…I shall ever say you are.”14 58-60 Freud “Why did Jocasta rush away…” Chorus “…hold you in his arms”15 60-65 Oedipus “Brothers, I think the man…” Oedipus“…blood stains these two handsred”16 65-68 Chorus “man after man after man…” Chorus “…opening itself to you to all”17 68-71 Servant “Not even the waters…” Servant18 72-77 Chorus “horror horror o what suffering…” Oedipus“…splashing its hail across hisface.”“…everything I said proves I amvile”19 77-81 Kreon “I have not come to mock…” Kreon “…once had is gone, gone forever”20 82 Chorus “ O citizens of Thebes…” Chorus “ …he is free of pain.”8


ENGAGING WITH THE TEXTThis page contains our recommendations for scene study divided by student ability level. Our hopeis that this will help you and your students have a meaningful interaction with the text, regardless oflearning level.Remedial Students: Focus on a few pivotal scenes of the play to get a sense of story and style.Scene 1 Scene 15Scene 2 Scene 16Scene 7 Scene 17Scene 11General Students: The following scenes should give students a basic understanding ofplot and character.Scene 1Scene 2Scene 3Scene 7Scene 11Scene 13Scene 15Scene 16Scene 17Scene 18Advanced Students: We highly recommend that students at this level read the entire play, eitherin class or as a homework assignment. This will facilitate fuller in-class discussions and a moreempowered experience at the theatre.Here are some suggestions of how you can use these selections in class:Read the scenes aloud in class – but give your students time to look over the material first. As aprofessional theater company, we would never ask even the most experienced actors to audition forus without having time to prepare a scene first! We suggest that you give students at least a littletime to become familiar with the text before asking them to “perform” for their classmates. Assigningstudents roles the class period before reading the scenes aloud (perhaps one half of the class isCharacter A and the other will read Character B, etc.) is often an excellent way to give them time toprepare.Act it out! Get students up on their feet, speaking the text, and relating to the other characters in thescene. They’ll be amazed how much more sense the text makes than when it’s just on the page.You can also try dividing the class into groups with each group performing a different scene. Havethe groups present their scenes in order to help give the class an idea of the scope of the plot.Ask students to read a scene and then bring in a piece of art – a painting, photograph, poem, song,collage, etc. – that they feel best represents that scene. Discuss everyone’s choice in an open classdiscussion.9


TEXT QUESTIONSThe following are text questions designed to assess basic understanding of the plot and characterrelationships. These questions can also be found in the Student Guide. More in-depth questions areavailable in the “Essay and Discussion Questions” section.SCENE 11. Who is the first to address the audience? To whom is he speaking?2. What is different about the feelings of psychoneurotics towards their parents, according to this man?3. What does he feel confirms this theory?4. In three sentences, summarize what has happened before the play begins, as related by thischaracter.SCENE 21. Who is Oedipus? Why is he here?2. Who are the other men in this scene? Why have they come to Oedipus?3. Who speaks for the people gathered there? Why does Oedipus respect him?4. Name three symptoms of the plague which is afflicting Thebes.5. What did Oedipus do to help Thebes in the past that makes the people think he can end the currentplague?6. Why does Oedipus suffer more than the other men of the city?7. Whom has Oedipus sent to Delphi? Why has he sent the man there?SCENE 31. What is Apollo’s command? What must happen for the city to be saved?2. Who was Laios? What happened to him?3. What is the clue to the identity of the murderers? Who holds this information?4. What kept the people of Thebes from searching for Laois’s murderers?5. What does Oedipus vow that he will do? What are his reasons for this action?SCENE 41. To whom is the chorus appealing at the top of this scene?2. What does Freud say has affected him “profoundly?”3. What, according to Freud, is the most important event in a man’s life?4. What does the chorus describe in this scene?5. Why, according to Freud, must the hero of a tragedy suffer?6. What explanation does Freud give for the effect Oedipus the King has on a modern audience? Whatdoes he propose may be the “fate of all of us?” What evidence does he give?SCENE 51. Name two of the gods the chorus appeals to in this scene, and for what they ask each of them.2. The chorus repeatedly asks for something specific to happen to the murder – for what do they ask?3. For whom is Oedipus searching? What will happen to the man when he is found?4. Name four things Oedipus commands his people to deny the man for whom he searches.5. Oedipus says he will fight for Laios as he would fight for whom?6. What curse does Oedipus place on those who will not obey?7. Who does Freud, acting as chorus leader, tell Oedipus must show the identity of the killer?8. What does Teiresias see?10


TEXT QUESTIONSSCENE 61. What happened to Freud’s father in Vienna? How did Freud feel about it?2. For what did Freud hate his father in that moment?3. What does Freud say he finds in himself?4. What has Freud begun to do? Where is this leading him? Where is “something” hiding?SCENE 71. What does only Teiresias know? What physical disability does he have?2. What skills does Oedipus ask Teiresias to use?3. According to Teiresias, when is wisdom a curse?4. Why will Teiresias not tell Oedipus what he sees? What does he say the truth will do?5. Of what does Oedipus accuse Teiresias? With what accusation does Teiresias respond?6. In what do Oedipus and those he love “wallow,” according to Teiresias?7. What does Oedipus suggest Kreon has been plotting since Oedipus came to Thebes? What doesOedipus assume about Teiresias in regard to Kreon?8. How does Teiresias respond? Who does he say is his true master?9. What curse does Teiresias say will whip Oedipus forever?10. What does Teiresias tell Oedipus is his mother and father? What will it do to him?11. What does Teiresias predict will happen to Oedipus? Name at least three of his predictions.SCENE 81. What is Freud’s recurring dream? What is he requested to do? What is he too late to do?2. Name the three things Freud says “to close your eyes” is.3. Why did Freud have to be the greatest doctor in Austria?4. What does Freud say his recurring dream may represent?5. What reason does the chorus give for why Oedipus cannot be evil?SCENE 91. Why has Kreon returned?2. What does Oedipus say Kreon has been plotting? Of what else does he accuse Kreon?3. What power does Kreon share with Oedipus? Why?4. What does Kreon really want? What does he enjoy now, without dangers?5. Kreon tells Oedipus to do what to confirm or deny Teiresias’s story? What will he do if the oraclesays he has plotted against the king?6. What does Oedipus want from Kreon by the end of the scene?SCENE 101. What does Jocasta want Kreon and Oedipus to do?2. With whom does the chorus most empathize in this scene? What do they want to happen?3. What does Oedipus tell the chorus they are asking for in regards to him?4. What does Jocasta need to know? How does the chorus respond to her request?SCENE 111. How does Jocasta feel about Teiresias’s revelation about Oedipus? What example does she give tosupport her point of view?2. What memory does Oedipus have while Jocasta tells her story?3. For what details does he ask Jocasta? How does he respond when he receives them?4. Who is the only witness to Laios’s murder?11


TEXT QUESTIONS5. What story from his past does Oedipus relate to Jocasta? Summarize it in three sentences.6. What revelation does Oedipus make to Jocasta at the end of his story?7. What is the only hope Oedipus says he has?8. What does Jocasta tell Oedipus is her only wish?SCENE 121. What does the chorus say about the laws – who created them?2. Of what did Freud suspect his father for many years? Why was it impossible?3. What shift does Freud make in his seduction theory?4. What does the chorus pray that Apollo will do to tyrants? The chorus asks Apollo to do what to or forthem?5. Where would Freud’s nurse take him? What did he later learn about her?6. What do we see Jocasta do, according to the stage directions, at the end of this scene?SCENE 131. Who arrives from Corinth? What has he come to tell Oedipus?2. How did King Polybus die? Why is this important to Oedipus?3. What advice does Jocasta give Oedipus about how to live his life? What does she say about hisdreams?4. According to Oedipus, “nothing on earth is sweeter to a man’s eyes” than what?5. What further news does the messenger bring about Oedipus’ parents? What role did this man play inOedipus’ past?6. Where was Oedipus left alone to die? What had been done to his feet? Why is this significant to theplot of the play?7. What does the name “Oedipus” mean?8. What does Jocasta want Oedipus to stop doing? Does Oedipus comply with her wishes?9. What is the only thing Jocasta says she can call Oedipus?SCENE 141. What must Oedipus know? What must he discover?2. Which gods does the chorus suggest could be Oedipus’ father? Who do they propose could be hismother?SCENE 151. Who arrives with Oedipus’ men?2. Why won’t the shepherd answer Oedipus’ questions? How does he describe the words?3. What does the shepherd ultimately reveal to Oedipus? Why did the shepherd take the action he did?4. How does Oedipus respond?SCENE 161. How does the chorus receive the news of Oedipus’ birth parents? What doesn’t last according tothem?2. What did Freud begin to study upon the death of his father?3. Whom did Freud remember in his dream titled “Bad Treatment?” In what did she “instruct” youngFreud?4. What happened on the train ride from Leipzig to Vienna when Freud was a young boy?5. What does he come to realize – which two roles is he playing?6. By what “overpowering need” is Freud possessed?12


TEXT QUESTIONSSCENE 171. What news does the servant bring to the chorus? What has happened to Oedipus and Jocasta?2. What, specifically, did Oedipus do to himself?SCENE 181. Whom does Oedipus call ‘friend?”2. How does Oedipus explain his actions?3. Why can words not express the shame, according to Oedipus? What should words never do?SCENE 191. What does Oedipus ask Kreon to do? How does Kreon respond to the request?2. Who is brought out of the palace to Oedipus?3. Does Oedipus have power any longer?SCENE 201. With what thoughts or advice does the chorus leave us?13


ESSAY & DISCUSSION QUESTIONSThe following questions or statements, divided by topic, can be used as starting points for class discussions,prompts for essay questions, or creative writing assignments to help you and your students explore the textand its themes more deeply.EXPLORING THE PLAYGalati has chosen to often tie Freud’s monologues closely to the sections of choral work. Why do you think thatmight be? What significant relationship might Freud and the chorus share? Why has Galati chosen to tell thestory this way rather than more closely aligning Freud with Oedipus?Other than the fact that Freud’s theory takes its name and inspiration from the title of Sophocles’ play, why do youthink Frank Galati chose to juxtapose the story of Oedipus with the discoveries of Sigmund Freud while writing TheInterpretation of Dreams?It has been said that Oedipus the King is the original detective story. Do you agree? Why or why not? Using amore contemporary detective story as a guide (think Law & Order, LA Confidential, or any of the Film Noir moviesfrom earlier in the 20 th century), write a short interpretation of the story of Oedipus. Think of creative names forthe characters that tell something about them – for example, Teiresias might become Terry Prophet. You may alsowant to pick one specific scene and reimagine just that portion of the story.Choose a portion of the choral text and think about how Sophocles (and the translator) utilizes imagery. Ratherthan showing you certain things, the playwright has chosen to vividly describe them instead. In what ways is thisdifferent from a more contemporary play where often the mantra is “show, don’t tell?” How would you stage aportion of just choral work and “keep it interesting” for the audience? Try staging a portion of the chorus’s lines inclass.Unlike other plays you’ve seen at the Goodman this year where the dramatic tension comes from not knowing thefull story of the characters’ experiences (think Rabbit Hole), Oedipus Complex creates an altogether different kindof tension. Here, you know more than the characters on stage, and must wait for them to put all the piecestogether – with the disastrous results you know will come. Which is more difficult for you to experience as anaudience member? Why?In Oedipus Complex, Frank Galati is using segments from an ancient Greek text and from turn of the 20 th centurytexts. How would you costume this play? In traditional Greek attire? In turn of the 20 th century garb? Justifyyour choices with support from the text.EXPLORING THE CHARACTERSOedipus tells Jocasta of the night he was told he wasn’t his father’s son and his successive journey to the oracle atDelphi. Is this the first time he’s told his wife about this journey? If so, why has he kept it from her for so long?Have you ever heard of a man dating a woman “old enough to be his mother?” Forgetting the truth we come toknow about Oedipus and Jocasta’s familial relationship, imagine what their courtship and marriage may havebeen like before the events of the play. Were they a happy couple? Was the marriage a reward for Oedipus’defeat of the sphinx? Write a short scene exploring their interaction as man and wife before the discovery thatthey are also mother and son.Typically, a traditional Greek chorus is a single organism. By making Freud the leader of this chorus, how doesthe role of the chorus and the audience’s perception of their role fundamentally change? Do you agree withGalati’s choice to include Freud when traditionally no one person stands out in the choral group? Why or whynot?When Jocasta tries to stop Oedipus from pursuing the murderer’s identity, does she already know the answer tothis riddle? If so, is she trying to protect him as a mother protects a child? As a wife protects a husband? Is shetrying to protect herself from humiliation? Support your answer.14


Go through the play and find all of Freud’s prose monologues and think about them as a single progression orcharacter arc. Now think about Oedipus’ character arc from the beginning of the play to the end? How is Freud’sarc similar to that of Oedipus? How is it different?Berg and Clay make the following observation: “Of all the questions asked in the Oedipus, one is not asked: Whydid Oedipus suffer what he suffered.” What do you make of this question? Do you think there is a reason forOedipus’ suffering? Why or why not?FATE & DESTINYIn the introduction to the Berg & Clay translation of Oedipus the King, it is said, “Both Oedipus and Jocasta usethe language of prophesy, and unwittingly they become prophets.” Find the language of prophesy used by bothcharacters. What do they predict; what comes to pass? Why do you think Sophocles (and Galati) utilizes thislanguage for these characters?What are your feelings on the ideas of fate and destiny? Do you think there is a pre-determined “plan” for you andyour life? Do you think there are ways to figure out what that plan might be – things like horoscopes, tarotreadings, signs, etc.? Why do you feel that way? What do you think of others who might have the opposite viewfrom yours?DREAMSFreud theorized that our dreams are forms of wish fulfillment and that often our desires have to be disguised insymbols in order to make it past the “sentinel” guarding our consciousness from our unconscious mind. Thinkabout a vivid dream that you remember. Write the dream down in the form of a short story, then try to determinewhat wishes your dream may have been trying to fulfill.While science asserts that almost everyone dreams, not everyone is always able to remember what adventures heor she has while unconscious. Keep a journal or pad of paper by your bed for a week and try to write down yourdreams the moment you wake up. What are your findings? Do you have an easier time remembering dreams?Are there any themes or threads in your dreams that connect them to each other? If so, what do you think thesethings signify?INFLUENCEOften parents want their children to be exposed to people who are going to act as “good influences,” or they maytry to keep their children from those whose influence is negative. What makes someone influential? What’s thedifference between being positively and negatively influential? On a grander scale, in terms of society on a whole,how do the requirements for being influential change? How do they stay the same? How do we determine ifsomeone in influential on a world-wide scale? Who are some of the people currently acting in ways that areglobally influential? How do you feel about the kind of influence each of those individuals is having on our world?Who has influenced your life so far? Think of people who have affected you in all kinds of ways – both good andbad – and try to determine who has been the most influential and why. Create a list of the top five mostinfluential people in your life and be sure to included specifics about their influence on you.Although many of his theories have since been questioned or discredited, people are still talking about SigmundFreud. Considering what you know of Freud from your discussions in class or your own explorations, do you thinkhe was a positive or a negative influence on humanity? Why do you feel that way?SIGHTFind all the references to eyes and sight in the play. In what different ways are these topics approached in thetext? How does the discussion of this topic change as the play progresses?Tieresias is a blind man who sees the truth as seen by Apollo. Once Oedipus recognizes the truth of his identityand what he’s done, he destroys his eyes. What is the difference, as explored in the story of Oedipus, betweensight and vision? Are the two mutually exclusive in the world of these characters?15


EXPLORING FREUDFreud says that the death of one’s father is the most important event in a man’s life. What do you make of that?Can you think of any other life events that might be equally or even more important? Explain the reasoning foryour answer.Kreon tells Oedipus that Laois was attacked by bandits – plural. Oedipus’ next question asks how “a bandit” –singular – could attack a king. Is this a “Freudian slip?” Does Oedipus somehow already know he is themurderer? Why or why not?When he was first publishing his theory of the Oedipus complex, Freud was ridiculed by the majority of his peers,yet he kept moving forward because he so ardently believed in the work he was doing. Has there ever been atime that you or a member of your family continued to work for something you believed in, despite a lack ofsupport from those around you? How did it feel to go through that? How does your experience compare withSigmund Freud’s?VIOLENCEEarlier this season, in King Lear, you saw a man’s eyes gouged out, fed to him, and sizzling in a frying pan. WithOedipus Complex, you’ll hear about the act of eye-gouging and only see the effects of it. Why do you think theGreek theatre chose to have certain acts – primarily violent ones – happen offstage with messengers coming on totalk about the gory details?Are violent acts more terrifying when you see them on stage (or in a movie) or when you hear what happened andcreate your own picture using your imagination? Why do you feel that way? Think about scary movies you’veseen – which were scarier – the blood ‘n guts specials with lots of gore, or the psychological thriller types that tryto really get inside your head? Why is that scarier for you?LIGHT vs. DARKRead through the play and track all the references to light or darkness. How are these ideas explored? Whatpurpose does the exploration of light or darkness serve in relation to the Oedipus myth? To the story and theoriesof Freud?Find the moments in the script that Oedipus calls for “Light Light Light” – why do you think he cries for light atthese moments? What might the “light” he calls for represent?EXPLORING THE GODSIt is often asserted that the conflicts of humanity can be boiled down to that which is Apollonian versus that whichis Dionysian. Research those two terms and what world views each term describes – do you agree with theassertion? The first production of Oedipus the King was held at the City Dionysia – a festival celebrating the godDionysus. The play so often calls out to Apollo for assistance and explanations. Do you find it interesting that aplay performed at a festival of Dionysus so often calls on Apollo given the supposed conflict between the two waysof thinking? Is there an inherent conflict there? Why or why not?Berg and Clay observe: “The gods of the Oedipus are not the gods of the Iliad and Odyssey who occasionally, inthe case of some men at least, are moved to look down on human sufferings and human fate with interest,compassion, and involvement.” The gods don’t behave that way in Oedipus the King – or in Oedipus Complex forthat matter. The gods do not take pity on Oedipus or his suffering. Why do you think that might be? Supportyour answer with examples from the text.Galati has chosen to juxtapose an historical era in which much of what happened in a person’s life was attributedto the will of the gods with the modern era in which it was declared that god is dead. What do you make of thiscomparison? What might that juxtaposition be exploring about our current society?16


FRANK GALATI ON OEDIPUS COMPLEXSpeaking with Tom Creamer, Goodman Theatre’s Resident Dramaturg, adaptor and director Frank Galatidetails the genesis of and vision behind this play as well as what it ultimately can teach us all aboutourselves.“Following Ariadne’s Thread: Frank Galati on Oedipus Complex:” Goodman Theatre’s OnStage magazine, April – June 2007Tom Creamer: Oedipus Complex began when Libby Appel of Oregon Shakespeare Festival asked if you wouldbe interested in directing Oedipus. How did Freud become part of it?Frank Galati: I was up in Michigan on Beaver Island and I went to the library and read it; Iwas so surprised by the intensity of my emotional reaction. It really and truly did get undermy skin. I’m 63 now—I’ve lived a life—I have some perspective now, and the magnitude ofOedipus’ suffering, the inevitability of his tragic action, the trap that he’s caught in, hisquest for self knowledge and the terrible news that he learns about himself— I found it allvery, very moving. And then I thought, “I know this story made a huge impact on Freud, Ishould see if I can get a copy of Freud’s essay in which he talks about the Oedipal Complex.”TC: Just to give you a little insight—FG: Just doing a little preliminary research. There was a copy of Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams at thelibrary, and I checked it out and read it. I found myself thinking, “Oh my God, the entire psychoanalyticalproject has in some ways been defined and set in motion by the paradigm of the Oedipus story.” Here it is1900, and here is someone saying something out loud that is actually going to change intellectual history,that will set a course of study and analysis and probity and sagacity through the whole 20th century. Thereason why the story of Oedipus is immortal, the reason why it endures, is not because it is a play aboutdestiny and fate and the will of the gods pitted against the free will of man; it is because we are all Oedipus.Oedipus’ situation is universal. For Freud, dreams and literature and myth are all about the working out ofsecret desires and wishes and ambitions. He says all men have in them the hidden wish to do combat with,defeat, and murder their fathers and claim their mothers as their lovers. And, it is upon this universal truththat Sophocles’ play draws its immortality. I started looking into other Freud documents and his biographyand correspondence. It’s clear that Freud is so struck by this play and its mystery because at the time thathe’s developing these ideas, he’s experiencing his father’s death. Freud couldn’t understand in the aftermathof his father’s death why he was so disturbed. What was it about his relationship with his father that was sovexing and so dark? There was an incident in which Freud was walking with his father— and of course,Freud and his family were subjected to a tremendous amount of anti-Semitism—and Freud’s father had hishat knocked off in the street by a Christian passer-by. Freud was terribly upset that his father didn’t fightback, that he just brushed himself off and bowed, put his hat on and went on his way. Then there wasFreud’s own sexual awakening, and his relationship with his mother and his fear of his father’s relationshipwith his mother. His father was quite a bit older than his mother, and his mother was a very vivacious youngwoman, very attractive, very sensual, someone who obviously gave off a kind of conflicted sensuality—maternal but at the same time sexually lively. And, as it is revealed in the correspondence, Freud’s sexualdebut, so to speak, was organized by a governess, a woman who was even older than his mother. One of thestories that I found particularly vivid was Freud’s account of this governess, authorized by his parents to lookafter him, bathing him in a warm tub that she had bathed herself in when she was menstruating and thewater in the tub was red with her menstrual blood. How amazing to think about Freud in his 40s, readingSophocles’ play, with all of this baggage about his father and his mother, his own sexuality and his ownpassionate commitment to the truth of the unconscious.TC: It seems he was fated to make the connection with Oedipus.17


FG: Harold Bloom, in his book of geniuses, ranks Freud in the philosophy and literary categories—as much aliterary critic as a man of science. There’s just no avoiding the magnitude of his intellectual courage. No oneelse had the nerve to persist and pursue and—as one of the lines in Oedipus Complex has it—to followAriadne’s thread down into darkness. He’s forcing himself to see into these unthinkable regions of darkness.Nowadays, on every horrible reality show and in every tabloid, one serial killer or child molester after anotherworks to bring up this hideous darkness from below the surface of society. So I found myself thinking, what ifOedipus was seen through Freud’s lens, as if our contemporary audience were putting on his glasses? Therewere circuits of electricity flying back and forth between Freud’s and Sophocles’ worlds. I’m readingSophocles inflected by Freud—with the Viennese accent, so to speak. And I thought, “Wow! What if theaudience was following Freud into the bowels of the play? What if Freud was Virgil to the audience’s Dante,and we were descending into the Inferno, and there we were going to meet Oedipus in this dream worldwhere there’s an unstable porousness between the interior life of the analyst and his patient?” Oedipushimself is his own patient, just as Freud was his own patient. I called Libby Appel back and said, “Whatabout this idea? What about doing Oedipus, only framing the Oedipus narrative within the context of Freud’sown life and intellectual journey?” She was very excited and generously gave me the green light to go ahead.The play is not just relevant because Freud says that all of us have an “Oedipal Complex.” Oedipus is a manwho cannot, no matter how much evidence is presented to him, really see who he is until the very lastminute. He doesn’t understand that he is the problem. And that is a political equation. He is the King ofThebes. He is the leader of a country and yet, he is the agent of the country’s doom.TC: That’s certainly a contemporary resonance.FG: Yeah. But I think one has to be very careful in dealing with works that are slippery and constructed outof mystery and ambiguity. One has to be careful not to specify something out of it—to reduce it—to shrivel itfrom its mystery. I think if you tame Oedipus, you don’t allow it to be rich enough in order for us, theaudience, to say, “Oh my God! That’s me!”TC: Did Freud do anything to destroy the tragedy of the play? The very process of Oedipus’ uncovering thetruth about himself is the same process as psychoanalysis. But psychoanalysis is not a tragic process; it’ssupposedly a healing process.FG: In a weird way, if what Freud is attempting to do by penetrating his own inferiority is to exorcise thedemons and heal himself, if the psychoanalytical project is one of healing, and if the quest of Oedipus issimilar to the quest of analysis, then for several reasons Oedipus is not a tragedy. One reason is, of course,that the hero does not succumb; the hero survives the action, lives to be an old man, and appears in a muchlater play by Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus, having achieved a kind of horrible balance. But also, Oedipussaves Thebes because he catches the villain. As tragic as the action is, in spite of the unthinkable selfwoundingthat Oedipus rains down upon his own eyes, in a way we should be rejoicing at the end of theplay, because they caught the guy. He caught him. But if the patient is cured, if the hero is brought to somestate of self-knowledge—better to see and be blind, I suppose. I find the last line of the chorus enormouslypowerful: “Keep your eyes on that last day, on your dying. Happiness and peace, they were not yours, unlessat death you can look back on your life and say, ‘I lived.’” To be alive is to suffer. Look at the Christianparadigm and the tree of knowledge— to know is to be expelled from the Garden of Eden. It sucks! That’swhy I think it’s so moving.18


EVEN SOPHOCLES NEEDED A SOURCE: THE OEDIPUS MYTHThe story of King Oedipus and his unfortunate family was not a new one to Greek audiences. In many ways,the Greek playwrights were the original adaptors, taking stories engrained in the public consciousness andbringing them to life in front of Athens’ eyes. Below is a brief telling of the Oedipus myth which Sophoclesbrought to life.“The Myth of Oedipus:” Goodman Theatre’s OnStage magazine, April – June 2007Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex was first performed in Athens circa 429-425 B.C.E. at the festival of the god Dionysus.His audience would have been quite familiar with the story of Oedipus, one of several legends of the city ofThebes. First recorded in the Theban Cycle, a collection of four lost epics circa 750-500 B.C.E., Thebes’ troubledhistory had been compelling to dramatists from the beginning of Greek drama. Aeschylus, the great tragedian whopreceded Sophocles, wrote a trilogy centering upon the Oedipus myth, of which only one play is still in existence,Seven Against Thebes. Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex borrows elements from both the well-known legend and Aeschylus’version.The legend begins with Oedipus’ father Laius, the ruler of Thebes, who receives a prophecy from the oracle atDelphi that he is to bear a son who will one day kill him. Despite this warning, drunk with wine one night, Laiusimpregnates Jocasta, his queen. When the baby is born, Laius has its ankles pierced and orders the baby to beabandoned on Mt. Cithairon. But the shepherd given this task pities the child and hands him over to a fellowshepherd from Corinth, who gives the child to Polybus and Merope, the childless king and queen of Corinth.Merope gives him the name “Oedipus,” which translates as “swollen foot.”Oedipus grows up believing Polybus and Merope to be his parents. But when a Corinthian taunts that he is nottheir true son, Oedipus confronts his parents, who deny the accusation. He consults the oracle at Delphi, and ishorrified when it prophesies that he will one day kill his father and marry his mother.To avoid his fate, Oedipus flees Corinth. When he comes to a crossroads, his way is blocked by a nobleman in achariot, who, unknown to Oedipus, is in fact his true father, Laius. When the nobleman’s driver orders Oedipus tomake way, Oedipus loses his temper and a fight ensues, which results in his killing Laius.Meanwhile in Thebes, the Sphinx, a creature with the head of a woman and the breast, feet and tail of a lion,taunts the Thebans with a riddle: What goes on four legs in the morning, two legs at midday and three in theevening? Whoever gets the answer wrong is instantly eaten alive. Jocasta’s brother Creon, now ruling Thebes afterLaius’ death, proclaims that whoever answers the riddle correctly will become king of Thebes.Oedipus approaches Thebes, confronts the Sphinx and answers the riddle: Man is he who goes on all fours as aninfant, walks upright as an adult and leans on a staff in old age. Oedipus is proclaimed king and marries Jocasta.The two have four children: Antigone, Ismene, Polynices and Eteocles.Sophocles begins his play after Oedipus, beloved of the Thebans, has been ruling for several years. As the playopens, the Thebans are suffering from a severe plague of unknown causes. The land is dying, the gods are silentand women give birth to still-born infants. Led by a priest, the citizens of Thebes come to Oedipus to ask him tofind an answer to their suffering. Oedipus may not be free to avoid his fate, but he does have the freedom tochoose to pursue the truth about himself, and this he does relentlessly, to his final misery.THINK ABOUT ITAsk students to consider the following: The audience attending Sophocles’ play already knew the story of the Kingthey were about to see. What might the draw of attending the new play have been? Today, the play Oedipus theKing is literally thousands of years old, and many people already know the story of the ill-fated Oedipus, yettheatres continue to produce the original piece and adaptations of it as well. Why? What is the advantage ofproducing a script that has been around for so long? If it’s not to see a “new” story, what is appealing about goingto the theatre, or seeing a movie, or reading a book? Use examples from your experience to support your answer.19


FOCUS ON SOPHOCLES & OEDIPUS THE KINGSophocles was one of the most celebrated playwrights of ancient Greece, and his Oedipus the King has beenhailed for centuries as one of the most brilliant works of drama to date. The following provides a brief bit ofbackground on the playwright and his play, one of the source texts utilized by Frank Galati in creatingOedipus Complex.“Classical Athens” edited from The Wadsworth Anthology of Drama, fourth edition edited by W.B Worthen: 2004Like Aeschylus, Sophocles (c. 496—406 BCE) had an important career in the civic life of Athens as well asin the theater. He was treasurer for the Athenian imperial league, and served as one of the generals who leda campaign against Samos, an island threatening to secede from the Athenian alliance. In 411 BCE, he wasappointed to a committee called to examine Athens’ disastrous military campaign in Sicily. Sophocles’greatest achievements, though, were in the theater. Sophocles was responsible for introducing a third actorinto dramatic performance, an innovation rapidly imitated by other playwrights, including Aeschylus andEuripides. He also enlarged the size of the chorus from, twelve to fifteen men. Sophocles won his first victoryagainst Aeschylus, in 468 BCE; he was victorious twenty-four times in his career and never finished lowerthan second in the dramatic competition. Of the 120 plays attributed to Sophocles, only seven survive: Ajax,Trachiniae, Antigone, Oedipus the King, Electra, Philoctetes, and Oedipus at Colonus. Fragments of a satyrplay, The Trackers, also remain. The three “Theban” plays - Antigone, Oedipus the King, and Oedipus atColonus - are thematically related, but, unlike The Oresteia of Aeschylus, were not composed as a trilogy.Antigone, a play about Oedipus’ daughters after his banishment from Thebes, was composed about 441BCE; Oedipus the King was first produced sometime shortly after the declaration of war with Sparta in 431BCE; and Oedipus at Colonus was first produced after Sophocles’ death and Athens’ defeat.Oedipus the King is framed by two acts of identification, recognition, and acknowledgment. The action of theplay is about the deepening and horrible understanding of what it means for the hero to recognize who heis—what it means to be Oedipus.In The Poetics, written nearly a century later (about 335 BCE), Aristotle frequently refers to Oedipus the Kingas a definitive example of the form and purpose of tragedy. Modern audiences, though, sometimes find theplay baffling, in part because the prophecy delivered to Oedipus’ parents, Laius and .Jocasta - that their sonwill murder his father and marry his mother - seems to rob Oedipus of the ability to act, to decide his fatethrough his own deeds. The tension between destiny and discovery is central to the play; to understand it,we should pay attention to the function of the oracle at Delphi both in the Greek world and in Oedipus theKing. The Greeks consulted the oracle at Delphi on a variety of matters, ranging from personal decisions toproblems of state. For example, in the play, Laius and Jocasta have consulted the oracle to learn the future oftheir child, and Oedipus turns to Delphi to find out whether Polybus is actually his father. At the same time,the oracle also speaks on important public issues—about the cause of the plague afflicting Thebes and aboutwhat should be done with Oedipus after his blinding. Sophocles lived in an era of increasing skepticism,when political conflict and the rise of rhetorical training raised questions about the nature and significance oftruth - even the truth of oracular revelation. It is not surprising that characters in Oedipus the King frequentlyquestion such prophecy or have difficulty learning how to accept and interpret it, as when Oedipus fleesCorinth to avoid murdering his father.Critical as the prophecy is to Oedipus’ life, Oedipus’ deeds are really at issue in Oedipus the King. Sophocleschose to begin and end his drama on the day of Oedipus’ discovery of his own identity. The play focuses lesson the prophecy than on the course and meaning of Oedipus’ actions, on how he comes to recognize himselfas the criminal he seeks. Oedipus arrives at this recognition only through an extraordinary effort of action anddecision: Oedipus calls for the exile of Laius’ murderer; he insults Teiresias when the prophet tries to evadehis questions; he accuses Creon; he threatens the old shepherd with torture in order to learn the truth of hisbirth. The oracle says that Oedipus will commit his terrible crimes of murder and incest, but Oedipus choosesthe relentless, brutal pursuit of the truth himself, even to the point of his own incrimination and destruction.20


The tragedy of Oedipus the King lies in the fearsome turn of events caused by Oedipus’ inflexible compulsionto discover the truth.Aristotle considers the hero of tragedy at some length, in terms that are at once compelling and confusing,particularly in the case of Oedipus. Aristotle suggests in The Poetics that the hero of tragedy should be “aman who is neither a paragon of virtue and justice nor undergoes the change to misfortune through any realbadness or wickedness but because of some mistake,” a description that leads some to look for the cause ofthis error within Oedipus’ character, in a so-called tragic flaw. But, in fact, when he says that the character’s“mistake”—or hamartia —is not the result of any real badness or wickedness,” Aristotle seems to deny thatthe hero’s downfall is the effect of any moral “flaw” at all. It might help us to remember that to his audience,Oedipus may have seemed to share some typically “Athenian” characteristics. Oedipus’ passion for inquiry,his abrupt decisiveness, and his impulsive desire to act were seen as the stereotypical traits of Atheniancitizens and of Athens as a city. Far from being “flaws,” these are just the qualities that made Oedipus (andAthens) successful. What is “tragic” about Oedipus’ fate in Oedipus the King is the way that his own sureststrengths—the aggressive, pragmatic qualities that enabled him to outwit the Sphinx—lead, on this oneoccasion, to his destruction. Oedipus’ “mistake” is neither a moral failing nor a deed that he might haveavoided; it is simply that he is Oedipus and acts like Oedipus—intelligent, masterful, assertive, impatient,impulsive. The tragedy lies in the way that acting like Oedipus leads him, as it has always led him in thepast, to the discovery of the truth he seeks, this time with ruinous consequences.THINK ABOUT ITAsk students to think about the following questions. You may wish to have an in-class discussion or ask thestudents to journal about this topic. Aristotle, in his estimation of Oedipus the King, essentially asserts thatOedipus is just too good at his detective work and that in the particular circumstances of this play, being toogood is his downfall. How do you feel about that? Have you ever been told that you’re “too smart,” “toopretty,” “too good” at something? How did that make you feel? Have you ever accused someone else ofbeing too much of something? Is there such a thing as being “too good” at anything? Why or why not?21


NOTES FROM THE TRANSLATORS OF OEDIPUS THE KINGThere are many extant translations and adaptations, of Sophocles’ classic play. The translation of Oedipus theKing Frank Galati chose as the base text for Oedipus Complex was completed in 1978 by Stephen Berg andDiskin Clay. In this unique collaboration, both a scholar and a poet were employed so that the text might not bemerely accurate, but also reflective of, as nearly as possible, the original intention of Sophocles. Many of thenotes from that edition of the Oedipus are useful in understanding and appreciating the evolution of this particulartranslation and are included here for your reference.from Oedipus the King, Editor’s Forward by William Arrowsmith, 1978To my perhaps prejudiced eye, the special achievements of this new translation of Oedipus the King are, first, thefunctional precision and power of its poetry; and, second, its pervasive metaphysical suggestiveness. Again andagain the play, but also the translation, evokes the sense of another, larger world, of an eternally recurring realitylooming behind, sometimes violently erupting into, the immediate foreground, here and now, of the dramaticsituation. The concrete human darkness is everywhere created and felt—the labyrinthine world of the humancondition. But because we feel the maze, we also feel the sudden, blinding relief of the illusory exit, as darkness isresolved into light which turns into hopeless darkness again. Beyond this world the poet makes us always awareof what, to the Greek dramatist and his audience, mattered even more—the generic modal reality, the archetypalworld which informs and finally patterns the immediate world of real characters in a real but transient present. Attheir greatest, it was the supreme achievement of the Greek dramatists to make, as Dante did later, a singleseamless reality of these two worlds. Inexorably, the timeless world of the “background” fills out and reveals, thepermanent meaning of the present, just as the present reaches out for, and finally achieves, eternity. Time, inShakespeare’s great figure, makes stale “the glistering of this present” but also renews it as an image of theendlessly recurring design.So, if we respond to the poet’s intentions, we see, not some existential identity-quest (though that is there), orsome Christian passion-play of crime-and-punishment (which is not there), but the great concrete shadow-play ofthe species itself. We see how Oedipus, self-sufficient and strong, godlike in his confidence of mother-wit andpower and self-reliance, in the space of one brief symbolic day is transformed into the old, blind, decrepit butclairvoyant pariah-prophet of his own riddle; and we see too how, as Oedipus passes from the scene, like a settingsun, he is in turn succeeded by a new man of power—a man called, with telling effect, simply Kreon (which inGreek means merely “ruler” or “king”). We see, theatrically, how the Chorus’s great dirge on human transience isacted out in real and metaphysical time.…We may also come to see what I think the poet intends Oedipus’ tragedy to reveal—the revelation of the godApollo, and Apollo’s presence in the hero’s pathos. For a Greek god is not, as too many modems suppose, somesort of deified function or capacity, or power of nature. Apollo, for instance, is not simply a god of reason. Notunless one possesses, as the Greeks did, a sense of reason so ample that discursive logic, lyric poetry, music, andprophecy—but above all prophecy—are, all of them, wholly rational activities, i.e. activities of the whole mind,thought literally fused with feeling. Nor is Apollo in any real sense a god of light, but rather a light-bringer, a godwhose quality is the radiance he confers. A Greek god is experienced; his name is the name of that experience.Whenever we feel our mortal darkness illuminated; whenever we feel sudden clarity stabbing into our darkness—as when we are literally enlightened by poetry, or music, or logic, or prophecy, or insight—then Apollo is the nameof what has happened to us. In this play Oedipus is the vehicle—both victim and hero—of this illumination, In histerrible darkness he comes to know the god and even, like Teiresias or the old hero of the Oedipus at Kolonos, toincarnate, even to be, the god. The hero’s life is that of all men, rising and shining, then fading and falling. Buttheir life is also the life of the god, daily rising and daily setting. The play’s symbolic day—dawn to dusk—is infact Apollo appearing, as he appears to all, before daily disappearing. The day reveals the man, the hero, the god.Apollo and Oedipus, we may assume at first, are at odds. But one of the effects of the play as it unfolds is toreveal the affinity between the god and Oedipus. True, the affinity is never stated, only hinted. But we will misreadthe play, I believe, unless we are prepared to hear in Oedipus’ insistence that he did not destroy himself becausehe was being preserved for some fate more awful, more dreadful still, the hero’s fierce pride in having been chosenfor a fate that would have broken a lesser man. It is an extraordinary fate, a doom which could have befallen no22


ordinary man. And Oedipus’ sense of election by the god is reflected in his pride of having been doomed to soexceptional a fate. In some very real sense Oedipus knows that he is Apollo’s man. The god moves in him, blazesin him, as he does in Teiresias too. And the course of Oedipus’ life incarnates the god’s, as well as revealing thegod’s power and, paradoxically, his justice—the justice of tragic life itself—to those who have eyes to see with,and the wit to be blinded by what they see.A NOTE ON THE CHORUSES from Stephen Berg, translatorI have not punctuated the choruses because they fluctuate somewhere between talk and song and lack many ofthe usual bridges of logic found in prose syntax. Also, I wanted to distinguish them from the rest of the play,musically, since they are a consciousness separate from the action and thought of the characters though deeplyinvolved with events as they occur. Perhaps terms like “broken song” or “chant”—speech free to range from theconversational to the lyrical through exclamation, narration, exposition, description—are definitions which help usto grasp the structural attitude of the choruses. Without Greek, I had to imagine something in English bred by theoriginal as I found it described by Diskin Clay, Jebb, and other experts, something which today’s reader andaudience would find both strange, immediate, and convincing, something fifteen people could say as if they wereone. I can think of no corresponding voice in our society, no single expression of authority which, when we hear it,we feel we must believe. I shaped the choruses to catch that power, and to establish the fluidity of contact withand response to each action, each wave of consciousness which the choral voice must reflect.NOTES ON THE TEXT included as an appendix to the Berg/Clay translationSelected here are notes which correspond to sections of text used by Mr. Galati in his adaptation and which mayprove useful in the classroom.those branches tied with woolA delegation of Thebans has come to the palace of Oedipus and taken up the position of suppliants before thestage and the altar of Apollo. They have placed branches twined with wool on the altar as an offering to Apollo,the god whose oracles shape the plot of the Oedipus and who was also a god of healing. In the Iliad, Apollo wasthe god of plague.bandits … not one manAll that is known about the murder of Laios comes from the sole survivor who not only spoke of bandits but wasemphatic that one man did not do the deed. His insistence is significant for the play. The sole survivor of Oedipus’attack on Laios and his party is the household slave who was to expose Oedipus on Kithairon, but took pity on thebaby. In the play, he is the only mortal besides Teiresias to know the truth about Oedipus and his life. When hefled from the scene of the murder he did not know that Laios was dead. But on his return to Thebes he learnedthat Laios had been killed and that Oedipus had taken his place as king of Thebes. We are not told that herecognized Oedipus as the child he saved, but the fact that he insisted that Laios had beep killed by bandits—notby one man alone—and his desire never to see Thebes again, speak for themselves. Sophocles gave his audiencea sense of all that this shepherd knows well before his reluctant appearance.the intricate, hard song of the SphinxHer song, and oracle, is this:There is a creature that moves upon the earth on two feet, on four, and on three.He has one name, and of all the creatures that move upon the land, and through the bright airand sea, only this changes his condition. But when he walks with the most limbs to supporthim, he moves slowest and his limbs are weakest.The answer to her riddle is Man; in Sophocles’ play Oedipus is revealed as an infant on Kithairon, a man standingsteady at the height of his power, and a blind exile who must walk upon the earth with a staff to support him anddirect his way.You don’t see how much alike we areThe play of words is extremely subtle: Oedipus says of Teiresias that he is capable of provoking a rock. Teiresiasreplies by saying that Oedipus’ anger, temper, or temperament is close to his own. … It would seem that Oedipus23


esembles Teiresias in a fixity of disposition. Teiresias has no choice but to know what he knows, and Oedipus hasno choice, except for the decisive act of blinding himself, but to suffer what he suffers.GLOSSARY included as an appendix to the Berg/Clay translationSelected terms are defined within the context of the playABAI – a small site N.E. of Thebes, with an oracle ofApollo.APOLLO – in this play the god of prophecy, light, andhealing whose temple at Delphi is, through the inspiredintermediary of his priestess (the Pythia), the source ofthe prophecies that center on the family of Laios. He iscalled “Lycian”—an ambiguous epithet whose meaningsuggests the “destroyer.”ARES - the god of war and uniquely in this play the godof plague.AETEMIS - a goddess associated with animals,mountains, and the hunt.ATHENA - the virgin daughter of Zeus, goddess ofintelligence, and the warrior protectress of Athens, andin the Oedipus, Thebes.BACCHUS or Dionysos - the god of wine and theecstasy and liberation it produces. Thebes was theplace where he vindicated his claim over Greece; henceit is called “Bacchic.”DAULIA - in Phocis (the region of Delphi), just off theroad from Thebes to Delphi to the north.DELPHI - in the mountains above the north coast of thegulf of Corinth; the site of the greatest prophetic shrinein Greece with its temple to Apollo and his oracle.HADES - “the god of evening,” the god of the dead.HERMES - among other things, the god of herdsmen.Named in this play as the god who rules over Mt.Kyllene in N.E. Arcadia – the place of his birth.JOCASTA - mother and wife of Oedipus.KITRAIRON - a high, desolate mountain to the south ofThebes.KREON - brother of Jocasta.MEROPE - wife of Polybos.OEDIPUS - son of Laios and Jocasta, king of Thebes,and husband to Jocasta.OLYMPIA - in Elis near the N.W. coast of thePeloponnesus, the greatest center for the worship ofOlympian Zeus, mentioned because of its oracle ofZeus.PAN - the Greek goat god, his lower quarters werethose of a goat, from his thighs up he resembled aman. He is a god of music, lust and the mountains.PARNASSOS - the high mountain dominating Delphi tothe N.E.POLYBOS - king of Corinth, the adoptive father of thefoundling Oedipus.PYTHIA - the priestess of Apollo in his temple atDelphi. Possessed by the god, she pronounces or singspoetic responses to the questions of the visitors to theoracle of Apollo.THE SPHINX - a demonic creature of three forms: shehas the head of a woman, the body of a bird, and thehind quarters of a lion. Her riddle about a creature withthree forms (first walking on four legs, then two, thenthree) was solved by Oedipus. Her name means the“strangler.”TEIRESIAS - a blind Theban prophet.ZEUS - the father of Olympian gods, who in theOedipus is associated with Apollo and prophecy as allknowing.24


SOURCE TEXT: INTERPRETING FREUD’S DREAMSSigmund Freud’s groundbreaking work, The Interpretation of Dreams, is one of the base texts utilized byFrank Galati in the creation of Oedipus Complex. It begins with this paragraph:In the following pages I shall provide proof that there is a psychological technique which allowsus to interpret dreams, and that when this procedure is applied, every dream turns out to be ameaningful psychical formation which can be given an identifiable place in what goes on withinus in our waking life. I shall further try to explain the processes that make the dream so strangeand incomprehensible, and infer from them the nature of the psychical forces in theircombinations and conflicts, out of which the dream emerges Having got so far, my account willbreak off, for it will have reached the point at which the problem of dreaming opens out intomore comprehensive problems which will have to be resolved on the basis of different material.Utilizing examples from his own dream life, the dreams of his patients, and examples from history and greatliterature, Freud used Dreams to first explore concepts of Id, Ego, and Superego, as well as his infamousOedipus complex. The following is a brief summation of the landmark work, its reception, and lasting effectson the field of psychology.“Freud’s book, The Interpretation of Dreams:” A Science Odyssey, People & Discoveries www.pbs.orgIn 1897 Sigmund Freud began his famous course of self-analysis. He had already noticed that dreams played animportant role in his analysis of neurotic and "hysterical" patients. As he encouraged them to free-associate, that is, talkabout whatever came into their minds, they often referred to their dreams, which would set off other associations andoften illuminate other important connections in their past experience. Freud also had noticed that hallucinations inpsychotic patients were very much like dreams. Based on these observations, Freud began to believe that sleepingdreams were nearly always, like day-dreams, wish fulfillment.Freud had always been an active dreamer, and much of his self-analysis focused on dreams, convincing himconclusively in the wish-fulfillment theory. Within a few months of beginning his self-analysis, he decided to write abook about dreams. He looked into the literature and was pleased to see that no one had proposed his idea before. Infact, most people believed dreams were just nonsense. It took Freud about two years to write The Interpretation ofDreams, finishing it in September 1897. It was published late in the year and released in 1900. Freud was paid about$209.The book explained the double level of dreams: the actual dream with its "manifest content," and the dream's true ifhidden meaning, or "latent content." The idea of dream as wish-fulfillment was explained, and he introduced the theorythat sexuality was an important part of childhood, a shocking idea at the time. He also outlined a sort of universallanguage of dreams, by which they might be interpreted.Most people now agree that The Interpretation of Dreams was Freud's most important work, but it took eight years tosell the 600 copies printed in 1900. In the first year and a half, no scientific journal reviewed it and few otherperiodicals mentioned it. It was largely ignored, though in psychological journals it received crushing reviews. One criticwarned that "uncritical minds would be delighted to join in this play with ideas and would end up in completemysticism and chaotic arbitrariness."In 1910, however, Freud's overall work was becoming better known and a second edition was printed. There would besix more in Freud's lifetime, the last in 1929. He changed very little in the book, only adding illustrations, elaboratingcertain ideas, and adding to the portions on symbolism. The book was translated into English and Russian in 1913, andinto six more languages by 1938. Though he was a prolific writer, The Interpretation of Dreams remained Freud's mostoriginal work. Despite the initial cold reception, Freud himself knew it was a breakthrough. "Insight such as this falls toone's lot but once in a lifetime," he wrote.25


FREUD & OEDIPUS: DECODING THE RIDDLEOedipus Complex was born of a desire to juxtapose Oedipus’ infamous journey of self-discovery with that ofSigmund Freud as he worked to cope with the death of his father and to develop the burgeoning field ofpsychoanalysis. But what exactly is Freud’s Oedipus complex and how does it relate to the play created byGalati? Below is a very brief explanation of Freud’s complex, followed by an article which provides a briefglimpse at the significance of the Oedipus myth to Freud and a piece of insight into how Freud’s actual textfound its way into the text of Oedipus Complex.edited from Freud: a life for our times by Peter Gay: Anchor Books, 1988Hunting in the luxuriant jungles of childhood experience, Freud brought home some fascinating trophies,none so spectacular, or so controversial, and the Oedipus complex. He had first announced this momentousidea to Fliess [Wilhelm Fliess, his colleague and confidant – more on him and their relationship can be foundin this guide] in the fall of 1897. Now, in The Interpretation of Dreams, he elaborated it without as yet usingthe name under which it has entered – indeed, dominated – the history of psychoanalysis. He introduced it,appropriately enough, in a section on typical dreams, among which those about the death of loved onesrequired some sober comment. Sibling rivalries, tensions between mothers and daughters or fathers andsons, death wishes against family members, all seem wicked and unnatural. They offend the most highlyprized official pieties, but, Freud dryly observed, they are no secret to anyone. The Oedipus complex,embodied in myths, tragedies, and dreams no less than in daily life, is implicated in all these close conflicts.It is driven into the unconscious, but is all the more consequential for that. The Oedipus complex is, asFreud would later put it, the “nuclear complex” of the neuroses. But, as he insisted from the first, “being inlove with one and hating the other part of the parental pair” is not the monopoly of neurotics. It is the lot,though less spectacularly, of all normal humans.Freud’s early formulations of the Oedipus complex were comparatively simple; he would considerablycomplicate them over the years. While the idea of the complex was soon strongly contested, his predilectionfor it steadily increased: he viewed it as an explanation of how neuroses originate, as a turning point in thedevelopmental history of the child, as a marker differentiating male and female sexual maturation, even, inTotem and Taboo, as the deep motive for the founding of civilization and the creation of conscience. But inThe Interpretation of Dreams, though the wider implications are not far to seek, the oedipal struggle has amore modest part to play. By accounting for those murderous dreams about the death of spouses or parents,it provides evidence for the theory that dreams represent wishes as fulfilled. Beyond that, it helps to explainwhy dreams are such odd productions; humans, all humans, harbor wishes they cannot allow to see the lightof day in their uncensored form.“Who Knew the Riddle?” Goodman Theatre’s OnStage magazine, April – June 2007In 1906, on the occasion of his 50th birthday, Sigmund Freud’s colleagues in the infant field ofpsychoanalysis gathered to celebrate their leader. They presented Freud with a medallion, one side of whichshowed his portrait in profile. The other side showed Oedipus confronting the Sphinx, answering the riddlethat would save Thebes. The medallion was inscribed with a quotation from Sophocles’ play: “Who knew thefamous riddle and was a man most mighty.” Freud instantly grew pale and agitated, as if he had seen aghost—which, in a sense, he had. Later, Freud explained what happened. As a young student at theUniversity of Vienna, he had often noted the ranks of busts depicting the great professors of the past. It hadbeen his fantasy at the time to imagine that one day he too would be honored as a famous teacher and havea bust of his own, and the inscription he had selected was the very one engraved on the medallion.With the publication of The Interpretation of Dreams in 1900, Sigmund Freud announced the discipline ofpsychoanalysis to the world and established himself as the genius of the unconscious. The book introducedthe concepts of the Ego and the unconscious, explored how analysis of dreams could lead into the26


unconscious and argued that myths and other manifestations of culture were analogous to dreams. Within10 years, psychoanalysis would be an international phenomenon. At the heart of his book, Freud wrote:In my experience, which is already very extensive, parents play the main parts in the inner life of allchildren who later become psychoneurotics. Being in love with one parent and hating the otherbelong to the indispensable stock of psychical impulses being formed at that time which are soimportant for later neurosis.To illustrate this mildly stated but sensational claim, Freud turned to an ancient myth, the legend of Oedipus,who was fated to slay his father and sleep with his mother. Freud claimed that Sophocles’ tragedy aboutOedipus still moved audiences so powerfully 24 centuries after its first performance not because of its tragicbattle between human will and divinely ordained fate, but because “His fate…could have been our own aswell, because at our birth the oracle pronounced the same curse on us as it did on him.” The OedipalConflict became a central tenet of Freud’s work. Sophocles’ Oedipus also served Freud as a model for thepsychoanalytic process itself: just as Oedipus relentlessly burrows deeper into his past in order to understandthe disorder in the world of Thebes, so too must the psychoanalytic patient delve into the hidden realms ofthe psyche. Freud could see Oedipus as much more than a pitiful, taboo-breaking wretch; he also saw himas a hero, one who could save a people by solving the darkest of riddles.ACTIVITYConflicting InterestsIn Oedipus Complex, Frank Galati has melded an already existing play – a work of fiction – withpieces of non-fiction and personal correspondence. Ask students to consider this. Are there anyproblems or challenges inherent in mixing genre like this? Would it be easier to use two works offiction to create a piece like this? Why or why not?Have students explore this question by trying a little text adaptation themselves. Have themwork with two short (very short) pieces of fiction, in effect splicing them together to form onecoherent piece. Now, have them try the same activity using one fiction and one non-fiction piece.Ask students to share the piece they like better with the class. Again, the pieces should be shortenough that you can read your completed merger in under three minutes. Have students discusstheir findings – which merger was easier to accomplish? What do they think contributed to that?The content of the pieces or their genre? How has this experiment informed their understanding ofOedipus Complex?27


FREUD & FLIESSAlong with his landmark The Interpretation of Dreams, Freud’s letters to Wilhelm Fliess, one of hisgreatest friends and confidants, serve as a source text for Oedipus Complex. What follows is a brieflook at the relationship the two shared beginning in 1887 and ending not long after Dreams waspublished in 1900. A small selection of some of the letters sent to Fliess by Freud is also includedin the Additional Resources section of this guide.edited from Freud: a life for our times by Peter Gay: Anchor Books, 1988Fliess, an ear, nose, and throat specialist from Berlin, had come to Vienna in the fall of 1887 for furtherstudy. … [H]e had attended some of Freud’s lectures on neurology, and late in November, after he returnedhome, he received a heartfelt overture from Freud. “While my letter of today has a business motive,” Freudwrote, “I must introduce it with the confession that I entertain the hope of continuing the relationship withyou, and that you have left a deep impression on me.” This was at once more formal and more emotionalthan Freud’s usual style, but then his friendship with Fliess would be unique in his experience.In developing the theory of psychoanalysis, Freud was to have more enemies, and fewer friends, than hewanted. Failure was probable; hostility and ridicule were virtually certain. Fliess was precisely the intimatehe needed: audience, confidant, stimulus, cheerleader, fellow speculator shocked at nothing. “You are theonly Other,” Freud would tell him in May 1894, “the alter.” In the fall of 1893, Freud had admitted toFliess, voicing an insight he would refuse to follow up for another seven or eight years, “You really spoil mycritical faculties.” Such utter credulity in a man like Freud, proud of being a hardheaded man of science,calls out for interpretation.That credulity seems all the more striking because Fliess is now regarded as a crank and pathologicalnumerologist. But the decline in his reputation came later. His pet theories in fact sound bizarre in theextreme: Fliess singled out the nose as the dominant organ, which spreads its influence over all of humanhealth and sickness. He was, moreover, enslaved to a scheme of biorhythmic cycles of 23 and 28 days, towhich males and females were seen to be subject and which, he believed, would permit the physician todiagnose all sorts of conditions and ailments. Yet around the turn of the century, these ideas, now almostwholly discredited, found a sympathetic hearing and even a measure of support from respectable researchersin several countries. His credentials were after all impeccable. Fliess was a reputable specialist with a solidpractice extending far beyond his home base in Berlin. Besides, the ideas Freud was playing with appearedat the outset no less outlandish than Fliess’s notions. …Fliess displayed a firm grasp of Freud’s theorizing and supplied him with ideas as much as with support. Hewas a diligent and perceptive reader of Freud’s manuscripts. He gave Freud an understanding of theessential unity of all human culture and the evidentiary value of all human manifestations: “You have taughtme,” Freud told him gratefully in June 1896, “that a bit of truth lurks behind every popular lunacy.” Hehelped Freud to focus his attention on jokes as useful material for psychoanalytic scrutiny. … Fliessspeculated about infantile sexuality in his published writings of the mid-1890s, years before Freud waswilling to make so scandalous an idea consistently his own. While Freud seems to have been the first toinsist that some sexual malaise lies at the heart of all neuroses, Fliess in turn sponsored the idea of humanbisexuality and watched Freud elaborate it into a cardinal principle. …What should have given Freud pause, even before later researches made nonsense of Fliess’s obsessions,was Fliess’s dogmatism, his inability to recognize the wealth and the baffling complexity of causes rulinghuman affairs. But as long as Fliess’s praise was “nectar and ambrosia” to him, Freud was not about toraise, or even think of, inconvenient doubts. …There was much that bound Freud to Fliess beyond professional self-interest. The two were simultaneouslyinsiders and outsiders: highly trained professional physicians working at, or beyond, the frontiers of28


acceptable medical inquiry. What is more, they were Jews confronting almost identical problems andprospects in their society, propelled into intimacy with the ease of brothers in a persecuted tribe. …It may be stretching the term beyond its legitimate province, but in important ways, Freud imposed on Fliessa role akin to that of psychoanalyst. Freud’s prolonged failure, his virtual refusal, to appraise his intimatefriend realistically hints that he was caught in a severe transference relationship: Freud idealized Fliessbeyond measure and endowed him with the most admirable qualities of Brücke or Charcot. Freud evenwanted to name a son after Fliess, only to be frustrated, in 1893 and 1895, by the birth of daughters,Sophie and Anna. He poured out his innermost secrets to his Other in Berlin on paper and, during theircarefully prearranged, eagerly anticipated “congresses,” in person. Beginning in late 1893, he confided toFliess that he was suffering from chest pains and arrhythmia, a troubling and worrisome heart condition thatFliess attributed to Freud’s smoking habit. Fliess was the only one to know: in April 1894, reverting to thatdisagreeable topic, Freud warned him that his wife was “not a confidante of my death deliria.” The previoussummer, he has disclosed to Fliess that Martha Freud was enjoying a feeling of “revival,” since “for thepresent, for a year, she does not have to expect a child.” He spelled it out explicitly: “We are now living inabstinence.” This is the sort of thing a decent bourgeois would confess only to his analyst. Fliess was theman Freud could tell everything. And he did tell Fliess everything, more than he told anyone else about hiswife or his wife about himself. …[When their relationship ended] Freud did not simply discard Fliess because he no longer needed him. Asthe true contours of Fliess’s mind, his underlying mysticism and his obsessive commitment to numerology,dawned on Freud at last, and as Freud came to recognize Fliess’s passionately held convictions to behopelessly incompatible with his own, the friendship was doomed. In early August 1900, Freud met Fliessat the Achensee, near Innsbruck, an idyllic spot calculated to refresh and relax the summer tourist. But thetwo men quarreled violently. Each attacked the other at his most sensitive, most fiercely defended spot: thevalue, the very validity, of his work. It was their last “congress,” the last time they saw one another. Theycontinued to correspond for a while, ever more sparsely. Writing to Fliess in the summer of 1901, Freudonce more gratefully recited his debts to him, but bluntly told him that they had drawn apart and that inpersonal as in professional matters “you have reached the limits of your perspicacity.” Fliess had played adistinguished role in the prehistory of psychoanalysis, but as the history of psychoanalysis unfolded after1900, his share in it was negligible.ACTIVITYDramatic CorrespondenceWhen Freud wrote his many letters to Wilhelm Fleiss, it’s probably fair to assume that he neverdreamed they would be published, let alone become part of a play. Have students gather pieces ofpersonal correspondence between themselves and their friends – it can be notes, e-mails, letters,instant messenger conversations, etc. Have them look at these pieces of text as a playwright might– which ones are the most dramatic? Which ones seem to reveal something about the student as aperson?Create a series of short plays by asking students to create scenes and monologues based on thesepieces. They can either use the exact text they have, or adapt it to be more appropriate for a sceneor monologue. Have students work in groups to perform the plays for each other.29


EXPLORING THE CONTEXT31


FOCUS ON GREEK THEATERThe foundation of theater as a modern Western audience understands it can be traced back to traditionsbegun almost three millennia ago in ancient Greece. The following pages seek to give a basic understandingof the evolution of Greek Theater and its traditions. Key words, as determined by the original publisher, andin bold typeface for easy identification.“Classical Athens” edited from The Wadsworth Anthology of Drama, fourth edition, edited by W.B Worthen, 2004Great drama arises where the theater occupies an important place in the life of the community. In manyrespects, Western understanding of drama originated in fifth-century (500 - 400) BCE classical Athens,where the theater played a central role in politics, religion, and society. The Athenians invented forms oftragedy and comedy that persist to the present day. In tragedy, the Greeks dramatized climactic events in thelives of legendary heroes from prehistory and myth, bringing ethical problems of motive and action to thestage. In comedy, the theater staged satiric portraits of the life of the polis (the city-state), vividly depictingthe energetic conflicts of contemporary Athens in matters of politics, war, education - even the arts of drama.Playwrights through the long history of the theater have continued to find in Greek drama both a model and apoint of resistance against which to practice their own craft… And we need only recall Sigmund Freud’sunderstanding of the “Oedipus complex” to sense the influence of models of action derived from the Greektheater on later Western culture.Athens and Sparta were dominant rival powers in fifth-century Greece, which comprised many smallindependent city-states, each with its own political and cultural institutions, form of government, andalliances. Dramatic performances took place under a variety of circumstances in all Greek cities, but dramaas we know it developed n Athens. Dramatic performance in Athens as part of citywide religious festivalshonored the god Dionysus, the most important being the City Dionysia. Plays were produced for contests inwhich playwrights, actors, and choruses competed for prizes and for distinction among their fellow citizens.These contests, held in an outdoor amphitheater adjoining the sacred temple of the god, followed severaldays of religious parades and sacrifices. This connection between early drama and religion suggests that theessential nature of Greek drama lies in its supposed “origins” in religious ritual. But the City Dionysia wasalso a massive civic spectacle that went far beyond religious worship, emphasizing the theater’s implicationin other areas of public life. Dramatic performance contributed to this celebration of Athens’ economicpower, cultural accomplishment, and military might. The City Dionysia united religion and politics, enablingAthenians to celebrate both Dionysus and the achievements of their polls.The City Dionysia was the most prominent of four religious festivals held in Athens and the surroundingprovince of Attica between December and April. ... Although its purpose was primarily a religious one, theCity Dionysia was structured around a series of contests between individual citizens and between majorAthenian social groups - the ten (later twelve to fifteen) “tribes” that formed the city’s basic political andmilitary units. Dramatic performance was introduced at the City Dionysia during the sixth century BCE andbecame the centerpiece of the elaborate festival. Each year a city magistrate, or archon, honored selectedwealthy citizens by choosing them to finance one of the three principal tragic dramatists competing for aprize at the festival. Each sponsor, called a choregos, was responsible for hiring the chorus of young menwho sang and danced in the plays. The choregos hired musicians and provided costumes and other supportfor the playwright to whom he was assigned. Later in the period; the state assigned the leading actor to thechoregos as well, and this actor also competed for a prize. The playwright was responsible for training thechorus and the actors, and for some of the acting himself, and he shared his prize with the choregos. Servingas a choregos was both a civic duty and an important honor, equivalent to other tasks imposed on thewealthy - maintaining a battleship for a year or training athletes for the Olympic games.Taking place over several days, the City Dionysia opened with a display of actors and choruses to the city; onthe next day there was a lavish parade of religious officials through the city followed by religious observancesand sacrifices held in the theater. Athens also received its annual tribute of goods, money, and slaves from32


subject and allied states at this time, and war orphans raised at state expense were displayed to theaudience. After this display of religious worship and civic pride, two days were devoted to contests ofdithyrambs, hymns sung and danced by a large chorus. Each of Athens’ tribes sponsored two choruses: oneconsisting of fifty men, another consisting of fifty boys. The city’s politics revolved around the tribes, and theircontribution to the festival was prominent in this contest. The dithyrambic contest involved a thousandAthenian citizens directly in the performance, a significant portion of the adult male citizens. (It is estimatedthat Athens in the fifth century had a total population of about 300,000: 100,000 slaves, 30,000noncitizen foreigners, and 30,000 to 40,000 adult male citizens; women and children were not citizens.)Following the dithyrambs, the main dramatic contest began. The competing playwrights each produced atrilogy of tragedies, staged over three days. A trilogy could take a single theme or series of events as itssubject (like the three plays of Aeschylus’ Oresteia, 458 BCE), or present three distinct, unrelated dramas. Arugged farce called a satryr play followed the performance of each complete trilogy and was considered partof it; these plays parodied a god’s activities, with actors dressed as satyrs - half-man, half-goat. After 486BCE, comedies were also awarded prizes, but it is unclear whether the comedies were performed on a singleday or spread over several days. Prominent citizens representing each of the tribes served as judges andawarded prizes to the playwrights, their choregos, and the actors.THE THEATER OF DIONYSUSThe Greek theater was a public spectacle, a kind of combination of Inauguration Day, the Super Bowl, theAcademy Awards, Memorial Day, and a major religious holiday. Plays were first produced in the agora(marketplace), which often served as a performance place for festivals in Athens and in the surroundingdemes of Attica, which also staged dramatic performances. However, the size and importance of the CityDionysia required a separate site, and a theater was built on the slope of the Acropolis, near the precinct ofDionysus. The original theater, a ring of wooden seats facing a circular floor, was later refined, enlarged, andconstructed of stone. By the time of Aeschylus, Euripides, Sophocles, and Aristophanes, the Athenian theaterhad achieved its basic design: a circular floor for dancing and acting, ringed by hillside amphitheater andbacked by a low, rectangular building.The focus of the classical amphitheater, which seated about 14,000 people, was the round orchestra(“dancing place”) containing the central altar of Dionysus, at which the festival sacrifices were performed.The dithyrambic choruses performed their ecstatic dances in the orchestra, and most of the action of theplays took place there as well. Facing the orchestra, the hillside was divided into wedge-shaped seatingareas. The citizens sat on wooden benches with their tribes: leaders and priests in the front of the sections,women perhaps toward the rear or possibly in a separate section. Metics (resident aliens) and visitors wereprobably seated in a separate area. Special front and center seats, called prohedria, were reserved for thejudges and the priests of Dionysus.Behind the orchestra, a low building called the skene faced the audience. Although the skene became apermanent stone structure in the fourth century BCE, in the fifth century it was a temporary wooden building,used for changing masks and possibly also for changing costumes. Playwrights quickly found the theatricalpotential latent in the skene’s facade and set of doors; through these doors the audience heard Agamemnonbeing murdered in his bath, or saw eyeless Oedipus return to confront the Chorus and his future in exile. InAeschylus’ Agamemmnon, the Watchman awaits the signal fires on the palace roof, and in performance hemay have waited on the roof of the skene. The theater also used some machinery for scenic effects: a rollingplatform (the ekkyklema) used to bring objects or bodies from the skene into the orchestra; a crane(machina) to raise or lower characters - the gods, for instance - from the orchestra over the roof of the skene;later, in the fourth century painted panels were used to indicate the play’s setting or location. …DRAMA AND PERFORMANCEIn his Poetics, Aristotle suggests that drama originated in the singing of the dithyrambic choruses; a maskedactor was first used to respond to the chorus as an individualized “character” in the mid-sixth century BCE,an innovation attributed to the playwright Thespis, about whom little else is known. Aeschylus was the firstto use two actors, probably taking one of the parts himself; in the 460s, Sophocles introduced a third actor33


and was successfully imitated by Aeschylus in his Oresteia in 458 BCE. In general, classical tragedy can beperformed with three actors and comedy with four, although each actor may play several parts. All of theperformers in the Greek theater - the dramatists, actors, musicians, and chorus members - were malecitizens of Athens, as was most of the audience. The dramatic choruses were perhaps composed of youngmen between the ages of seventeen, when military training began, and twenty-one, when Athenian menentered into adulthood.The chorus of tragedy both sang and danced, and it was expected to perform with grace and precision.Actors and choruses wore full-head masks made of painted linen or lightweight wood. The main characters’masks were individualized, but the members of the chorus all wore identical masks, giving a special force tothe conflict between the unique claims of the protagonist and the more diffuse claims of his society.Costuming in comedy was somewhat more complex. Aristophanes’ plays suggest that the chorus at timeswore animal masks. The comic protagonists’ masks, though, were again individualized; since Aristophanesoften put his contemporaries in his plays - Socrates in Clouds, for instance, or Euripides in Frogs - the masksprobably resembled these citizens quite closely. Comic actors often sported a leather phallus, clearly visiblein statues depicting comic actors and of much dramatic use in plays like Lysistrata.In reading Greek drama, we should remember that its leading parts - both the leading character and thechorus - were designed for competition, as instruments for the actor and chorus to win prizes. The literarybrilliance of the plays is, in this sense, a means to enable a particular virtuosity in performance. …FORMS OF GREEK DRAMAFormally, the organization of Greek tragedy is somewhat different from that of modern plays, because Greekdrama is based on the singing and dancing of the chorus, for whom many of the plays were named. Mostplays begin with a prologue, such as the Watchman’s speech at the opening of Agamemnon, followed by theparodos (entrance) of the singing and dancing chorus. Several episodes follow, in which the centralcharacters engage one another and the chorus; the chorus itself often sings (and dances) several odes, whichare used to enunciate and enlarge on the play’s pivotal issues, and the chorus often becomes a decisivecharacter in the play, as it does in Aeschylus’ Agamemnon or Euripides’ The Bacchae. The choral odes arewritten in lyric meters different from the meters used for the characters’ speeches. The play’s catastrophe,literally its “down turn.’ marks some change in the hero’s status and is followed by the departure of thecharacters from the stage and the exodos, or final song, dance, and departure of the chorus. …This formal description, however, hardly accounts for the real and continued power of Greek drama, whicharises from an intense and economical relationship between (1) a situation, usually at the point of climax asthe play opens, (2) a complex of characters, each with distinctive goals and motives, (3) a chorus used bothas a character and as a commentator on the action, and (4) a series of incidents that precipitates a crisis andbrings the meaning of the protagonist’s actions into focus. Aristotle called this crisis the peripeteia or“reversal,” in the external situation or fortunes of the main character, and he argued that it should beaccompanied by an act of anagnorisis, or “recognition,” in which the character responds to this change.Indeed, Aristotle argued that when the pressure of the tragic action produces a dose relationship betweenreversal and recognition, it instills in the audience intense feelings of fear and pity and then effects catharsisa purgation of these emotions.Because the plays were written for a contest, it is not surprising that their language and construction provideopportunity for powerful acting, particularly since the plays were judged only in performance. Yet the stageaction of Greek drama is hardly spectacular in the modern sense. Although the visual dimension ofAgamemnon’s descent from the chariot onto the blood-red tapestry or Medea’s appearance in the dragondrawnchariot, or even the aching gait of the men in Lysistrata is critical to any understanding of these plays,scenes of murder suicide or battle usually take place offstage to be vividly reported by messengers - as in thereports of Jocasta’s death and Oedipus’ blinding, or of the death of Jason’s young bride in Medea.Cassandra’s graphic prophecy of Agamemnon’s murder likewise provides a brutal counterpoint to theslaughter taking place offstage.34


The scenic simplicity of the Greek theater enabled playwrights to achieve a special kind of concentration, onethat capitalized on the special circumstances of the open-air, festival theater. …Clearly, of course, much has changed in the last 2,500 years and performing classical drama poses a seriesof challenges to modern performers. First, the chorus - both its singing and dancing performance style and itsfunction in the drama – has posed a critical problem for modern companies and audiences: German directorMax Reinhardt staged a production of The Oresteia iii 1919 that was among the first of his productions toexperiment with large crowds onstage; later productions have tended to make the chorus smaller and moreenergetic In an attempt to recapture the exciting movement of the classical chorus. Beyond that, the use ofmasks in classical theater is no longer conventional on the modern stage, although many modern playwrights- Eugene O’Neill, for example, in Strange Interlude (1928) - have experimented with masks in an attempt torender psychological complexity with what they take to be “classical” decorum, The 1981 National Theatre(London) production of The Oresteia, directed by Sir Peter Hall, used an entirely male cast and performed theplay in masks; this production was the first English-language production of a Greek tragedy to be performedin the classical theater at Epidaurus. Although this effort to “recover” the initial circumstances and flavor ofGreek performance has driven many performances, Greek drama has also provided the framework for anumber of important avant-garde theatrical experiments in the modern era, Of course, Racine’s adaptation ofEuripides in Phaedra might be considered an “updating” of this kind, but in the modern era, stage practiceshave often been used not so much to recover the classical past as to restage the plays in a modern idiom.Josef Svoboda’s brilliant 1963 production of Oedipus the King in Prague for example, took place on a thirtyfoot-widestaircase that rose from the bottom of the orchestra pit to beyond the top of the proscenium. TheFrench director Ariane Mnouchkine staged a production of Euripides’ Iphigenia at Au/is as an introduction toher staging of The Oresteia in 1990 (under the overall title Les Abides); this brilliant production usedmakeup, costume, movement, and dance idioms from classical Indian and Indonesian theater, implying thata contemporary staging of the Greek classics might well turn to another tradition of “classical” performanceto find a still-living stage language. Both for directors - Peter Sellars’ 1993 staging of Aeschylus’ The Persiansframed the play with allusions to the Gulf War - and for writers, such as Heiner Muller (Medeamateriai),Charles Mee, Jr. (Orestes), Caryl Churchill (A Mouthful of Birds based on Euripides’ The Bacchae, andwritten with David Lan),Timberlake Wertenbaker (who has translated several Greek plays), Wole Soyinka(The Bacchae of Euripides), and others, the theater and drama of classical Athens continue to provide a wayto see and understand ourselves.ACTIVITYOedipus BreakdownAlthough Oedipus Complex is a modern adaptation using several source texts, its structure remains remarkablytrue to that of traditional Greek drama. Ask students to determine if and when the following occur in the script –be sure they are very specific in their choice of moment - the prologue, parodos, each episode, any odes, thecatastrophe, and exodus as well as the Aristotelian peripeteia and anagnorisis. You will likely want to begin withdefining each term. Discuss the moments chosen by each student as a class – does everyone agree if and whereeach structural element is found?While at the Student Matinee for Oedipus Complex, have students watch for each of these components. Is there adifference in where you feel each element appears in performance rather than on paper? Discuss your findings asa class.ACTIVITYParty On – Research ProjectHave students research the City Dionysia in its modern incarnation. In what ways has the festival – which stilltakes place each year – changed in over 2,000 years? How has it, shockingly, remained the same? Ask differentstudents or groups to research different aspects of the festival and report back on their finding to the class.35


FOCUS ON FREUDThere is no question that Greek theatre, which provided one of the source texts for Oedipus Complex, haspositively influenced the culture we experience today. The creator of the other of Galati’s source texts is thesource of a great deal more controversy. In the following pages, we explore the life, work, and legacy of thefather of modern psychology.When Time magazine set out to profile the 100 most influential people of the 20 th Century, Sigmund Freudmust have been a given. The publication says that their goal was to profile “those individuals who – forbetter or worse – most influenced the last 100 years.” Peter Gay is author of 22 books, among them Freud:A Life for our Times, arguably one of the most comprehensive biographies of the father of modernpsychology.”Psychoanalyst: Sigmund Freud” by Peter Gay: Time, March 28, 1999There are no neutrals in the Freud wars. Admiration, even downright adulation, on one side; skepticism, evendownright disdain, on the other. This is not hyperbole. A psychoanalyst who is currently trying to enshrineFreud in the pantheon of cultural heroes must contend with a relentless critic who devotes his days toexposing Freud as a charlatan. But on one thing the contending parties agree: for good or ill, Sigmund Freud,more than any other explorer of the psyche, has shaped the mind of the 20th century. The very fiercenessand persistence of his detractors are a wry tribute to the staying power of Freud's ideas.There is nothing new about such embittered confrontations; they have dogged Freud's footsteps since hedeveloped the cluster of theories he would give the name of psychoanalysis. His fundamental idea--that allhumans are endowed with an unconscious in which potent sexual and aggressive drives, and defensesagainst them, struggle for supremacy, as it were, behind a person's back--has struck many as a romantic,scientifically unprovable notion. His contention that the catalog of neurotic ailments to which humans aresusceptible is nearly always the work of sexual maladjustments, and that erotic desire starts not in pubertybut in infancy, seemed to the respectable nothing less than obscene. His dramatic evocation of a universalOedipus complex, in which (to put a complicated issue too simply) the little boy loves his mother and hateshis father, seems more like a literary conceit than a thesis worthy of a scientifically minded psychologist.Freud first used the term psychoanalysis in 1896, when he was already 40. He had been driven by ambitionfrom his earliest days and encouraged by his doting parents to think highly of himself. Born in 1856 to animpecunious Jewish family in the Moravian hamlet of Freiberg (now Pribor in the Czech Republic), he movedwith the rest of a rapidly increasing brood to Vienna. He was his mother's firstborn, her "golden Siggie." Inrecognition of his brilliance, his parents privileged him over his siblings by giving him a room to himself, tostudy in peace. He did not disappoint them. After an impressive career in school, he matriculated in 1873 inthe University of Vienna and drifted from one philosophical subject to another until he hit on medicine. Hischoice was less that of a dedicated healer than of an inquisitive explorer determined to solve some of nature'sriddles.As he pursued his medical researches, he came to the conclusion that the most intriguing mysteries layconcealed in the complex operations of the mind. By the early 1890s, he was specializing in "neurasthenics"(mainly severe hysterics); they taught him much, including the art of patient listening. At the same time hewas beginning to write down his dreams, increasingly convinced that they might offer clues to the workingsof the unconscious, a notion he borrowed from the Romantics. He saw himself as a scientist taking materialboth from his patients and from himself, through introspection. By the mid-1890s, he was launched on afull-blown self-analysis, an enterprise for which he had no guidelines and no predecessors.The book that made his reputation in the profession--although it sold poorly--was The Interpretation ofDreams (1900), an indefinable masterpiece--part dream analysis, part autobiography, part theory of themind, part history of contemporary Vienna. The principle that underlay this work was that mental36


experiences and entities, like physical ones, are part of nature. This meant that Freud could admit no mereaccidents in mental procedures. The most nonsensical notion, the most casual slip of the tongue, the mostfantastic dream, must have a meaning and can be used to unriddle the often incomprehensible maneuverswe call thinking.Although the second pillar of Freud's psychoanalyticstructure, Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality(1905), further alienated him from the mainstream ofcontemporary psychiatry, he soon found loyalrecruits. They met weekly to hash out interestingcase histories, converting themselves into the ViennaPsychoanalytic Society in 1908. Working on thefrontiers of mental science, these often eccentricpioneers had their quarrels. The two best known"defectors" were Alfred Adler and Carl Jung. Adler, aViennese physician and socialist, developed his ownpsychology, which stressed the aggression withwhich those people lacking in some quality theydesire--say, manliness--express their discontent byacting out. "Inferiority complex," a much abusedterm, is Adlerian. Freud did not regret losing Adler,but Jung was something else. Freud was aware thatmost of his acolytes were Jews, and he did not wantto turn psychoanalysis into a "Jewish science." Jung,a Swiss from a pious Protestant background, struckFreud as his logical successor, his "crown prince."The two men were close for several years, but Jung'sambition, and his growing commitment to religionand mysticism--most unwelcome to Freud, anaggressive atheist--finally drove them apart.Freud was intent not merely on originating asweeping theory of mental functioning andmalfunctioning. He also wanted to develop the rulesof psychoanalytic therapy and expand his picture ofhuman nature to encompass not just the couch butthe whole culture. As to the first, he created thelargely silent listener who encourages the analysandto say whatever comes to mind, no matter howfoolish, repetitive or outrageous, and who intervenesoccasionally to interpret what the patient on thecouch is struggling to say. While some adventurousearly psychoanalysts thought they could quantify justwhat proportion of their analysands went away cured,improved or untouched by analytic therapy, suchconfident enumerations have more recently shownthemselves untenable. The efficacy of analysisremains a matter of controversy, though thepossibility of mixing psychoanalysis and drug therapyis gaining support.TODAY WE ALL SPEAK FREUDHis ideas--or ideas that can be traced, sometimescircuitously, back to him--have permeated the languagePENIS ENVY Freud's famous theory--not favored byfeminists--that women wish they had what men areborn withFREUDIAN SLIP A seemingly meaningless slip of thetongue that is really e-mail direct from the unconsciousUNCONSCIOUS Repressed feelings, desires, ideas andmemories that are hidden from the conscious mindREPRESSION Involuntary blocking of an unsettlingfeeling or memory from conscious thoughtOEDIPUS COMPLEX In classic Freudian theory,children in their phallic phase (ages three to six) forman erotic attachment to the parent of the opposite sex,and a concomitant hatred (occasionally murderous) ofthe parent of the same sexCASTRATION ANXIETY A boy's unconscious fear oflosing his penis, and his fantasy that girls have alreadylost theirsSUBLIMATION Unconscious shifting of anunacceptable drive (lust for your sister, say) intoculturally acceptable behavior (lust for your friend'ssister)TRANSFERENCE Unconscious shifting of feelings aboutone person (e.g., a parent) to another (e.g., youranalyst)ID The part of the mind from which primal needs anddrives (e.g., lust, rage) emergeSUPEREGO The part of the mind where your parents'and society's rules reside; the original guilt tripEGO The mind's mechanism for keeping in touch withreality, it referees the wrestling match between id andsuperegoPHALLIC SYMBOLS Almost anything can look like apenis, but sometimes, as Freud is supposed to haveremarked, "a cigar is just a cigar"37


Freud's ventures into culture--history, anthropology, literature, art, sociology, the study of religion--haveproved little less controversial, though they retain their fascination and plausibility and continue to enjoy awidespread reputation. As a loyal follower of 19th century positivists, Freud drew a sharp distinction betweenreligious faith (which is not checkable or correctable) and scientific inquiry (which is both). For himself, thismeant the denial of truth-value to any religion whatever, including Judaism. As for politics, he left little doubtand said so plainly in his late--and still best known--essay, Civilization and Its Discontents (1930), notingthat the human animal, with its insatiable needs, must always remain an enemy to organized society, whichexists largely to tamp down sexual and aggressive desires. At best, civilized living is a compromise betweenwishes and repression--not a comfortable doctrine. It ensures that Freud, taken straight, will never becometruly popular, even if today we all speak Freud.In mid-March 1938, when Freud was 81, the Nazis took over Austria, and after some reluctance, heimmigrated to England with his wife and his favorite daughter and colleague Anna "to die in freedom." He gothis wish, dying not long after the Nazis unleashed World War II by invading Poland. Listening to an idealisticbroadcaster proclaiming this to be the last war, Freud, his stoical humor intact, commented wryly, "My lastwar."ACTIVITYCareful, You’ll SlipEveryone makes what we call a Freudian slip now and again, that seemingly meaningless misuse of a wordor substitution of one word for another. And who could be more victimized by this kind of verbal misstepsthan teenagers? Explore the idea of the Freudian slip with your students and ask them to take a day or evena week to be mindful of when their minds are trying to tell them something. Every time they say somethingother than what they mean, have them write it down. At either the next class period or after a week, seewhat students present as their personal misspeaks. What do they think their subconscious minds were tryingto tell them? Did they get the message? Have they become more aware of what they’re saying, and if so,has that cut down on the number of slips?TALK ABOUT ITSex and ViolenceFreud theorized that all humans are primarilymotivated by either sex or violence. The image at theright is a satirical representation of ½ of that theory.Have students discuss that idea – are human reallyonly motivated by those two primal drives? Why orwhy not? If not, what else motivates human action?38


REFUTING DR. FREUDNot everyone is enamored of Sigmund Freud, his theorizing, or his methodologies. In 1993, Timemagazine published a cover story that became somewhat controversial in the psychologicalcommunity asking the simple question, “Is Freud Dead?”“The Assault on Freud” by Paul Gray: Time, November 29, 1993Many are the ways of coping with the world's vicissitudes. Somepeople fear and propitiate evil spirits. Others order theirschedules according to the display of the planets across thezodiac. There are those who assume that they carry, somewhereinside of them, a thing called the unconscious. It is mostlyinvisible, although it can furtively be glimpsed in dreams andheard in slips of the tongue. But the unconscious is not apassive stowaway on the voyage of life; it has the power tomake its hosts feel very sad or behave in strange, selfdestructiveways. When that happens, one recourse is to go tothe office of a specially trained healer, lie down on a couch andstart talking.The first two beliefs can, except by those who hold them, easilybe dismissed as superstitions. The third -- a tenet of the classictheory of psychoanalysis devised by Sigmund Freud -- hasbecome this troubled century's dominant model for thinking andtalking about human behavior. To a remarkable degree, Freud'sideas, conjectures, pronouncements have seeped well beyondthe circle of his professional followers into the public mind anddiscourse. People who have never read a word of his work (avoluminous 24 volumes in the standard English translation)nonetheless "know" of things that can be traced, sometimescircuitously, back to Freud: penis envy; castration anxiety;phallic symbols; the ego, id and superego; repressed memories; Oedipal itches; sexual sublimation. This richpanoply of metaphors for the mental life has become, across wide swaths of the globe, something very close tocommon knowledge.But what if Freud was wrong?This question has been around ever since the publication of Freud's first overtly psychoanalytical papers in the late1890s. Today it is being asked with unprecedented urgency, thanks to a coincidence of developments that raisedoubts not only about Freud's methods, discoveries and proofs and the vast array of therapies derived from them,but also about the lasting importance of Freud's descriptions of the mind. The collapse of Marxism, the othergrand unified theory that shaped and rattled the 20th century, is unleashing monsters. What inner horrors or freshdreams might arise should the complex Freudian monument topple as well?That may not happen, and it assuredly will not happen all at once. But new forces are undermining the Freudianfoundations. Among them:-- The problematical proliferation, particularly in the U.S., of accusations of sexual abuse, satanic rituals, infanthuman sacrifices and the like from people, many of them guided by therapists, who suddenly remember what theyallegedly years or decades ago repressed. Although Freud almost certainly would have regarded most of thesecharges with withering skepticism, his theory of repression and the unconscious is being used -- most Freudianswould say misused -- to assert their authenticity.39


-- The continuing success of drugs in the treatment or alleviation of mental disorders ranging from depression toschizophrenia. Roughly 10 million Americans are taking such medications. To his credit, Freud foresaw thisdevelopment. In 1938, a year before his death, he wrote, "The future may teach us to exercise a direct influence,by means of particular chemical substances." Still, the recognition that some neuroses and psychoses respondfavorably to drugs chips away at the domain originally claimed for psychoanalytic treatment.-- The Clinton health-care reform proposals, oddly enough, which are prompting cost-benefit analyses across thewhole spectrum of U.S. medicine, including treatments for mental illness. Whatever package finally winds its waythrough Congress, many experts concede that insurance will not be provided for Freud's talking cure. (A 50-min.hour of psychoanalysis costs an average of $125.) Says Dr. Frederick K. Goodwin, director of the NationalInstitute of Mental Health: "It's clear that classical psychoanalysis, which is four to five times a week for a four- tofive-year duration, will not be covered. It won't be covered because there is no real evidence that it works."Goodwin, for the record, professes himself an admirer of Freud the theoretician.-- A spate of new books attacking Freud and his brainchild psychoanalysis for a generous array of errors,duplicities, fudged evidence and scientific howlers.This last phenomenon is an intensification of an ongoing story. While Freud was winning cadres of acolytes andlegions of notional recruits, he and his ideas regularly attracted sharp attacks, often from influential quarters. Asearly as 1909, philosopher William James observed in a letter that Freud "made on me personally the impressionof a man obsessed with fixed ideas." Vladimir Nabokov, whose novels trace the untrammeled and unpredictableplay of individual imaginations, regularly tossed barbs at "the witch doctor Freud" and "the Viennese quack." Forsimilar reasons, Ludwig Wittgenstein objected to the pigeonholing effects of psychoanalytic categories, eventhough he paid Freud a backhanded compliment in the process: "Freud's fanciful pseudo explanations (preciselybecause they are so brilliant) perform a disservice. Now any ass has these pictures to use in 'explaining' symptomsof illness."The steady rain of anti-Freud arguments did little to discourage the parade of his theories or to dampen the zeal ofhis followers. In fact, Freud erected an apparently invulnerable umbrella against criticisms of psychoanalyticalprinciples. He characterized such disagreements, from patients or anyone else, as "resistance" and then assertedthat instances of such resistance amounted to "actual evidence in favor of the correctness" of his assertions. For along time, this psychoanalytic Catch-22 worked wonders: those who opposed the methods put forth to heal themand others could be banished, perhaps with a friendly handshake and a knowing smile, as nuts.That illogical defense has largely crumbled. The recent discovery of documents relating to Freud and his circle,plus the measured release of others by the Freud estate, has provided a steadily expanding body of evidence aboutthe man and his works. Some of the initial reassessments are unsettling.For one example, the 10-year collaboration between Freud and Carl Gustav Jung broke off abruptly in 1914, withprofound consequences for the discipline they helped create. There would henceforth be Freudians and Jungians,connected chiefly by mutual animosities. Why did a warm, fruitful cooperation end in an icy schism? In A MostDangerous Method (Knopf; $30), John Kerr, a clinical psychologist who has seen new diaries, letters and journals,argues that the growing philosophical disputes between Freud and Jung were exacerbated by a cat-and-mousegame of sexual suspicion and blackmail. Freud believed an ex-patient of Jung's named Sabina Spielrein had alsobeen Jung's mistress; Jung in turn surmised that Freud had become involved with his sister-in-law, MinnaBernays. Both antagonists in this standoff held bombshells that could blow each other's reputation from Vienna toZurich and back; both backed off, divided up the spoils of their joint investigations and retreated into opposingtents of theory.Was this any way to found an objective science? Freud's defenders argue that his personal life is irrelevant to hiscontributions to learning -- a rather odd contention, given Freud's statement that his development of the analyticmethod began with his pioneering analysis of himself. Nevertheless, Arnold Richards, editor of the AmericanPsychoanalytic Association newsletter, dismisses any attention paid to Freud's private conduct: "It has no scientificpractical consequence. It's not relevant to Freud's theory or practice."40


What, then, about attacks on Freud's theory and practice? In Father Knows Best: The Use and Abuse of Power inFreud's Case of 'Dora' (Teachers College Press; $36), academicians Robin Tolmach Lakoff and James C. Coyneoffer a fresh view of one of Freud's most famously botched analyses. When "Dora," 18, sought Freud's help at herfather's insistence in 1901, she told him the following story: her father was having an affair with the wife of Herr"K," a family friend. Herr K had been paying unwanted sexual attentions to Dora since she was 14 and was nowbeing encouraged in this pursuit by her father, presumably as a way to deflect attention from the father's alliancewith Frau K. After hearing this account, Freud, as feminists say, did not get it. He decided Dora really desired HerrK sexually, plus her father to boot, and he criticized her "hysterical" refusal to follow her true inclinations, embraceher circumstances and make everyone, including herself, satisfied and fulfilled. She left Freud's care after threemonths.If this sounds damning, more of the same and then some can be found in Allen Esterson's Seductive Mirage: AnExploration of the Work of Sigmund Freud (Open Court; $52.95). As a mathematician, Esterson is vulnerable tocharges from Freud loyalists that he is an amateur, unqualified to discuss the mysteries of psychoanalysis. Maybeso, but his relentless examinations of discrepancies, doctored evidence and apparent lies within Freud's ownaccounts of individual cases make for disturbing reading. Esterson's argument is often most effective when itquotes the analyst directly on his therapeutic techniques. Freud regularly sounds like a detective who solves acrime before interviewing the first witness: "The principle is that I should guess the secret and tell it to the patientstraight out." Once Freud had made a diagnosis, the case, as far as he was concerned, was closed, although thetreatment continued: "We must not be led astray by initial denials. If we keep firmly to what we have inferred, weshall in the end conquer every resistance by emphasizing the unshakable nature of our convictions."Noting the fact that Freud's published case histories largely record inconclusive or lamentable results, someloyalists have adopted a fall-back position: Freud may not have been very good at practicing what he preached,but that lapse in no way invalidates his overarching theories.These defenders must now confront Validation in the Clinical Theory of Psychoanalysis (International UniversitiesPress; $50) by Adolf Grunbaum, a noted philosopher of science and a professor at the University of Pittsburgh.The book, which builds on Grunbaum's 1984 critique of psychoanalytic underpinnings, is a monograph(translation: no one without a Ph.D. need apply) and a quiet, sometimes maddeningly abstruse devastation ofpsychoanalysis' status as a science. Grunbaum dispassionately examines a number of key psychoanalyticpremises: the theory of repression (which Freud called "the cornerstone on which the whole structure ofpsychoanalysis rests"), the investigative capabilities offered by free association, the diagnostic significance ofdreams. Grunbaum does not claim that the idea of repressed memories, for instance, is false. He simply arguesthat neither Freud nor any of his successors has ever proved a cause-and-effect link between a repressed memoryand a later neurosis or a retrieved memory and a subsequent cure.Off the page, Grunbaum is able to make his critique a little more accessible to lay people. Of the presumed linkbetween childhood molestation and adult neurosis, he remarks, "Just saying the first thing happened and thesecond thing happened, and therefore one caused the other, is not enough. You have to show more." Grunbaumfinds similar flaws in the importance Freud attached to dreams and bungled actions, such as so-called Freudianslips: "All three of these tenets -- the theory of neurosis, the theory of why we dream and the theory of slips --have the same problem. All are undermined by Freud's failure to prove a causal relationship between therepression and the pathology. That's why the foundation of psychoanalysis is very wobbly."How wobbly? Interestingly, Grunbaum himself thinks all is not lost, although his verdict is not entirely cheering: "Icategorically don't believe Freud is dead. The question is, Are they trustworthy explanations? Have the hypothesesbeen validated by cogent, solid evidence? My answer to that is no."Frank Sulloway, a visiting scholar of science history at M.I.T. and a longtime critic of Freud's methods, takes asomewhat more apocalyptic view: "Psychoanalysis is built on quicksand. It's like a 10-story hotel sinking into anunsound foundation. And the analysts are in this building. You tell them it's sinking, and they say, 'It's O.K.; we'reon the 10th floor.' "41


Sure enough, the view from this imaginary elevation remains largely untroubled. Psychoanalysts like to point outthat their treatment is gaining converts in Spain, Italy and Latin America, plus parts of the former Soviet Union,where it had formerly been banned. Some 14,000 tourists a year flock to the Freud Museum in London, wherethey walk through the Hampstead house Freud owned during the last year of his life. His daughter Anna, whocarried on her father's work with dedication and skill, remained there until her death in 1982. Freud's library andstudy, the latter containing a couch covered with an Oriental rug, remain largely as he left them. Some visitors lastweek may have come fresh from seeing a Channel 4 TV documentary put together by Peter Swales, anotherpersistent critic of Freud, titled Bad Ideas of the 20th Century: Freudism. If so, their interest in Freud memorabiliaseemed undiminished. Michael Molnar, the Museum's research director and an editor of Freud's diaries,acknowledges that psychoanalysis is being challenged by new drug treatments and advances in genetic research."But," he argues, "Freud is in better shape than Marx."Across the English Channel, a play called The Visitor, by the young French dramatist Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt, hasopened in Paris, featuring the octogenarian Freud and his daughter Anna as principal characters. Meanwhile, theGrand Palais is staging an exhibition called "The Soul in the Body," with objects that manifest the interplaybetween art and science. One of the major displays is the couch on which Freud's patients in Vienna reclined. Inhis leather-upholstered office a few blocks away, Serge Leclaire, 69, an ex- president of the French Society forPsychoanalysis, notes all this cultural hubbub in France and contrasts it with the assaults on Freud in the U.S."What happened to Freudian psychoanalysis in America is the fault of American psychoanalysts," he says. "Theyfroze things into a doctrine, almost a religion, with its own dogma, instead of changing with the times."For their part, U.S. psychoanalysts admit that Freud has been taking some pretty hard knocks lately but deny thathis impact or importance has waned as a result. Says George H. Allison, a Seattle-based analyst: "I think Freud'sinfluence in mental health as well as the humanities is much greater than it was 40 years ago. I hear much morebeing written and said about Freud." Allison points to the proliferation of therapies -- there are now more than 200talking cures competing in the U.S. mental health marketplace, and 10 to 15 million Americans doing some kindof talking -- and he argues that "they really are based on Freudian principals, even though a lot of people whohead these movements are anti-Freudian officially. But they are standing on the shoulders of a genius."This image raises anew the quicksand question. If Freud's theories are truly as oozy as his critics maintain, thenwhat is to keep all the therapies indebted to them from slowly sinking into oblivion as well? Hypothetically,nothing, though few expect or want that event to occur. Surprisingly, Peter Kramer, author of the current bestseller Listening to Prozac, comes to the defense of talking cures and their founder: "Even Freudian analysts don'thold themselves 100% to Freud. Psychotherapy is like one of those branching trees, where each of the brancheslegitimately claims a common ancestry, namely Freud, but none of the branches are sitting at the root. We'd bevery mistaken to jettison psychotherapy or Freud."Frederick Crews, a professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley, and a well-known reviewer andcritic, once enthusiastically applied Freudian concepts to literary works and taught his students to do likewise.Then he grew disillusioned and now ranks as one of Freud's harshest American debunkers. Even while arguingthat Freud was a liar and that some of his ideas did not arise from clinical observations but instead were liftedfrom "folklore," Crews grows cautious about the prospect of a world suddenly without Freud or his methods:"Those of us who are concerned about pointing out Freud's intellectual failings are not, by and large, experts in theentire range of psychotherapy. I take no position on whether psychotherapy is a good thing or not."Such prudence may be well advised. Freud was not the first to postulate the unconscious; the concept has a longintellectual ancestry. Nor did Freud ever prove, in empirical terms that scientists would accept, the existence ofthe unconscious. But Jonathan Winson, professor emeritus of neurosciences at Rockefeller University in New YorkCity, who has done extensive research on the physiology of sleep and dreams, now claims Freud's intuition of itsexistence was correct, even if his conclusions were off the mark: "He's right that there is a coherent psychologicalstructure beneath the level of the conscious. That's a marvelous insight for which he deserves credit. And hedeserves credit too for sensing that dreams are the 'royal road' to the unconscious."That, finally, may be the central problem with declaring Freud finished. For all of his log rolling and influencepeddling, his running roughshod over colleagues and patients alike, for all the sins of omission and commission42


that critics past and present correctly lay on his couch, he still managed to create an intellectual edifice that feelscloser to the experience of living, and therefore hurting, than any other system currently in play. What hebequeathed was not (despite his arguments to the contrary), nor has yet proved itself to be, a science.Psychoanalysis and all its offshoots may in the final analysis turn out to be no more reliable than phrenology ormesmerism or any of the countless other pseudosciences that once offered unsubstantiated answers or falsesolace. Still, the reassurances provided by Freud that our inner lives are rich with drama and hidden meaningswould be missed if it disappeared, leaving nothing in its place.Shortly after Freud actually died in 1939, W.H. Auden, one of the many 20th century writers who minedpsychoanalysis for its ample supply of symbols and imagery, wrote an elegy that concluded:. . . sad is Eros, builder of cities,and weeping anarchic Aphrodite.Auden's choice of figures from Greek mythology was intentional and appropriate. Perhaps Homer and Sophoclesand the rest will prove, when all is said and done, better guides to the human condition than Freud. But he didnot shy away from such competition.With reporting by Ann Blackman/Washington, Barry Hillenbrand/London, Janice M. Horowitz/New York andBenjamin Ivry/Paris43


STILL CRAZY AFTER ALL THESE YEARS – WHY FREUD STILL MATTERSDespite the efforts of many contemporary scientists and psychologists to debunk and discredit the work ofthe father of psychoanalysis, the lasting influence of Sigmund Freud continues to be keenly felt throughoutour collective consciousness. As a global society, we’re still crazy about him. This fact is evidenced by thefollowing article published last year. Love him or hate him, our “golden Sigi” and the influential – if notalways scientifically sound – nature of his theorizing is here to stay.“Freud: At 150, He's Still Captivating Us“ by Jerry Adler: Newsweek, March 26, 2006On his 150th birthday, the architect of therapeutic culture is an inescapable force. Why Freud—modernhistory's most debunked doctor—captivates us even now.We stand now at a critical moment in the history of our civilization, which is usually the case: beset by enemieswho irrationally embrace their own destruction along with ours, our fate in the hands of leaders who make a virtueof avoiding reflection, our culture hijacked by charlatans who aren't nearly as depraved as they pretend in theirbest-selling memoirs. As we turn from the author sniveling on Oprah's couch, our gaze is caught by a familiarfigure in the shadows, sardonic and grave, his brow furrowed in weariness. So, he seems to be saying, you wouldlike this to be easy. You want to stick your head in a machine, to swallow a pill, to confess on television and becured before the last commercial. But you don't even know what your disease is.Yes, it's Sigmund Freud, still haunting us, a lifetime after he died in London in 1939, driven by the Nazis from hisbeloved Vienna. The theoretician who explored a vast new realm of the mind, the unconscious: a roiling dungeonof painful memories clamoring to be heard and now and then escaping into awareness by way of dreams, slips ofthe tongue and mental illness. The philosopher who identified childhood experience, not racial destiny or familyfate, as the crucible of character. The therapist who invented a specific form of treatment, psychoanalysis, whichadvanced the revolutionary notion that actual diagnosable disease can be cured by a method that dates to thedawn of humanity: talk. Not by prayer, sacrifice or exorcism; not by drugs, surgery or change of diet, but byrecollection and reflection in the presence of a sympathetic professional. It is an idea wholly at odds with ourtechnological temperament, yet the mountains of Prozac prescribed every year have failed to bury it. Not manypatients still seek a cure on a psychoanalyst's couch four days a week, but the vast proliferation of talk therapies—Jungian and Adlerian analyses, cognitive behavioral and psychodynamic therapy—testify to the enduring power ofhis idea.And Freud: the great engine of an ongoing middlebrow bull session that has engaged our culture for a century.Without Freud, Woody Allen would be a schnook and Tony Soprano a thug; there would be an Oedipus but noOedipus complex, and then how would people at dinner parties explain why the eldest son of George Bush was sointent on toppling Saddam? (This is a parlor game Freud himself pioneered in his analysis of Napoleon, who'dbeen dead for a century when Freud concluded that sibling rivalry with his eldest brother, Joseph, was the greatdrive in his life, accounting for both his infatuation with a woman named Josephine and his decision—following inthe footsteps of the Biblical Joseph—to invade Egypt.) In America Freud is now more likely to be taken seriouslyas a literary figure than a scientific one, at least outside the 40 or so institutes that specifically train analysts. Justlast year, in fact, Newsweek lumped Freud with Karl Marx as a philosopher whose century had come and gone, incontrast to the continuing intellectual relevance of Darwin. In an act of expiation, therefore, and to stake out thehigh ground before the tsunami of lectures, seminars and publications scheduled for his 150th birthday on May 6,we ask ourselves: Is Freud still dead? And if not, what is keeping him alive?That he retains any life at all is remarkable. To innocently type his name into a search engine is to unleash atorrent of denunciation that began the moment he began publishing his work in the 19th century. Merely beingwrong—as even his partisans admit he probably was about a lot of things—seems inadequate to explain thecalumny he has engendered, so Freudians invoke a Freudian explanation. "The unconscious is terribly threatening,"says Dr. Glen O. Gabbard, professor of psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine. "It suggests we are moved byforces we cannot see or control, and this is a severe wound to our narcissism." Resistance came early from abourgeoisie appalled by one of Freud's central tenets, that young children have a sexual fantasy life—a theory thatAmerican adults rejected by a margin of 76 to 13 in a Newsweek Poll. And it's not just Western culture that Freud44


scandalized; as recently as last month, in an interview with David Remnick of The New Yorker, Sheik NayefRajoub of Hamas explained the necessity for Israel's destruction on the ground that "Freud, a Jew, was the onewho destroyed morals."And opposition came from feminists who would have you know that they don't envy any man his penis. It is nowuniversally acknowledged that Freud's ideas about women's sexuality—in summary, that they were incompletemen—were so far wrong that, as his sympathetic biographer Peter Gay jokes, "If he were president of Harvard,he'd have to resign." The low point of Freud's reputation was probably the early 1990s, when women were fillingthe talk shows with accounts of childhood sexual abuse dredged from their unconscious. This was a no-winsituation for Freud—who, admittedly, had staked out positions on both sides of this question, as he often did inhis long career. Those who took the side of the accused parents and siblings blamed him for having planted theidea, in his early work, that the repressed memory of actual sexual abuse was a common cause of adult neurosis.Those who believed the accusers charged him with cravenly surrendering to community pressure when heultimately decided that many of these recovered memories were actually childhood fantasies. "Sending a womanto a Freudian therapist," Gloria Steinem said at the time, "is not so far distant from sending a Jew to a Nazi."His reputation has only barely begun to recover. In the wake of the repressed-memory wars, the vast Freud archiveat the Library of Congress, much of which had been embargoed for decades into the future, has been opened toscholars. And Freud's debunkers are finding much to confirm what they've said all along, that his canonical "cures"were the product of wishful thinking and conscious fudging, and his theories founded on a sinkhole of circularlogic. Efforts to validate Freudian psychology through rigorous testing or brain-imaging technology is still in itsinfancy. "I'm afraid he doesn't hold up very well at all," says Peter D. Kramer, a psychiatrist and author of Listeningto Prozac, who is working on a biography of Freud due to appear next year. "It almost feels like a personal betrayalto say that. But every particular is wrong: the universality of the Oedipus complex, penis envy, infantile sexuality."How much debunking can Freud withstand? Jonathan Lear, a psychiatrist and philosopher at the University ofChicago, identifies a "core idea" on which Freud's reputation must rest, that human life is "essentially conflicted."And that the conflict is hidden from us, because it stems from wishes and instincts that are actively repressed—you don't have to believe that it involves a desire to have sex with one of your parents, if that idea strikes you asoutlandish—because our conscious self cannot bear to acknowledge them. Identifying and resolving those conflictsas they emerge into awareness, deeply cloaked in symbolism, is the work of analysis.Everything else is, ultimately, negotiable. Not even Freud's most orthodox adherents defend his entire body of workin all its details, but they do talk about the bigger picture. "He was wrong about so many things," says JamesHansell, a University of Michigan psychologist. "But he was wrong in such interesting ways. He pioneered a wholenew way of looking at things." Freud "helps us find deep meanings and motivations, and find meaning in love andwork," says Dr. K. Lynne Moritz, a professor at St. Louis University School of Medicine and the incoming presidentof the American Psychoanalytic Association. Certainly he does, at least for some people, although that seems likea better recommendation for a poet than a scientist.But then, deep meaning is just what some people want out of life, a fact that helps support the 3,400 members ofMoritz's group (up, barely, from 3,200 in 1998) and 1,500 in a rival organization, the National Association forthe Advancement of Psychoanalysis. That compares with 33,500 in the American Psychiatric Association.Psychiatrists are medical doctors trained to treat mental illness; they typically see patients referred to themspecifically for drug therapy, or they work in hospitals or clinics with the seriously ill. The American PsychologicalAssociation, which represents psychotherapists without medical degrees, has 150,000 members. In theNewsweek Poll, nearly 20 percent of American adults say they have had some form of therapy or counseling, and4 percent are currently in therapy. The ability to tinker directly with the brain synapses, through drugs, holds thepromise of making psychoanalysis redundant for some conditions. But patients respond differently, and for some acombination of drug and talk therapy seems to work best. Moritz maintains that for some conditions, such asadolescent borderline personality disorder, analysis remains the treatment of choice. As for Freud, he himself wentthrough a brief phase in which he advocated drug therapy. Regrettably, the drug he advocated was cocaine. Thatremains the one salient fact that many Americans seem to have retained about him.45


A major factor in the decline of psychoanalysis is the reluctance of insurance companies to foot the bill for anopen-ended treatment at a cost of more than $2,000 a month. Back in the 1950s, analysis was a status symboland a mark of sophistication, a role filled in society today by cosmetic surgery. But it is still a valued luxury goodfor those with the time and the means to live up to the Delphic injunction to "know thyself." "There are manypeople who don't respond to brief therapy or to medication," says Gabbard, "people who want the experience ofbeing listened to and understood, to search for a truth about themselves that goes beyond symptom relief." Takeone of Moritz's patients, a married woman in her 40s we'll call Doreen in honor of one of Freud's most famouscases, who was given the pseudonym Dora. Doreen is the model of many early Viennese patients, an educatedupper-middle-class woman with an overtly tranquil and satisfying life. Like most patients today, her symptomswere vague and general. Neuroses no longer seem to manifest themselves in hysterical blindness or paralysis. "Idecided I have a good life, but it could be better," she says. At work she was too eager to please, taking on morethan she could handle; with her family she felt the need to stifle her playfulness and sense of humor. Probablymany people wouldn't think it necessary to devote four hours a week for four years (and ongoing) to solving thoseproblems, but to her it's been worth it, totally. "It makes you examine your life, retell your life, to understand whereyour attitudes, your beliefs and behaviors come from," she says. "I'm so much happier now. It's not something Icould do alone. You have to confront the parts of yourself that are painful and shameful and difficult to face. Dr.Moritz asks the questions that cause me to dig deeper into myself."That, of course, is the essence of Freud's technique. He was a man intoxicated with the voyage of inwarddiscovery. You can see this clearly in his 1901 book Psychopathology of Everyday Life. Here, Freud discusses anencounter with a young man who cannot recall the Latin word "aliquis" ("someone") in a passage from Virgil. ToFreud, such moments are never without significance, and the very obscurity of the slip gave it added interest.Freud wouldn't waste couch time on a slip that was obvious to the person who uttered it. He employs histrademark technique of "free association" ("tell me the first thing that comes into your mind ... ") to uncover a linkto "liquid," then to "blood," and through several other steps to the revelation that the young man was worried thata woman with whom he had been intimate had missed her period. What a tour de force for psychoanalysis!Does it detract from our appreciation of his genius that the freelance historian Peter Swales has shown that theremost probably was no such young man, that the memory lapse was probably committed by Freud himself andthat the woman he was worried about was Minna Bernays, the sister of Freud's own wife?Well, not to Lear. His reaction is, "I couldn't care less. I could imagine someone in Freud's position changing thestory in that way. But it's just not very important [to our appreciation of his work]."If Einstein had a romance with his sister-in-law, it wouldn't change what we thought about the speed of light. Butthis is Freud! His own thoughts and emotions were precisely the raw material from which he derived much of histheory. He is our postmodern Plato, our secular Saint Augustine. He fascinates us endlessly, even those who havemade their reputations in part by denouncing him, like Frederick Crews, emeritus professor of English at UCBerkeley. Explaining Freud's enduring interest, he observes caustically, "Academic humanists find that by enteringFreud's world of interlocking symbols and facile causal assertions they will never run out of shrewd-looking,counterintuitive things to say in their essays and books." As if that were a bad thing! Don't we all need an excusenow and then to sound smart by referring to interpretation as "hermeneutics"? Kramer finds echoes of Freud in T.S. Eliot's dreamlike symbolism, in the emotional transference (of boss to father to son) in Joyce's Dubliners.("Transference" refers to the displacement of emotion that a patient undergoes in therapy, making the therapist theobject of feelings the patient has toward a parent. Mr. Soprano, take your hands off Dr. Melfi's throat, please.)"We refer to Freud every day when we call someone 'passive-aggressive'," Kramer muses. "I don't know how peopleexpressed that thought a hundred years ago." Not everyone is convinced by this argument, though: "Shakespearemanaged to say an awful lot about human nature without the vocabulary provided by psychoanalysis," observesPatricia Churchland, of the University of California, San Diego, a leading philosopher of consciousness. She addsthat in any case she finds that the language of analysis is being supplanted in popular culture by the jargon ofneuroscience. People talk about getting their endorphins going. Someone acting rashly is said to be "frontal,"referring to the part of the brain involved in impulse control.46


Admittedly, hermeneutics isn't exactly where the action is in American society today. In the id-driven worlds ofpolitics, athletics and business, Freud is the ultimate non-bottom-line guy; he pays off five years down the road inthe non-negotiable currency of self-knowledge. When President George W. Bush told an interviewer in 2004 thathe wouldn't "go on the couch" to rethink his decisions about the Iraq war, it so outraged Dr. Kerry J. Sulkowicz, aprofessor of psychiatry at NYU Medical School, that he wrote a letter to The New York Times pro-testing this sluron analysis, with the implication "that not understanding oneself is a matter of pride." Sulkowicz knows thisattitude firsthand as a consultant to corporate CEOs and boards of directors, where he struggles daily to beat someintrospection into his clients' heads. "There's so much emphasis on 'execution' and 'action' in the business world,"he says. "I try to convey that action and reflection are not mutually exclusive." Freud's insights into the irrationaland the unconscious find application in the corporation, where even high-level executives may bring transferenceissues into the office, seeking from their boss the approval they once craved from their parents. Freud's writings ongroup dynamics and sibling rivalry can serve the thoughtful CEO well, Sulkowicz adds. It helps, though, if thesource is somewhat obscured. "I hardly ever talk about Freud by name," he says.In the shadows, the tip of the cigar wiggles up and down in agitation. Americans! he seems to be thinking. Amoney-grubbing mob; they made me fear for the future of civilization itself. I should have told them when I hadthe chance.Freud, rooted in the great civilizations of Europe, wrote little about America, which he visited briefly in 1909, buthis attitude was clear from a few terse sentences in his dark classic, Civilization and Its Discontents. Published in1930, when Freud was already an old man, the book was a psychological meditation on the social contract: thesurrender of mankind's natural instinct for aggression and sexual domination in exchange for the security andcomfort of civilized society. But in Freud's view, that is not an easy bargain. Those instincts are powerful and theirrepression creates unconscious conflict—what Lear described as the "core idea" of Freudian thought. And that isthe source of the disease that we cannot name, and that we can never really cure, because it is built into thehuman condition. It is no accident, says Lear, that Freud's reputation reached a low point in the early 1990s,which was not only the height of the recovered-memory hysteria, but also of the post-cold-war optimism thatmade a best seller of Francis Fukuyama's book The End of History. Fukuyama predicted that the dissolution of theSoviet Union would pave the way for the triumph of liberal democracy around the world—an idea that camecrashing to the ground one sunny morning in 2001. "We are always susceptible," Lear says, "to the illusion thatthese are not our problems. The end of history was a brave hope that the ongoing dynamic of human conflict wasover." But what Freud has to say, which is worth hearing even if analysis never cures another patient, is thathistory will never end. Because it is made by human beings.ACTIVITYPaging Dr. FreudLove him or hate him, Dr. Freud is everywhere. After explaining some of the basic principles and terminologyassociated with Freud, have students keep a “Freud Log” for a week in which they record everything theyencounter that could be a reference to or an echo of Freud and his theories. At the end of the week, havestudents share and discuss their findings in class. What do they conclude? Is Dr. Freud still exercising hisinfluence a lifetime after his death? Why or why not?Alternately – you may wish to post a “wall of Freud” in your classroom: a space on the blackboard, a large sheetof butcher paper, etc. where students can record their findings daily and the class can watch the list grow!47


MASTER CLASS:Exploring Adaptation49


WHY ADAPTATION?When examining a theatrical adaptation, or the process of creating one, it’s useful to start at the beginningand remind ourselves what that word really means.The verb “adapt” can be defined in the following ways:1. To make suitable; to make to correspond; to fit or suit; to proportion.2. To fit by alteration; to modify or remodel for a different purpose; to adjust: as, to adapt a story or aforeign play for the stage; to adapt an old machine to a new manufacture.3. To make by altering or fitting something else; to produce by change of form or characterIn biology, the idea of adaptation allows organisms to thrive more fully in their environments; as theColumbia University Press Encyclopedia puts it: “The ability to adapt is a fundamental property of life andconstitutes a basic difference between living and nonliving matter.” In other words, you keep on adaptinguntil you die.Sigmund Freud also had ideas about psychological adaptation. He felt that dangers that could not beavoided by behavior alone are “rejected toward the interior” or repressed so as to avoid them. The themesexplored in Oedipus the King strike again.Stage adaptation, when a playwright or director takes existing material and “makes [it] suitable” for thestage, is as old as theater as we understand it. Sophocles’ Oedipus the King was an adaptation of a wellknownmyth and another play by Aeschylus. Shakespeare often took extant stories and found ways to makethem “fit by alteration” the popular theater of Elizabethan England. Each year, the Goodman produces TomCreamer’s adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol; countless theatres around the world dothe same with their own adaptations of that same story.A quick Google search of the term “stage adaptation” will pull up sites for adaptations from books, frommovies – one can even plays and musicals adapted from the lives of rock and roll icons.It is obvious that adaptation is an integral part of contemporary theatre – indeed it’s been a part of theatresince its very inception. The “how’s” of adaptation are also fairly straightforward – each adaptor seems tohave his or her own style, a unique set of priorities, and – in consort with the design team – an individualaesthetic. What is less clear – or at least less documented – is why. What is it about retelling a story that isso appealing? Why do so many theatrical creators crave both the structure and freedom inherent in adaptingan existing story? Does it relate to the old saying that “there are no new stories, only new ways of tellingthem?”THINK ABOUT ITAsk students to do a little digging into their favorite movies. How many of their favorite films are in someway adaptations of other books, plays, or even other films? Some films to consider are The Departed,Clueless, Pirates of the Caribbean (the ride at Disneyland did come first, after all). Also ask students toconsider how many movies and other adaptations exist for books or stories they’ve read in class – think BazLuhrman’s Romeo + Juliet or Great Expectations with Gwyneth Paltrow and Ethan Hawke.Why are so many books made into films? Is this artistic “recycling?” If so, is there really anything wrongwith that? Why or why not?If you were to make a film, would you start from something completely original or would you base yourfilm on an existing piece? Why? Is it even possible to start from something truly original? Why or whynot?50


FOCUS ON FRANK GALATITony-award winning adaptor and director, Frank Galati, is as gifted at determining which text he will putonstage as he is at crafting masterful stage picture and evocative emotional content. The following profile,while several years old, speaks to his early-career experiences as a force in the American theater.“The Paradoxical Professor” by John Dillon and Thomas Connors: American Theatre, October 1995It wasn't until 1990 that the world really started noticing the paradox of Frank Galati's life. It was in the spring ofthat year that Galati picked up twin Tony awards for his gritty adaptation and starkly effective staging of JohnSteinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath. The previous year he'd received an Oscar nomination for his wry, intelligentscreen adaptation of Anne Tyler's The Accidental Tourist. Not a bad track record for someone's first outings inHollywood and on Broadway. So, the opinionmakers wondered, who was this bi-coastal dynamo?With his ample frame and bushy white beard (the impression he gives is of a kind of cherubic Ernest Hemingway),Galati turned out to be just a gentle-spirited college professor at Northwestern University in the sleepy Chicagosuburb of Evanston. Well, not "just" a professor: While Galati has spent his entire adult life in the groves ofacademe, he has somehow found time to adapt and direct strikingly original works for the two leading theatrecompanies in Northwestern's neighborhood, the Goodman Theatre Company (where he's an associate director)and Steppenwolf Theatre Company (where he's an ensemble member as well as script films, stage operas and,from time to time, do a choice bit of acting as well. Whew!But Galati's theatrical success and his passion for teaching both spring from the same source: his intense love ofliterature. And is his skillful adaptation and staging of literary works in wide range of styles that have made himsuch a powerful force in the American theatre.What's the key to Galati's success at literary adaptation, an undertaking that's produced so many disasters in thehands of lesser talents? "The play is in the novel, it's just hidden," he explains. "I'm not just talking about dialogue.A novel is always oscillating between different tempi of showing and telling. 'Description' slows down the tempowhile 'summary' speeds it up, and scenes play in normal time. Thus, the fun of fiction is the constantly changingrhythm and the amplitude of the canvas--the large panorama, the multiple stories."If one is to be lucky in the task of adaptation, first find a novel that has a real play in it," Galati advises, "for it'snot so much the skill of the adapter as the skill of the novelist that creates success." A case in point, of course, isThe Grapes of Wrath.It was after viewing the fledgling Steppenwolf ensemble's lean and passionate staging of Mice and Men that Galatilet them in on his idea of adapting The Grapes of Wrath. Galati's old Elm Grove High School drama coach, RalphLane, had first introduced him to the group some years before. Lane, who was teaching at the time at Illinois StateUniversity, invited Galati down to critique a show that included future Steppenwolfites John Malkovich, LaurieMetcalf and Gary Sinise, and when the "kids," as Galati described is them, set up camp in Highland Park, the diewas cast. The kids took Galati out to dinner, seeking his advice; in short order, they asked him to join theensemble.Galati remembers the excited glow in Sinise's face when they brainstormed the theatrical possibilities ofSteinbeck's epic, and Sinise's unrelenting determination to secure the rights for the adaptation from the reclusiveMrs. Steinbeck. The novel itself alternates between event-filled chapters about the literal and spiritual journey ofthe uprooted Joad family, and chapters that paint indelible word pictures of the physical and emotional terrain--the Dust Bowl landscapes, the wretched Hoovervilles--through which they pass. By incorporating this shiftingrhythm, Galati was able to capture on stage some of that large panorama and varying tempi that he loves inliterature.But the danger in adaptation, Galati goes on to explain, lies in how to handle the issue of narration. The narratorof a work of fiction is, he says, "a boring guy" who speaks to us most often in the past tense; the story, for him,has already been completed. But stage characters need to live looking forward into the future, where the narrator51


already is. The characters live in the world of "what if," the "virtual present," as Galati describes it, and they can'tknow the outcome that the novel's narrator already knows. Part of the reason Galati feels Grapes of Wrath adaptedso well was that the narrator never enters the mind of the characters--never says, "Tom thought, if only I could getto the river."And, picking up on Steinbeck's technique, Galati allowed his stage narrator to capture the novel's compelling shiftsin narrative style, at one moment biblical, at another folksy. He accomplished this, in part, by artfully turning thenarrator into a chorus of voices, a panoply of shifting sensibilities.But what about a book that's all narrative? Galati's most recent adaptation, of William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying,posed some unique challenges (see sidebar). "Is almost a chorale of narrative energy," Galati observes, describingthe classic 1930 novel whose occasion is the death and funeral of Addie Bundren, a Mississippi redneck farmer'swife "Each character tells his or her own version of events, so that underneath these narratives is the real novel--though it never makes a claim on the reader's attention, because there is no 'neutral observer.'" Most vexing forGalati was that "we never know what the occasion of speech is," and Addie even speaks from the grave!The production, which ran June 28 to Aug. 13 at Steppenwolf, elicited inevitable comparisons with Grapes ofWrath--the Joads and the Bundrens are, after all, both poor rural families who endure the hardships ofDepression-era journeys to a "promised land," where the promise turns out to be empty. There's an essentialdifference, though, which Galati explicated in a recent Stage bill interview: "Every thing that happened to [theJoads] happened in a modality of real grandeur, of spiritual depth, human courage, fortitude: They werecharacters of great humor and endurance and generosity. Au contraire with the Bundrens. These are people whoare sort of twisted and contorted by their various needs. But there is a kind of hard, self-preserving energy in eachof them which makes Faulkner's story almost a mock epic, because the characters do not have the stature of realtragic characters. They're actually comic characters."As I Lay Dying divided the Chicago critics. "Heaven help audience members who have not read the book," worriedTribune chief critic Richard Christiansen, but Hedy Weiss of the Sun-Times was more optimistic about Galati'saccomplishment: "He has brilliantly orchestrated Faulkner's ripe, hallucinatory, darkly comic and gorgeouslytwisted language," she wrote, into "a work of startling, subversive power."I first encountered Galati as a young and talented actor performing another adaptation of his own design. The yearwas 1966, the vehicle was Vladimir Nabokov's wild literary fantasy Pale Fire, and the occasion was Galati'sgraduate recital for his master's degree in the Oral Interpretation (now Performance Studies) Department atNorthwestern. In his solo rendering of Nabokov's book, supposedly the final work of a minor poet, John Shade,Galati portrayed Charles Kinbote, a mad academic who has "edited" Shade's 999-line opus, adding wildlyextravagant commentary. It was an unforgettably funny hour of academic satire as Galati's Kinbote "explained" thepoem and took questions from the audience, all of which he answered with verbatim sections he'd memorizedfrom Nabokov's book.In the intervening three decades, Galati has often returned to Pale Fire, using it as a measure of himself as theyears pass. "Every time I went back to it, it would tell me where I was," Galati discovered. The piece was thesame, but I had changed. At first as an actor I was funny and fast, but I never exposed myself, never let myselfreally open up. I was always covered up. But as the years passed, something happened. There were a lot of scarythings about Kinbote that I grew more willing to confront--a level of emotional depth or intensity--as I tried tohonestly deal with the themes of sexuality, madness, art and death, the big things, in the book."At the time, Galati was one of an eclectic group of future directors at Northwestern. Violin-major-to-turn-actor-toturn-directorMark Lamos (now artistic director of Hartford Stage Company) was there, as was Libby Appel (nowartistic director of Indiana Repertory Theatre), Carole Rothman (now artistic director of New York's Second Stage),Dennis Zacek (now artistic director of Chicago's Victory Gardens Theater) and myself. Except for Galati, we wereall in the theatre department, where pitched battles were being fought over such diverse and divisive issues as thekind of training we were receiving and the Vietnam War. Over in the "interp" department, things were quieter, andGalati speaks warmly of his old academic mentors. In fact, asking him to name the people who have influenced52


him most will elicit a long litany of dedicated teachers, starting in grade school and stretching through high schooland college--small wonder, then, that Galati never felt impelled to leave the educational environment.Born 51 years ago and raised in the northern Chicago suburbs, he did most of his undergraduate and graduatework at the same university that is still his academic home. Why, especially with his recent high-visibility success,does he continue to teach? "I love it--I just love it. The time in the classroom, the time working with the kids, it'sprivileged, it's charmed." And many of his successful projects, Galati points out, began as workshop productionswith his students.Because of his typical suburban upbringing, Galati calls himself an "unhyphenated American." He says that fromhis family life (his dad trained and showed dogs) to his earliest years in school," incidents and situationsnecessarily led me into the arts and literature." A pivotal event in that process owes itself, again, to a teacher, thisone a third-grade teacher named, aptly enough, Miss Scholy. She took her class on a field trip to the august ArtInstitute of Chicago. It was young Frank's first visit there."First there were the imposing steps to the building and the immense marble space. As we entered the lobby withits odd winter smells, Miss Scholy told us that we'd be seeing pictures and statues of men and women withoutclothes, but we were not to giggle. A prohibition, then, was involved with this new world. Something forbidden. Itconjured up the same feelings as in church, all very grown-up, serious and important. Near the entrance was asculptural group of nude figures, and I was overcome by the beauty of the human body. Yet and here's the magicof art--they were imitations of the human form in colorless cold marble." (The sculpture is actually Lorado Taft'sSolitude of the Soul from 1914, ironically described by the artist as reflecting "the eternally present fact thathowever closely we may be thrown together by circumstances, we are unknown to each other.")"Later, we went to the cafeteria, a dark gray place, full of smoke. There I was, sitting in front of my bolognasandwich, seeing beautiful young adults, free and involved with each other, talking, touching, hugging. It was aspowerful an image of sensuality as the statue. Then, across from me, I saw an art student with a deformed arm, astub of an arm really. And as I sipped milk from my little carton, he began to open his and, at that moment sooverfull of feeling, so charged, I became ill."The powerful effect of that childhood day's paradoxes echo through much of Galati's work as an artist. There's theparadox of eliciting sensual humanity out of unfeeling form; of the novel's often backward-looking structure anddrama's need to probe into the future; of the seeming impossibility and utter necessity of human connection.Equally paradoxical is Galati's international success and the quiet life he leads in the 'burbs north of Chicago withhis partner of 25 years, the choreographer Peter Amster (they met at Northwestern, naturally). "Peter was the onewho first introduced me to the world of opera-he was much more sophisticated about such things than I was.Through the years, we've been lucky enough to collaborate on several occasions, and although collaboration withyour partner can get pretty complicated, with us it's always been smooth and joyous." One of their earlycollaborations was on the Gertrude Stein/Virgil Thomson opera The Mother of Us All--at which point Galatidiscovered in Stein's brilliant wordplay and her innovative structures a profoundly kindred spirit.Galati has repeatedly returned to Stein territory over the years, first with another Stein/Thomson opera, the drollFour Saints in Three Acts, then with an highly acclaimed adaptation of her prose, She Always Said, Pablo, at theGoodman in 1987. At the center of this visually extravagant pastiche of Stein's texts and images from the work ofher long-time friend Picasso--designer Mary Griswold dubbed it "Gertie's vaudeville"--Galati placed wheelchairusingactor Susan Nussbaum as Stein herself. While tongue-cluckers could complain about the anachronism of anelectric wheelchair conveying Stein around, one would be hard pressed to imagine a pithier performance thanNussbaum's, or a better command of Stein's complicated prose.Galati's most recent foray into Stein, last season's Gertrude Stein: Each One as She May at the Goodman, was anadaptation of an early African-American love story called Melanctha from Stein's volume Three Lives. The creationof the piece offers an interesting object lesson not only in Galati's skillful technique as an adapter, but in how tobring work of a racial character of the past to life in our racially charged present.53


Originally, Galati had thought of creating another collage like She Always Said, Pablo, but that struck him as"retro." He reread Three Lives and found in Melanctha a rich mélange of voices that intrigued him. "I thought itburned with its unique setting and emotionally rich details. At the same time, it raised the complicated issue of awhite woman writing in 1905 about African-American life."Stein, who had worked in the black community as a midwife during her days as a medical student at JohnsHopkins, called her chronicle of the life, loves and death of a black woman "a composition of a prolonged present."A comment of Richard Wright's sums up the results: "As I read it my ears were opened for the first time to themagic of the spoken word. I began to hear the speech of my grandmother, who spoke a deep, pure Negro dialectand with whom I had lived for many years. All of my life I had been only half hearing, but Miss Stein's strugglingwords made the speech of the people around me vivid."Indeed, reading the piece creates the sensation of Stein's discovery of her character's unique voice: "Yes I certainlydo love you Jeff!" Melanctha says to her lover Jefferson:Yes Jeff sure, but not the way you are now ever thinking. I love you more and more seems to meJeff always, and I certainly do trust you more and more always to me when I know you. I do loveyou Jeff, sure yes, but not the kind of way of loving you are ever thinking it now Jeff with me. Iain't got certainly no hot passion any more now in me. You certainly have killed all that kind offeeling now Jeff in me.At the same time, phrases like "Rose had the simple, promiscuous unmorality of the black people" bring to mindthe worst images of America's tragic history of racial stereotyping. Galati decided to proceed with the adaptation,but to send an early draft to black actors from whom he would solicit reactions. Key support for the project camefrom Chicago-based actor Cheryl Lynn Bruce, who had worked with Galati on two other occasions (includingGrapes of Wrath), and who eventually appeared in the chamber piece for four actors (playing Melanctha, Jeffersonand two narrators) and two musicians (Reginald Robinson and Miriam Strum, performing their own shimmeringragtime compositions)."Surely we would have much to discuss" is the way Galati described his attitude before rehearsals began.Thus, in Each One as She May, Galati was able to move the discussion of race forward by looking back 90 years,fashioning a work that required all involved to speak honestly to issues that have become harder and harder toaddress candidly. In doing so, he captured both the central dramatic conflict of the novel and that special voicethat is Gertrude Stein.Now Galati will be exploring more of his own voice. Among the busy professor's upcoming projects is a six-monthresidency at Indiana Repertory Theatre (supported by a National Theatre Artist Residency grant from TheatreCommunications Group, funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts), where fellow Northwestern alum Libby Appel willbe bringing him in to create a piece of his own devising about local culture--a culture that recognizes Indianapolis'shistoric role as "a nexus of right-wing politics and Klan activity." "No adaptation," Galati confirms. "My voice."He's turning his attention as well to the classic medieval morality play, Everyman, which he'll direct at theGoodman Theatre, and two challenging adaptations for the silver screen: scripts for Barbara Kinsolver's Pigs inHeaven and Sara Gilbers Summer Gloves. But whether his creativity is taking him east, west or south, restassured that once again this fall, no matter what his fame, you'll find Professor Galati crossing the Northwesterncampus on his way to another class.54


CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE: DIY ADAPTATIONAlthough at first the thought of adapting a source text for the stage may sound quite daunting, there are anumber of ways to break that concept down into manageable chunks that get you on your feet and thinkingoutside the box. On the following pages, we’ll walk you through a series of simple processes that will haveyou and your students adapting like pros in no time. These exercises, with simple modifications, can beappropriate for all ability levels.Step One: Start SimpleBegin by taking a very simple story and getting it up on its feet. Nursery rhymes are a great place to start. Try thestory of Jack and Jill:Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of waterJack fell down and broke his crownAnd Jill came tumbling after.Here we have a simple story perfectly suitable for adaptation – two characters with action and intention. Clear aspace in your classroom and work as a class to determine how to tell this story. It doesn’t have to fancy or awardwinning;just find a way to communicate the plot and character relationships. Try your on-its-feet version twoways – first with a narrator and then without a narrator to get the hang of both methods. Discuss how effectiveyour adaptation was – did it accurately communicate the plot of the story? What could you have done to make itmore interesting or evocative? You may want to take several cracks at the exercise in this first incarnation.Step Two: Exploring a TextNOTE: This step, while seemingly complex, should happen very quickly in order to encourage students to act ontheir first impulses. The whole process should ideally take only one class period – but it should definitely not takemore than two.Begin as a class by choosing one of the two Greek myths included in this section, either Pandora’s Box or Echo &Narcissus (for larger classrooms, you may wish to divide the class in two with half working on each myth). Sit ina circle and simply read the story out loud to one another. Each student should take either a sentence orparagraph (depending on the size of the group). There’s no need to perform here – we’re just reading for sense.As a group, decide what are the three big events or scenes of the story – think of them in terms of beginning,middle, and end. Working together, construct three stage pictures or tableaux that communicate those threeimportant scenes. Use just your bodies to create these images.Now, divide your group in half – one half will be adapting this story using a narrator, the other half will adapt thestory with no narrator (in a larger classroom, you’ll end up with four groups – two groups on each of the twomyths). Choose a director for each group – although this is a very collaborative process, a director must beultimately responsible for choosing what will “make the cut” in the final piece. Remember that not every fantasticidea ends up in a finished play, book, or movie. Sometimes you have to be able to leave some great ideas “on thecutting room floor.” The director should keep in mind, however, that it’s important to hear and considereveryone’s ideas and contributions to the piece.Go back to the text and make a list of all the sounds you might hear in the myth. What sound do we hear whenwe first see Pandora? What do the whispers inside the box sound like? What is the noise of the water nearNarcissus? Are there footsteps? Thunderbolts? Wind? Echo’s voice? Anything you can think of that might bepart of the environmental soundscape or the plot of the myth. Now, make a list of the objects most important totelling the story. Pandora will need a box, right? What other things are integral to communicating the story?Now go back to your three stage tableaux. Using those events and your lists of sounds and objects as guides,decide how you will expand those scenes using your body and your voice. Remember that one group is utilizing a55


narrator; the other is not. Remember that while you want to remain true to the story, the way you tell it iscompletely up to you. Be creative! Tell the story in the most interesting way you can. It’s more important tocommunicate the feeling or the message of the story than the literal events in the order they happen.Working as a group, construct your three scenes. Use people to create sets and props, to play the characters, toprovide sound effects, as costume pieces, etc. Make sure you can transition easily from one scene to the next.Use what you find around you and don’t censor yourself – there is no such thing as a wrong answer when creatingthis piece.Perform your world-premiere adaptation! Afterwards have a discussion about the experience, and about whichstaging of the myth was most effective, the one utilizing a narrator or the one without. Here are some otherquestions for you to consider:• How was seeing the adapted performance different from hearing the story read aloud?• Did you relate to the story in a new way as an audience member? How about as an adaptor?• How do you think the performances would have been different if one person had sat down and just writtena script, rather than having everyone work together as a group?• This exercise asks you to start from a Greek myth to create your theatrical piece; what other “sourcematerials” would make good adaptations – songs, poems, works of art?Step Three: JuxtapositionMuch of the beauty of Frank Galati’s Oedipus Complex comes not only from his masterful staging of the Oedipustext, but from the juxtaposition of the Oedipus and Freud. Working with one of the Greek myths included here, orwith another story with which your class is familiar, create a piece that uses the lessons learned in a work ofliterature to help elucidate an issue currently facing your students or community. For example, how does Pandoraletting the Evils out of the box relate to the recent Virginia Tech massacre? How does the fact that Hope remainedin the box also affect those events? That’s a broad, national-level example – try to choose something that moredirectly affects your students’ community.To begin with, have students create scenes to intersperse with what they’ve already created in class using theexercise above. Then see if they can more fluidly move between the “world” of the myth and their own. Discussthe process of adapting not only a myth for the stage, but of juxtaposing their experiences with that myth and itsframework as well.From this point, it’s easy to begin examining seemingly disparate texts and mining them for common themes andthreads – or using opposing themes to illuminate both ideas in new ways.Some important things to remember about this kind of adaptation, especially in the classroom:• What you have can be everything you need – a chair can be a horse, a door, a castle, a tree – and so cana person.• Think outside the box and encourage students to stop thinking literally – you don’t have to tell the storylike you would if you were making a film; things don’t have to be realistic! How many creative ways touse yourself and the things around you can you find?• Have fun! It’s called a play, not a serious, so don’t take yourself or the story too seriously. Let yourselfplay, create, and explore the text and the way you’re putting it on its feet.56


SOURCE TEXTSUtilize either – or both – of the following Greek myths as source texts for your adaptations.Encourage students to begin with these text but, as Frank Galati explores with Oedipus Complex,also find more contemporary texts that resonate with them as individuals and integrate these othertexts into the telling of the myths.PANDORA’S BOXGods and Goddesses in Greek Mythology by Michelle M. Houle, 2001Zeus was furious. Prometheus had tricked him, and the king of the gods wanted revenge. He also wanted toremind the humans that they would never be as powerful as the gods.So far, there were only men in the human population. Women did not yet exist, although certainly there werefemale gods, or goddesses. Introducing women to the human race was part of Zeus’s plan for revenge. First, Zeuswent to the forge of Hephaestus and asked him to design a human being that would be female. Carefully, Zeusexplained that she should be like the men on earth, yet somehow slightly different.Hephaestus was happy to do Zeus a favor, and he went right to work. The god of fire and the forge was a verytalented smith. Everything he made was beautiful, and his new creation was no different. When he was finishedwith the creature he showed his work to Zeus, who was very pleased with the results. The new creature wasnamed Pandora. She was human, but she was clearly a woman. She was very beautiful and looked like agoddess. She had long flowing hair, flawless skin, and bright shining eyes. She was as graceful as a soft breeze,and she had a smile precious to see. Zeus hoped that her beauty would make the male humans accept and trusther.After Hephaestus had put the finishing touches on the first human woman, the gods showered her with manygifts, including golden-threaded clothes, shining jewelry, and fragrant smelling flowers. Among the gifts was a boxthat was covered with jewels, intricate carvings, and decorations. The box was very pretty, and Pandora wascertain that such a beautiful object must surely contain something of equal magnificence. However, the gods hadgiven Pandora the beautiful box on one condition: She could look at it as much as she liked, but she was never toopen it. Pandora did not understand the reasoning behind this rule, but because the box was so pretty, she agreedto follow the warning of the gods.Soon Pandora went to live on earth with the other humans. When she got there, she met Epimetheus who wasliving among the humans with his brother Prometheus. Epimetheus was overwhelmed by Pandora’s dazzlingbeauty, and he fell in love with, her instantly. Prometheus, aware of his brother’s infatuation with Pandora,became suspicious that Zeus and the other Olympians were planning a trick. Prometheus warned his brother to bewary of any gift sent to earth by the Olympian gods. As usual, Epimetheus did not listen to his brother. He wasvery much in love with Pandora, and despite his brother’s warning, he married the wonderful new creature andbrought her to his home. Epimetheus never thought to ask his new bride about the beautiful box she alwayscarried with her.The couple lived very happily after their marriage. Every day, Pandora would lovingly admire her beautiful box, butshe obeyed the order of the gods and never opened it. Soon, however, looking at the box was not enough. Hercuriosity became stronger and stronger, and finally one day she could no longer resist the urge to open the box,regardless of the consequences.When Pandora opened the box and discovered what was hidden inside its beautiful exterior, she knew at oncethat Zeus’s revenge had been accomplished. Inside the magnificent box were all the evil spirits known to thegods. Now that the lid was open, they all quickly flew out. Sorrow, hunger, anger, disease, madness, and ahundred other horrible conditions filled Pandora’s room and, like smoke, they escaped out into the world to plaguemankind for the rest of time. As the evils swarmed around her, Pandora became frightened. As quickly as shecould, she slammed shut the lid of the box, but Pandora realized that it was too late to regret not having obeyed57


the gods. Their revenge was final. However, Pandora noticed that one spirit still remained in her box. This wasthe spirit of hope.Soon, when they felt the effects of the various plagues and evil spirits that had flown out from Pandora’s box, thepeople on earth understood that their time of peace had ended. The people recognized the power of the gods’revenge, and understood that forces existed that were stronger than their own modest powers. From that time on,the people vowed to do their best to keep from angering the gods any further and were comforted by the fact thathope was safe in Pandora’s box. The knowledge that hope had not been destroyed gave the people faith thatpeace would return some day.ECHO & NARCISSUSGods and Goddesses in Greek Mythology by Michelle M. Houle, 2001Echo was a beautiful mountain nymph who was a favorite friend of Artemis, the goddess of the hunt and a specialprotector of maidens. Echo, friendly and fun-loving, adored talking to her many sisters and friends. Nevertheless,no one ever complained that she talked too much, because Echo was so much fun to be with, and everyone lovedher.One of the other nymphs was having a love affair with Zeus, the king of the gods. Often, the couple would meet ina secret glade in the forest, far from the jealous eyes of Hera, Zeus’s wife. Echo did not know about the affair, andshe did not mind when her friends and sisters asked her to stand guard outside the secret glade. She never eventhought to ask them why the glade needed guarding. All that Echo knew was that her sisters and friends warnedher that her most important job was to keep Hera away from the glade.Before long, Hera heard rumors that her husband was having an affair, and she became determined to find outwhich nymph was tempting her husband away. As she entered the forest and neared the glade, Hera saw Echolounging near a shady group of trees. It was clear to Echo that Hera wanted to enter the glade, and, rememberingher sisters’ warning, Echo struck up a friendly conversation with the goddess, trying to distract her. While Echowas busy chatting with Hera, Zeus and his lover heard Hera’s unmistakable voice and managed to escape beforethey could be discovered.When Hera finally insisted on entering the glade and found that her husband had gotten away, she was furious!And even though Echo had played no part at all in Zeus’s affair, Hera decided to punish her. In a high, shrill voice,the queen of the gods pronounced, “Young lady, your chattering has done you in, and you will be punished for it!From this moment forward, the only words you will ever be able to utter will be exactly those words, no more andno less, that other people have said to you first.”Echo was very upset. She had not meant to make Hera angry. She had only been helping her sisters and friends.Now she was burdened with an unbearable punishment, especially for someone who loved to talk! It seemed likenothing could be worse than silence or being doomed to repeat someone else’s words.Sadly, Echo left the glade, waving silently to her sisters and friends and wondering what she was going to do.Distracted by her thoughts, Echo suddenly found herself near a beautiful pond. There, sitting at the water’s edge,was the handsomest young man Echo had ever seen. Desperately, Echo wished to make conversation with thisyouth, whose name was Narcissus, but since she had no way to talk to him, the young nymph hid herself behinda tree and watched to see what he was doing.Narcissus was so good-looking that people were constantly falling in love with him at first sight. He was tall andnaturally strong, and his curly hair was cut in such a way that it framed his elegant face. Having never seenhimself, however, Narcissus had no idea how handsome he was, and he never understood why he received somuch attention from those around him. In fact, that very day he had come into the forest trying to get away fromall the people who had been gawking at him.Thirsty from his long walk, Narcissus decided to stop at the pond for a drink. As he knelt before the still water, hesaw the most beautiful face staring back at him from beneath the wet surface. But when he reached down to58


touch the beautiful person in the water, the face got blurry and quickly disappeared. Narcissus was so saddenedat the disappearance of the beautiful water person that he sat back on the bank and cried. A few minutes later, helooked into the pond. There was the beautiful face, looking back at him. This time there were sad tears streamingdown the handsome face. Narcissus felt sorry for the beautiful water person. He reached into the water to try tocomfort him, but once again, the water person disappeared.Suddenly, Narcissus heard a rustling in the leaves behind him. He did not know that Echo was hiding nearby,waiting for her chance to attract his attention. Startled and saddened by the disappearance of the beautiful personin the water, Narcissus called out, “Who’s there?” In reply, Echo answered, “Who’s there?” Since she could onlyrepeat the youth’s words, as Hera had commanded her, this was all the conversation she could manage. Echothought Narcissus was beautiful indeed, and she was beginning to fall in love with him. Ashamed of her inabilityto speak, however, she remained hidden. Narcissus was surprised to hear his own words flung back to him, andhe was a little annoyed. Why would anyone be so rude as to repeat the words of someone else? Exasperated,Narcissus turned his attention to the person he saw in the water.Each time Narcissus tried to touch the water, the beautiful person disappeared. Narcissus did not realize thatthere was no person living beneath the surface of the water and that he was actually seeing his own reflection.There was only Narcissus sitting on the bank, looking into the pond. As the sun set behind the trees, the youthcould no longer see his reflection in the water. Calling out to the person he believed to live under the surface of thepond, Narcissus cried, “Wait! You are so beautiful! I love you!” All he heard in reply was the sound of Echo’s voicerepeating his words from her hiding place among the trees.Narcissus had fallen deeply in love with the person he thought he saw in the water, just as Echo had fallen in lovewith him. Day after day, the youth and the nymph sat near the pond, Narcissus staring at his reflection and Echostaring at him. Narcissus pined for his appearing and disappearing love, and Echo sat nearby, fists clenched infrustration, wishing she could speak her own thoughts.As time went by, the unhappy lovers forgot to sleep, eat, or drink, so distracted were they by their unfulfilled loves.After some time, Narcissus noticed that the person in the water had grown thin and tired. He did not understandthat it was he who was withering away. From her hiding place, Echo could see Narcissus wasting away, but shecould not see how equally gaunt she was becoming herself.Day after day, Narcissus became more and more distraught as he sat by the bank of the pond, staring mournfullyat the water. One day, overcome with frustration, he called out, “My Jove, why do you ignore me? Do you not seethat I am dying for you?” Hiding in the woods, Echo responded, “My love, why do you ignore me? Do you not seethat I am dying for you?” Consumed by his own overwhelming sadness, Narcissus took no notice of the nymph’srepetitive answers. He leaned down, clutching at the water, but he could no longer go on. Exhausted, Narcissusdied by the water’s edge, trying to embrace his mysterious lover.At the moment of his death, the gods took pity on the youth and his misdirected love and turned him into theflower called the narcissus. Echo, watching her Jove transform into a beautiful flower before her eyes, weptsilently from her hiding place in the forest. Thus weeping, she died too, leaving only her echoing voice behind.59


MARY ZIMMERMAN ON ADAPTATION AND FRANK GALATIMary Zimmerman, a Tony-award winning director and Goodman Theatre Artistic Associate has a unique wayof working when she sets about adapting a new piece for the theatre. In the following article, she speaksabout her process as an adaptor and director and also about Frank Galati who was one of her professors andmentors at Northwestern University.from “Stage Persona: Mary Zimmerman” by Jonathan Abarbanel: Performink, May 12, 2000Zimmerman is famous for beginning rehearsals without a script (unless, of course, she’s directing Shakespeare orsome such, which she’s done at the New York Shakespeare Festival, no less). But the absence of a script doesn’tmean the absence of a text, she explains."I will start on the first day, and there will be a scene I’m thinking of doing or an episode or a story. And we’ll sit ina circle and pass the book around, and everyone reads a paragraph or stanza and passes it on to the next person.And we talk about it, talk about what we like in it, what seems to be important about it. So there is always a textthat’s backgrounding. So it’s not a total freefall at all."The script comes next, but it’s not developed through improv. "I’m very controlling about that," says Zimmerman."I’m a real stickler about saying this: I don’t do verbal improvisation. I write it. But what I will do is tons ofphysical and imagistic improvisation. Like, I’ve this idea how to do the camel, or I’ve this idea how to do the boat.And then we try it. Usually, 80 percent works or doesn’t, and then we ditch it or improve, and go on to somethingelse."While she admits she may be "kind of tap dancing" with her cast, "trying to keep them occupied while I getahead," she says she usually has some text by the second day. She adds, "sometimes there’s text because I had towrite some scenes for the auditions. Sometimes those scenes end up in the play and sometimes they don’t, but Ican start there. I don’t ever start anything dead cold. If you’re doing The Arabian Nights, you’re doing it becauseyou like this story and that story. I just dive into what I know I’m going to do. I know I love this scene, so we’llstart there. I start with the thing I have confidence about, and we’ll branch out in all directions from there."One of the greatest challenges of her dual process of writing and directing, she says, is juggling cast members whousually play multiple roles in her works."Certain central roles are assigned at the beginning, but the ensemble isn’t," says Zimmerman. "So every night,when I’m getting ready to bring in a scene, I have to be casting it in my head. And I’m nowhere near ruthlessenough to give someone something and then take it away from them, even though I announce at the very firstrehearsal that that might happen. It’s a huge chess game in my head; it’s really stressful."Proust and DaVinci aside, Zimmerman’s most notable works have been drawn from antique texts of the non-Western world, and all have been works with strong narrative lines. In addition to what she calls her "narrativecompulsion," she believes she’s drawn to them because they all originally were oral texts."To me, they translate extremely well back into performance because they come from performance," saysZimmerman. "They come from being told aloud, and then are fixed in some print form or another. Also, the thingsthat novels or stories do that’s different than things that are written for the stage are interesting. The way theymove through time really quickly, or slow down time, or dwell on a moment, or go over 15 years in two sentences.And that they can invoke the absolutely fantastical in a way a playwright would not; because he knows he’swriting for the theatre, and that this would be an impossible image. I like to confront those impossible images andtry to do them."Zimmerman’s works all have been notable for their use of music and for visual impact, both the design elementsand the elaborate movement/choreography. Not a dancer herself, without any plastic skills of sketching orsculpting and claiming to be "a musical moron," she nonetheless succeeds in creating remarkable and arrestingimagery. She says she doesn’t know where her visual ideas comes from, although "they tend to come when I’m in60


motion," she says, and she tries to pay attention to her dream images. As for visual influences, she claims that herpersonal taste in art favors "really bourgeois 19th century representational painting" and that she thinks of herselfas loving to see dance, although she actually may attend only two or three dance performances a year. Also, shereports that she has "books and books and books of photographs."Half-jokingly, she explains that she came to directing because she couldn’t express herself in other ways. "I sort offelt like I’d found my vocation, because I used to have fantasies of being able to record my dreams on a machine,or hire someone to paint the images I saw. This was an adolescent fantasy, because I didn’t have the skill. Isuppose if I’d trained, I could’ve, but it just sort of felt beyond me. I don’t know the conventions of translatingthree dimensions onto the page. I take photographs, but so does everyone."As for other directors Zimmerman admires, she names Peter Brook (who’s Hamlet will come to ChicagoShakespeare Theatre next season), Julie Taymor, and choreographer Pina Bausch, whom Zimmerman cites as amajor influence. But she credits her Northwestern professors–Frank Galati, Paul Edwards and Leland Roloff–asteaching her the most about theatre, with special emphasis on Galati."I can remember many, many quotes from Frank," says Zimmerman. "I was a sophomore, I remember his sayingto us, 'Don’t act, be.’ And I also remember him saying 'Concern is concentration.’ But mostly the things I pickedup from Frank are very practical, canny, showbizzy things, of which he is a genius. Instead of staging left to right,to stage upstage to downstage. How much more dynamic that is. I think he was teaching me that there is a craftto it. And also how to be as a director. I was in shows directed by him, and he had a separate way of how hespoke to each actor, depending on how they needed to be spoken to. One he’d be very technical with, the nextvery emotional with. Dry, or warm, or however they most liked to work, he was going to find that out and speak intheir own language to them. He’s an intensely generous director."But she most credits Galati with giving her a generous world view of theatre. "I began to understand from him thatthe truly sophisticated position isn’t to dislike things, but to like things. And that the truly sophisticated theatregoerunderstands the essential virtue of everything he or she sees. Not what’s stupid and bad about it. Frankalways saw the love and the effort in everything he went to. He could find the affirmation and the joy in the silliestlittle nothing thing. He could see that it was remaking the world in its own little way."61


ADDITIONAL RESOURCES63


SEX AND THE 7-YEAR-OLD BOYThe concept of the Oedipus complex is not the exclusive realm of psychoanalysts and skeptical scientists.One mother found herself in the midst of a grand experiment before she even realized what was happening.“Sex and the 7-year-old Boy” by Mona Gable: www.salon.com, May 1, 1998Parenting manuals don’t tell you how to handle it when your son has a crush on you.My son is in love with me. This is no surprise. After all, I have nice green eyes and Jennifer Aniston-type hair,though regrettably not her long-stemmed legs. More importantly, I can tick off the names of the Los AngelesLakers, play a tough game of Junior Monopoly and have a high tolerance for jokes that revolve around the letter"p." What 7-year-old boy wouldn't adore me?I grew up in a house of rowdy boys, boys with no-nonsense masculine names like Jack and Tom and Jim. In someways this made it easy for me when my son came along, red-faced and furious and eager to devour the world. Iknew what to expect. Loud grunting noises and flying objects. Toilet seats never put down. Clothes left in a heapon the floor as if the Wicked Witch had just waved her broom and made the person in them disappear. Apreference for toys with an excess of body parts and names like "venom."What I was not prepared for, what caught me totally off-guard, was my son's romantic feelings for me. A fewmornings ago I was standing in the bathroom, looking like a mean raccoon. My hair was piled loosely on my head,mascara ringed my eyes from the night before. "You look like hell," I said to the mirror. Suddenly, there was thislittle voice. It was so quiet and small, so unlike my son's normal full-throttle roar, I almost didn't hear it. "No, youdon't, Mom." I looked down. My son was staring up at me, his huge gray eyes full of longing, his heart bangingfuriously in his little bony chest. "You're the most beautiful woman in the world." The scary thing was he meant it.What guy ever said that to me with such purity of motive and heart?This intent pining for me began, normally enough, when he was 4. I'd go to sit down on the couch or a chair andhe'd slide his hand under me, grinning madly. I'd go to hug him and he'd burrow his little head into my breasts,lingering there a minute too long. I'd be taking a shower and suddenly the curtain would be flung aside by a pintsizedblond in Ninja Turtle briefs. "Mommy's in the shower," I'd say. "Oh," he'd say, holding his ground.That my son was intense didn't help matters. He was, as the books charitably call it, a "spirited child" -- which isto say volatile and active and completely unlike my friends' babies. Fervor extended to everything he did. For atime when he was 2 and 3, he was obsessed with his father. My husband would do something fairlynonthreatening -- leave the room, say -- and our child would go insane, flinging his skinny toddler self on the floor,or worse, hurling himself after my husband out the door.I remember in particular one long, miserable weekend in Solana Beach. We'd driven down from Los Angeles torelax, have a good time, which only goes to show you how delusional as parents we still were. Every time myhusband wanted to head out to go bodysurfing or for a swim in the pool he'd have to sneak out of our hotel roomor frantic screaming would ensue. It mattered not that I, the mother, the one who had spent 30 hours in mindalteringlabor, was readily available for fun and games, a romp in the pool. No, my son wanted his father. Andhow dare I presume to be a worthy substitute? Nothing like the rejection of a 3-year-old to make you feel reallysmall. But by then I had another baby so I didn't have much time to brood about it.So when my son latched on to me again it came as somewhat of a shock. He wanted me, but now he wanted melike Lyle Lovett crooning about unrequited love. He pouted if I didn't hug him tightly enough or cuddle with him onthe couch. He cried if I wouldn't lay down next to him after I read him a story at night. "All right, leave!" he'd sayangrily, turning his back to me in bed, as though we'd just had a lover's quarrel. Then, of course, he'd protestloudly when I did.64


I tried not to let all this bother me. I knew that little boys did this, developed erotic feelings for their mothersaround the time they turned 4. It said so right there in the updated edition of Dr. Spock, and that eventually thesefeelings would abate. Some of my friends' sons were also behaving this way, acting like drunken high-school boyson a date trying to cop a feel. I was damned if I was going to be uptight about it, do something that would makemy son feel bad about himself or, God forbid, cause him to grow up sexually repressed. A child of the liberated'70s I was going to handle this right.We had talks. Frank, straightforward talks. About how mommies and daddies touch each other. About howmommies and children touch each other. Whenever his hand would stray into the no-touching zone again, I'dremove it and gently remind him to keep his little mitts to himself. I bought a children's book that discussed boys'bodies and girls' bodies, with cartoonlike illustrations of vital parts. We said the words "penis" and "vagina" withdevil-may-care abandon.Every so often, my husband would happen in on one of these conversations, roll his eyes and accuse me ofhopelessly confusing our son, perhaps even warping him for life. "He's too young. He doesn't understand," he'dsay. "Of course he does," I'd snap back. I had no idea whether he did understand everything I was telling him, ofcourse. It's not like you can give a 5-year-old a sexual comprehension test. But I was doing what I felt was right. Ianswered questions when he asked them. I kept the explanations simple. We rented "Look Who's Talking," and inthe opening scene when the talking sperm are frantically trying to penetrate the egg and my son turned to me andasked, "What are those little wiggly things?" I didn't flinch, didn't turn off the set. I said they were sperm and thatthey came from the daddy's penis and that they went into the mommy's body. "That's how babies are made," Isaid. "Eeeeuuu!" my son squealed with a mixture of wonder and disgust. I knew then I'd done my job.Then gradually, mercifully, the sex problem went away. My son grew older, got distracted from his passion for me,lost interest. There was another girl in his life, Sarah -- Sarah with the long blond braid and big gray eyes, whoraced him every morning on the school blacktop. I was relieved.Then a few months ago, something happened that jolted me back awake. It began with my son and his bestfriend, James, who lives next door. I adore James. He's as round, mellow and dark as my son is wiry, incendiaryand pale. If there were a movie made about the two of them it would be called "Buddha and the Little Beast."Another reason I adore James is because he finds it impossible not to tell the truth. This is bad for my son, butgood for me.On this occasion James was over at our house playing basketball in the patio. He and my son were talking aboutJames' teenage brother. I was in the kitchen when I heard them giggling wildly and in the next split second theuncommon phrase, "He sexed her."I came out to the patio. I stood on the steps. I looked at them. They looked at me. More giggling. I smiled. AsJoan Didion once wrote of a scene involving Nancy Reagan plucking a rose for a cameraman, the moment wasevolving its own choreography. James held his hand over his mouth and giggled again. I could see I was going tohave to deal with this."What do you think that means, 'he sexed her'?" I asked in my most neutral voice."He put his tongue in her mouth," James giggled."He rubbed on her with his shirt off," my son added, even more hysterical.I was tempted to say, "Boy, are you guys misinformed," but held my sarcasm in check. I'm not exactly sure what Isaid. I think I told James he might want to have a talk with his parents. I think I also said something to the effectthat sex is not a verb but a noun, turning this potential sex education moment into a grammar lesson. But it wasclear I was not off the hook.After James went home I got my son a popsicle and sat with him on the porch steps while he ate it. I thoughtabout what to say. On the one hand, I didn't want to make a big deal out of it, insist that James' brother had65


absolutely not been having sex and how could you think that? and launching into a detailed explanation of sexualintercourse. That seemed a bit neurotic. On the other hand, I wanted to be sure he had a handle on the basics,that he understood sex was not just an act, but caught up in all sorts of complicated and lovely emotions."Do you remember what I told you about sex?" I said."You mean about the penis going into the vagina?" my son said with a silly grin."Yes," I said. "But sex is not just how people make babies. It's the way mommies and daddies show how muchthey love each other."This perked my son's interest, so I went on. I babbled on about how sex was the most beautiful thing in the worldthat two people who loved each other could share. I talked about the magic feelings surrounding being in love.Then suddenly I noticed my son looking at me in a strange sort of horrified way, as if I'd just blithely informed himhis pet goldfish had died."What's the matter?" I said."You love Daddy more than me because you two have sex!" he said, beginning to cry. "I don't ever want to everhear about sex again!"Well, I just about fell over, I was so stunned. Here, I'd given my 7-year-old what I thought was an inspiring lectureon sex and love, and he'd managed to twist it into some bizarre Freudian conspiracy pitting parents against theirchildren.I tried to repair the damage. I told him that's not what I meant at all, but that mommies and daddies feel adifferent love for each other than they do for their children, which only made him howl more. I told him I lovedhim more than anything and that he was being silly, which only made him madder. I tried hugging him, and hepushed me bitterly away. No matter what I said, he refused to calm down. Unfortunately, sometime in here myhusband showed up, demanding to know what the hysteria was all about. I don't think I explained the situationvery well because his immediate response was, "What did you tell him that for?"Over the next few weeks, my son showed distinct signs of regressing. He trailed me wherever I went, refusing tolet me out of his sight. He was like cat hair on a wool skirt, I couldn't get him off of me. Whenever his father wentto hug me, he threw himself between us in a preemptive jealous fit. But he wasn't mad at my husband, it was mehe was furious with. No matter how much affection I gave him, he accused me of giving his sister and his fathermore. I felt terrible, guilty. After all, wasn't I the one who'd screwed him up, made him hopelessly insecure?"What should I do?" I asked my friend Maura on the phone one day. "He won't leave me alone.""I don't know," she said. "Have you tried seeing if anything's been written about it?"The next day, I went to a bookstore near my office in Westwood. I sat down on the floor in front of the Parentingsection and scanned the titles until my eyes felt bloody. There were books on infancy, books on potty training,books on "growing girls," books celebrating motherhood, books exposing motherhood. There was also, to my greatrelief, an entire shelf of books on adolescence and, to my general annoyance, a slew of books on the "new father."But nothing vaguely titled "How to Deal with Your 7-Year-Old Son's Sexual Interest in You." Sitting there, Isuddenly felt this lump in my throat, which I recognized as a perverse nostalgia for the days when I could flip openPenelope Leach or T. Berry Brazelton and find exactly the advice I needed on tantrums or separation anxiety orwhen to introduce solid foods. I looked so hard that when I finally stood up I felt disoriented, like I do when I'vebeen at the Glendale Galleria too long with the kids and if I don't get out of there in the next 10 seconds I'm goingto start screaming in Hindi.Time passed. I was quiet. I did not open my big mouth about sex. When my son was overly demanding of myattention, I tried to give it to him without being overly indulgent. I told him I loved him often, as I had done from66


the moment he was born. "You have no idea how much I love you," he said to me at night when I tucked him inbed. "Oh, yes, I do," I said.Then one Saturday afternoon, he was playing out on the patio and he said, "I'm not going to worry about sexanymore." Just like that. I wanted desperately to ask him what had brought him to this newfound state of innerpeace, but I controlled myself. I smiled. He smiled back. I was happy he felt OK again.Things have calmed down considerably since then. I wish I could tell you why. I wish I could say it's because ofsome incredibly wise thing I did or said. Or some marvelous chapter in a book I'd read. But the truth is, I think myson's attraction to me was like every phase of childhood, only a matter of his growing out of it, of the vagaries ofcharacter. Of a little boy who will always be passionate about everything in his life. Especially me.The other morning it was Sunday, and we were sitting on the living room couch together. My son had his head inmy lap and was looking up at me in a certain bemused way -- a way that means he's either going to tickle me ordo something wonderfully silly. Then he began speaking, like he sometimes does, in mock French."Oh, my cherie, you are ze most buuteeful voman in ze world," he said. "Oh, no," I said, laughing. "Oh, oui oui!"67


THE THERAPIST AS SCIENTISTThis Newsweek article, run in the same issue as the article featured earlier in this guide regarding Freud at 150,explores Freud’s early yet noteworthy work as a true scientist.“The Therapist as Scientist” by Claudia Kalb: Newsweek, March 27, 2006Before inventing psychoanalysis, Freud dissected fish and studied the anatomy of the human brainstem.The year is 1876 and Sigmund Freud's scientific career is about to begin. The id, the ego, the superego? Nowhereto be found. When he travels to the University of Vienna's zoological station in Trieste, Italy, sometime around his20th birthday, the young med student embarks on a far less esoteric task: hunting for the testicles of the eel. Formillennia, the animal's mating habits had confounded scientists, including Aristotle. Could Freud solve themystery? Not exactly. Four hundred dissected eels later, the organs remained elusive. But Freud did acquireenough material to write his first scientific paper. Title: "Observations on the Form and the Finer Structure of theLobular Organs of the Eel, Organs Considered to be Testes."Long before the Oedipus complex, Sigmund Freud was a hard-core scientist. Early on, it was eel gonads; later, hestudied the cellular underpinnings of the human brain. There were limits, however, to Freud's scientific pursuits—brain scans hadn't been invented yet, DNA wouldn't be discovered until after his death and, eventually, Freudabandoned biology for psychology. But today, as neuroscientists unravel the molecular pathways that make usthink and feel and dream, the seeds of Freud's ideas are finding their way into the lab. Researchers are tappinginto the chemistry of the unconscious, exploring the theory of repression, even testing ways to block traumaticmemories.What they are finding does not necessarily prove Freud right or wrong—MRIs cannot begin to measure thesubtleties of human emotion—and the work is still in its infancy. But after decades of polarization betweenneuroscience (the study of the brain) and psychoanalysis (exploration of the mind), the two fields are beginning tofind common ground. Freud, says Dr. Jack Gorman, president of Harvard's McLean Hospital, would haveapproved: "I think he'd be right there with us in the lab."It was in the lab that Freud's interest in science exploded. After the eel, he studied the nervous system of thelamprey and the crayfish, even devising his own novel staining method so he could see the details of living cellsmore clearly under the micro-scope. By the early 1880s he had moved on to the human brainstem. In elegantdrawings, which will be exhibited by the New York Academy of Medicine in May, Freud sketched spinal neuronsand fiber pathways in meticulous detail. Science became Freud's mistress. "Precious darling ... I am at themoment tempted by the desire to solve the riddle of the structure of the brain," he wrote in a letter to his fiancée,Martha Bernays, in May 1885. "I think brain anatomy is the only legitimate rival you have or will ever have."But brain anatomy alone could not earn Freud the money he needed to marry and start a family. So "verybegrudgingly," says Mark Solms, director of the International Neuro-Psychoanalysis Centre in London, Freud beganto study live patients, too. He diagnosed cases of cerebral hemorrhage and spinal inflammation. He publishedvolumes on cerebral palsy and aphasia, a loss of language due to brain injury. And, after studying with theneurologist Jean-Martin Charcot in Paris, he began treating adults with "hysteria," a catch-all diagnosis forsymptoms which had no clear physical explanation, like hallucinations and temporary blindness. "This is whenFreud began to realize that the study of the mind was important," says Dr. Regina Pally, a psychoanalyst at UCLos Angeles. "He discovered when he talked to patients that there were emotional conflicts going on that werebeing expressed in symptoms." Something bigger—the unconscious—Freud posited, must be at work.At the time, brain science was relatively primitive and matters of the mind were largely the province ofphilosophers. Freud was not convinced. The brain, he believed, was "a dynamic interaction between parts," saysSolms, "not a concrete switchboard." In 1895, in his "Project for a Scientific Psychology," Freud attempted topresent a cohesive model of the brain and mind. In dozens of pages of notes, he explored the biological roots ofmental abstractions, even describing the neurons responsible for consciousness, memory and perception. But the68


science of the day fell short and Freud abandoned the project. (It was published after his death.) Still, "he wasvery prescient about how mental processes could work," says Dr. Eric Kandel of Columbia University. "Hedeveloped the notion that the neuron is the element of the brain and that contacts between neurons can bemodified by learning."Today, neuroscientists have picked up where Freud left off. Brain scanners now allow researchers to observe theinner workings of the mind, from where dreams originate to how stress affects neurotransmitters. Kandel andcolleagues at Columbia, for example, used functional MRI technology to track the brains of students as they wereshown fleeting pictures of fearful faces. Participants said they never saw the images, but their brains revealedotherwise: the amygdala, the fear center, lit up. "It's one way to demonstrate that the unconscious really exists,"says Gorman.Does the brain repress unwanted memories? And can you test that in a lab? Critics say no. Michael Anderson, apsychologist at the University of Oregon, says yes. In a series of experiments in which he set out to find theneurological footprints of "motivated forgetting," Anderson trained people to memorize simple unrelated word pairslike "ordeal" and "roach." Then he hooked them up to an MRI and asked them to repress their own memories bylooking at the first word and not thinking about the second. The scans showed an intriguing circuitry at work: thehippocampus (responsible for retrieving memories) exhibited reduced activity, while the lateral prefrontal cortex(which helps to inhibit reflexive actions, like pulling your hand back from a hot plate) showed more. Activerepression also made it harder to recall the memory later. It's a long way from suppressing a linguistic roach toburying a traumatic experience with a real one, but Anderson believes the same mental mechanism is at work: "Ithink Freud was onto something."Other scientists are using brain imaging to uncover the neurological circuitry of the mind in conflict—the drive forpleasure and the simultaneous impulse toward inhibition. They're studying early-life trauma and its long-termeffects. And they are even testing drugs in patients with posttraumatic stress disorder to see if they canintentionally quash bad memories.None of this, however, answers the most pressing question: does psychoanalysis actually work? Analysts havebeen reluctant to put their very private practice to the test, and the challenges are indeed daunting. Chief amongthem: how can you assess "outcomes" when individual experiences are so variable? But "it's imperative that we dothis," says Dr. Steven Roose of Columbia's Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research, who is now launchinga multisite trial of more than 300 patients. The study will use standardized scales to compare psychoanalysis totwo other forms of therapy (cognitive behavioral and dynamic psychotherapy). "We have to demonstrate that ourtreatment is effective if we want to maintain our standing in the world of clinical medicine." It will be at least fiveyears before the results are in. Make room on the couch, and wait.69


WHY FREUD MATTERSHarold Bloom, who profiles Sigmund Freud in his book, Geniuses, also contributed the following article to the WallStreet Journal last year. In it he explores why Freud remains a powerful influence in world culture. Bloom wasinfluential to Frank Galati as he created Oedipus Complex.“Why Freud Matters” by Harold Bloom: Wall Street Journal, May 5, 2006Sigmund Freud, one of the crucial authors and thinkers of the 20th century, was born in Moravia in 1856, andtaken to Vienna as a child by his Jewish father and mother. Only a few professions were open to Jews in 19thcenturyVienna, one of them being medicine. Freud consequently received a medical degree in 1881, and thenwrote on hysteria. He would become the founder of modern psychoanalysis, among his many other achievements.Freud died in England in 1939, after being ransomed from the Gestapo subsequent to the Nazi takeover inAustria. It is now exactly 150 years since his birth and two-thirds of a century since his death, and there is still nogeneral agreement on the nature of his achievement. Yet 20th-century literature truly begins with Freud.Freud was so prolific that any choice of his most significant books is somewhat arbitrary, but certainly theywould include The Interpretation of Dreams (1900), The Psychopathology of Everyday Life (1901) andThree Contributions to the Theology of Sexuality (1905), in his earlier phase. As he developed and refined histheories, Freud composed a series of "cultural" studies including Totem and Taboo (1912), Civilization andIts Discontents (1930) and Moses and Monotheism (1939). Though these continue to be influential, they are notas vital as what seems to me his strongest works: Beyond the Pleasure Principle (1920), Inhibitions,Symptoms, Anxiety (1926), and the posthumously published, misleadingly titled An Outline of Psychoanalysis(1940).Freud argued that psychoanalysis was a science, which in time would make a substantial contribution tobiology. Almost no one now agrees with that hope, which was aptly dismissed by the brilliant Viennese Jewishsatirist Karl Kraus, who observed that only the most fantastic elements in psychoanalysis were true. Even morememorably, Kraus wounded Freud by asserting that psychoanalysis was itself the disease of which it purported tobe the cure.Increasingly we have come to see that Freud has more in common with the moral essayist Michel de Montaignethan he does with the scientist Charles Darwin. To be, as Freud was, the Montaigne of the 20th century, was tobe equal to the other major writers of that era: James Joyce, Marcel Proust, Franz Kafka, just as Montaignehimself was the peer of Cervantes and of Shakespeare. I find the phrase, "the literary Freud," to be a redundancy,just as it would sound odd to speak of "the literary Joyce" or "the literary Proust."Freud maps our minds by mapping his own, which was Montaigne's procedure. The philosopher LudwigWittgenstein, who disliked both Freud and Shakespeare, sought to dismiss Freudian thought as "a powerfulmythology," but that was accurate discernment, and not dismissal. Montaigne's art of telling the truth about theself is akin to Freud's artful mythology of the self, which he intended as truth. But is it? Yes and no, no andyes. Wittgenstein emphasized the "no" while nevertheless admiring Freud as a writer who had "something to say."One could change that to: "everything to say." Freud is interested in virtually everything, and teaches his readervery nearly all that can be taught.That a supposed scientist should become a universal author is a strange fate, but then Freud, writing to afriend, described himself as a conquistador. He also identified himself, rather darkly, with Macbeth, and withHannibal of Carthage, nemesis of Rome. These are rather aggressive personae and reflect Freud's agonisticambitions more than his extraordinary dignity of being. For years, I have meditated upon Freud's self-revelation ina thought he added to an interleaved copy of The Psychopathology of Everyday Life:Rage, anger, and consequently a murderous impulse is the source of superstition in obsessionalneurotics: a sadistic component, which is attached to love and is therefore directed against theloved person and repressed precisely because of this link and because of its intensity. -- My own70


superstition has its roots in suppressed ambition (immortality) and in my case takes the place ofthat anxiety about death which springs from the normal uncertainty of life.The second use of "superstition" here is a complex irony. Freud insists he does not fear dying, because his questis to become a memorial inscription never to be effaced. The undersong is Freud's moral injunction that each ofus needs to accept "reality-testing," by making friends with the necessity of dying.As a secular moralist, Freud rejected all transcendentalisms, but his worship of the reality principle mightbe interpreted as a rather skewed vestige of Platonism. Essentially, Freud's ambition was to become acomprehensive influence upon futurity, while insisting that he himself had evaded all influence. He went so far asto deny that he ever had read Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, which manifestly is unlikely. But his influence uponthe 20th century was extraordinary, though it begins to wane now in the 21st, when organized superstitions are atwar throughout the world.Freud's triumph was that millions of people who never read him nevertheless internalized his categories,a phenomenon still prevalent among us. We unthinkingly think we are governed by the psychic agencies heinvented: id, ego, superego, which necessarily are merely useful fictions, and not components of the self. Again,we tend to believe we possess libido, a particular energy that fuels sexual desire, but libido is another fiction orFreudian metaphor. My favorite speculation on Freud's influence is to wonder what would have happened had hedecided we had "destrudo" as well as libido. He briefly entertained the idea of destrudo as fuel for the Death Drive,just as libido energized Eros, but then rejected the notion. Had he settled upon destrudo, would we not now goabout, on our more self-destructive days, muttering that our destrudo was raging within us?Freud was unhappy that psychoanalysis was captured by the American medical profession, since he loathed boththe United States (which he visited once, briefly) and most physicians. He favored lay analysis, to be carried onby persons of profound learning and culture. In every way, Freud was an elitist, who feared the anti-Semiticviolence always latent in the lower classes of Europe. A professed atheist, Freud saw himself as another Moses,one who would found a new Judaism in psychoanalysis.Freud today seems both archaic and persistent. His art of therapy ebbs away, replaced by psychic chemistry;and psychoanalysis is a conceptual concern largely to social scientists and to whatever few humanists still huddleamong us. Freud liked to joke that he had invented psychoanalysis because it had no literature, but literature itselfclearly informed Freud. He owed Shakespeare so much that he fiercely adopted the lunatic thesis that the Earl ofOxford had written all of Shakespeare. Only a great nobleman could have conceived Hamlet and Macbeth, whohaunt all of Freud's work. It was unacceptable that the son of a Stratford glovemaker should have been Freud'sauthentic forerunner. Prestige, both social and professional, mattered immensely to Freud.Sigmund Freud persists today, but not as a scientist or even as a healer. The late Francis Crick observed thatFreud was a Viennese physician who wrote a very good prose style, but while funny enough that is hardlyadequate. Freud matters because he shares in the qualities of Proust and Joyce: cognitive insight, stylisticsplendor, wisdom. That remains all on earth we can hope to study and to know.71


LETTERS TO WILHELM FLIESSSelected letters from Freud to Fliess are provided here, as reproduced in Freud: a life for our time by Peter Gay.Dear Wilhelm,Vienna, November 2, 1896IX., Berggasse 19I find it so difficult to write just now that I have put off for a long time thanking you for the moving words in yourletter. By one of those dark pathways behind the official consciousness the old man’s death has affected medeeply. I valued him highly, understood him very well, and with his peculiar mixture of deep wisdom and fantasticlight-heartedness he had a significant effect on my life. By the time he died, his life had long been over, but in[my] inner self the whole past has been reawakened by this event.I now feel quite uprooted.Otherwise, I am writing about infantile paralyses (Pegasus yoked)’ and am enjoying my four cases and especiallylook forward to the prospect of talking to you for several hours. Lonely, that is understood. Perhaps I shall tell youa few small wild things in return for your marvelous ideas and findings. Less enjoyable is the state of my practicethis year, on which my mood always remains dependent. With heart and nose I am satisfied again.Recently I heard the first reaction to my incursion into psychiatry. From it I quote: “Gruesome, horrible, old wives’psychiatry.” That was Rieger in Würzburg. I was highly amused. And, of all things, about paranoia, which hasbecome so transparent!Your book is still keeping us waiting. Wernicke recently referred a patient to me, a lieutenant who is in the officers’hospital.I must tell you about a nice dream I had the night after the funeral I was in a place where I read a sign:You are requestedto close the eyes.I immediately recognized the location as the barbershop I visit every day. On the day of the funeral I was keptwaiting and therefore arrived a little late at the house of mourning. At that time my family was displeased with mebecause I had arranged for the funeral to be quiet and simple, which they later agreed was quite justified. Theywere also somewhat offended by my lateness. The sentence on the sign has a double meaning: one should doone’s duty to the dead (an apology as though I had not done it and were in need of leniency), and the actual dutyitself. The dream thus stems from the inclination to self-reproach that regularly sets in among the survivors.I see little of the betrothed couple and the affair, unfortunately, gives me little pleasure. He is more sober andcalmer, but his (and your) parents-in-law seem to show little adroitness in handling the relationship. It is not apleasant topic between us; if you prefer, we shall not talk about it. It’s all rubbish, in any event.My most cordial greetings to I.F. and R.W. my wife probably is already with you.YourSigm.P.S. If Martha needs some money for purchases you will no doubt lend it to her.My dear Wilhelm,72October 3, 1897My visit has had the advantage of acquainting me with the framework of your current work in its entirety, so thatyou can relate further details to me. You must not expect a response to everything, and with regard to some of my


esponses you will not, I hope, fail to take into account that your work is strange to me and my judgment weak.Nevertheless, each time I am grateful to you for every little item that you unselfishly let come my way. Forexample, your comments on the relationship between infection and conception in mother and daughter seemed tome highly significant because these can after all be explained only by a condition in the eternal life of theprotoplasm and not by one in the life of the individual—that is, because they must be dependent on absolute timeand not on lifetime. It then occurred to me that this is after all not necessary if the infection in the mother accordswith a time period given by the formula A X 28 plus B X 23, and the conception of the daughter by a similarexpression, so that the difference between the two must again yield a similar formula without there having to exista special relationship between infection here and conception there. Whether this is nonsense I cannot tell. To dothis I would need to know your “timely disposition.”There is still very little happening to me externally, but internally something very interesting. For the last four daysmy self-analysis, which I consider indispensable for the clarification of the whole problem, has continued indreams and has presented me with the most valuable elucidations and clues. At certain points I have the feelingof being at the end, and so far I have always known where the next dream-night would continue. To put it inwriting is more difficult than anything else for me; it also would take me too far afield. I can only indicate that theold man plays no active part in my case, but that no doubt I drew an inference by analogy from myself onto him;that in my case the “prime originator” was an ugly, elderly, but clever woman, who told me a great dear aboutGod Almighty and hell and who instilled in me a high opinion of my own capacities that later (between two andtwo and a half years) my libido toward matrem was awakened, namely, on the occasion of a journey with her fromLeipzig to Vienna, during which we must have spent the night together and there must have been an opportunityof seeing her nudam (you inferred the consequences of this for your son long ago, as a remark revealed to me);that I greeted my one-year-younger brother (who died after a few months) with adverse wishes and genuinechildhood jealousy and that his death left the germ of [self-]reproaches in me. I have also long known thecompanion of my misdeeds between the ages of one and two years; it is my nephew, a year older than myself,who is now living in Manchester and who visited us in Vienna when I was fourteen years old. The two of us seemoccasionally to have behaved cruelly to my niece, who was a year younger. This nephew and this younger brotherhave determined, then, what is neurotic, but also what is intense, in all my friendships. You yourself have seen mytravel anxiety its height.I have not yet grasped anything at all of the scenes themselves which lie at the bottom of the story. If they come[to light] and I succeed in resolving my own hysteria, then I shall be grateful to the memory of the old woman whoprovided me at such an early age with the means for living and going on living. As you see, the old liking isbreaking through again today. I cannot convey to you any idea of the intellectual beauty of this work.The children will return tomorrow morning. Business is still very poor. I fear that if it gets better, it might presentan obstacle to my self-analysis. My insight that the difficulties in treatment are due to the fact that in the end oneis laying bare the patient’s evil inclinations, his will to remain ill, is becoming stronger and clearer. We shall seewhat happens.I cordially greet you and your little family, and hope to receive soon again some crumbs from your table.YourSigm.Dear Wilhelm,October 15, 1897My self-analysis is in fact the most essential thing I have at present and promises to become of the greatest valueto me if it reaches its end. In the middle of it, it suddenly ceased for three days, during which I had the feeling ofbeing tied up inside (which patients complain of so much), and I was really disconsolate until I found that thesesame three days (twenty-eight days, ago) were the bearers of identical somatic phenomena. Actually only two baddays with a remission in between. From this one should draw the conclusion that the female period is notconducive to work. Punctually on the fourth day, it started again. Naturally, the pause also had anotherdeterminant — the resistance to something surprisingly new. Since then I have been once again intensely73


preoccupied [with it], mentally fresh, though afflicted with all sorts of minor disturbances that come from thecontent of the analysis.My practice, uncannily, still leaves me a great deal of free time. The whole thing is all the more valuable for mypurposes, since I have succeeded in finding a few real points of reference for the story, I asked my mother whethershe still remembered the nurse. “Of course,” she said, “an elderly person, very clever, she was always carrying youoff to some church; when you returned home you preached and told us all about God Almighty. During myconfinement with Anna (two and a half years younger), it was discovered that she was a thief, and all the shinynew kreuzexs and zehners and all the toys that had been given to you were found in her possession. Your brotherPhilipp himself fetched the policeman; she then was given ten months in prison.” Now look at how this confirmsthe conclusions of my dream interpretation. It was easy for me to explain the only possible mistake. I wrote to youthat she induced me to steal zehners and give them to her. In truth, the dream meant that she stole them herself.For the dream picture was a memory of my taking money from the mother of a doctor — that is, wrongfully. Thecorrect interpretation is: I = she, and the mother of the doctor equals my mother. So far was I from knowing shewas a thief that I made a wrong interpretation.I also inquired about the doctor we had had in Freiberg because one dream concentrated a good deal ofresentment on him. In the analysis of the dream figure behind which he was concealed, I also thought of aProfessor von Kraus my history teacher in high school. He did not seem to fit in at all, because my relationshipwith him was indifferent or even comfortable. My mother then told me that the doctor in my childhood had onlyone eye, and of all my teachers Professor Kraus was the only one with the sane defect! The conclusive force ofthese coincidences might be weakened by the objection that on some occasion in my later childhood, I had heardthat the nurse was a thief and then apparently had forgotten it until it finally emerged in the dream. I myselfbelieve that that is so. But I have another, entirely irrefutable and amusing proof. I said to myself that if the oldwoman disappeared from my life so suddenly, it must be possible to demonstrate the impression this made onme. Where is it then? Thereupon a scene occurred to me which in the course of twenty-five years has occasionallyemerged in my conscious memory without my understanding it. My mother was nowhere to be found; I was cryingin despair. My brother Philipp (twenty years older than I) unlocked a wardrobe for me, and when I did not find mymother inside it either, I cried even more until, slender and beautiful, she came in through the door. What can thismean? Why did my brother unlock the wardrobe for me, knowing that my mother was not in it and that therebyhe could not calm me down? Now I suddenly understand it. I had asked him to do it. When I missed my mother, Iwas afraid she had vanished from me, just as the old woman had a short time before. So I must have heard thatthe old woman had been locked up and therefore must have believed that my mother had been locked up too—orrather, had been “boxed up”—for my brother Philipp, who is now sixty-three years old, to this very day is still fondof using such puns. The fact that I turned to him in particular proves that I was well aware of his share in thedisappearance of the nurse.Since then I have got much further, but have not yet reached any real point of rest. It is so difficult and wouldcarry us so far afield to communicate what I have not yet finished that I hope you will excuse me from it andcontent yourself with the knowledge of those elements that are certain. If the analysis fulfills what I expect of: it, Ishall work on it systematically and then put it before you. So far I have found nothing completely new, [just] allthe complications to which I have become accustomed. It is by no means easy. Being totally honest with oneselfis a good exercise. A single idea of general value dawned on me. I have found, in my own case too, [thephenomenon of] being in love with my mother and jealous of my father, and I now consider it a universal event inearly childhood, even if not so early as in children who have been made hysterical. (Similar to the invention ofparentage [family romance] in paranoia — heroes, founders of religion). If this is so, we can understand thegripping power of Oedipus Rex, in spite of all the objections that reason raises against the presupposition of fate;and we can understand why the later “drama of fate” was bound to fail so miserably. Our feelings rise against anyarbitrary individual compulsion, such as is presupposed in Die Ahnfrau and the like; but the Greek legend seizesupon a compulsion which everyone recognizes because he senses its existence within himself. Everyone in theaudience was once a budding Oedipus in fantasy and each recoils in horror froth the dream fulfillment heretransplanted into reality, with the full quantity of repression which separates his infantile state from his presentone.74


Fleetingly the thought passed through my head that the same thing might be at the bottom of Hamlet as well. Iam not thinking of Shakespeare’s conscious intention, but believe, rather, that a real event stimulated the poet tohis representation, in that his unconscious understood the unconscious of his hero. How does Hamlet the hystericjustify his words, “Thus conscience does make cowards of us all”? How does he explain his irresolution inavenging his father by the murder of his uncle — the same man who sends his courtiers to their death without ascruple and who is positively precipitate in murdering Laertes? How better than through the torment he suffersfrom the obscure memory that he himself had contemplated the same deed against his father out of passion forhis mother, and —“use every man after his desert, and who should ‘scape whipping?’“ His conscience is hisunconscious sense of guilt. And is not his sexual alienation in his conversation with Ophelia typically hysterical.And his rejection of the instinct that seeks to beget children? And, finally, his transferral of the deed from his ownfather to Ophelia’s? And does he not in the end, in the same marvelous way as my hysterical patients, bring downpunishment on himself by suffering the same fate as his father of being poisoned by the same rival?I have kept my interest focused so exclusively on the analysis that I have not yet even attempted to try out, insteadof my hypothesis that in every instance repression starts from the feminine aspect and is directed against the maleone, the opposite hypothesis proposed by you. I shall, however, tackle it sometime. Unfortunately, I barelyparticipate in your work and progress. In this one respect I am better off than you are. What I can tell you aboutmental frontiers of this world finds in you an understanding critic, and what you can tell me about its celestialfrontiers evokes only unproductive amazement in me.With cordial greetings to you, your dear wife and my new nephew.YourSigm.75


TEACHER RESOURCES77


FIELD TRIP 101Here are some tips to help make the field trip experience smooth and enjoyable! We have made it a checklist for easeof use.Four weeks ahead:Attend the teacher seminar.If for some reason you have missed the seminar, arrange to pick up your materials at the theatre with theEducation staff.Begin working with your students on the materials in class.Two weeks ahead:Confirm that your paperwork approving the field trip is in order.Confirm the order for the bus.Confirm payment for the bus.Pass out field trip slips to students.Solicit chaperones. It is preferable to have chaperones who do not require special seating or accommodations.Chaperones are expected to function as an extension of you within the group. Asking around your school to seeif there are any student teachers that you could borrow for the trip is a great way to have an energetic adult, aswell as providing a learning experience for the young teacher. Ask your LSC members, or teachers recentlyretired from your school. If there are Cadre Subs assigned to your school, they can be a great resource as well.And, of course, your students’ parents are always encouraged!One week ahead:Remind any students missing permission slips to get them in to you.Send a copy of CHAPERONE 101 and THEATER ETIQUETTE handouts to chaperones so that they may reviewthem. We also recommend that you create a document that is specific to your expectations and rules to give toyour chaperones. For example, will you be assigning a small group of students to them to watch over? Arethey empowered to confiscate small electronics if they are being used in the theatre?Two days ahead:Check the weather forecast. If there is inclement weather expected on the day of the matinee, take appropriateaction. If you have hired a bus, call and ask for an earlier pick up to adjust for traffic. If you are taking publictransportation, discuss appropriate attire with your students.Confirm with your chaperones. If they are meeting you at the theater, direct them to our website,www.goodmantheatre.org for directions and parking instructions. Please remind them to meet you in the lobbyat the appropriate time; you may even suggest they arrive 10 minutes before you expect to arrive, just in case.It is much easier for us to seat you this way.80


The day before:Pass out a copy of THEATER ETIQUETTE to your students, and go over it in class as a reminder of yourexpectations.Tell the students who the chaperones will be, and their connection to the school. Remind students thatchaperones are fully empowered to assist you with behavior management, and that if there were nochaperones, there would be no field trip opportunities. Ask the students to help you ensure that there willalways be volunteers so that there will always be field trips.Call your bus company to re-confirm the bus, with arrival and pick up times and addresses. It is alarming howoften those details seem to disappear between booking the bus and the day of the matinee.Give students a specific assignment for during the show, something to look for, some element of design to payparticular attention to, let them know you will be discussing it after the show. This will help them focus.The day of the matinee:Your arrangements should put you at the theatre between 11:15 and 11:45am. Any later than that, andseating becomes problematic. If your bus arrives late, or you are stuck in traffic, please call THE BOX OFFICEat 312-443-3800 and give them a message. We are not at our desks or checking voice mail. By calling thebox office, a message will get to us in time for us to respond appropriately.When you arrive, check in with the following information: TOTAL number of people in your group…don’t forgetto count your chaperones and yourself.Turn in any relevant paperwork to Education staff.Ensure that your chaperones are seated one per 10 students. If a mistake is made in seating and you findchaperones seated together or very close together, please move them. It can be helpful to seat chaperonesbetween the last student from a different school and the first student from your group.Before the pre-show announcement, remind students to turn off all electronics and keep them in their bags orpockets.During the show:If one of your students is being disruptive, put a stop to it immediately. If you are not within arms reach or awhisper distance, tugging the sleeve of the students closest and indicating that you would like the attention ofthe student who is behaving inappropriately is a good way to send information down a row.If a student from another school seated near you is being disruptive, attempt to get the attention of the nearestteacher or chaperone from that group.During the Post-Show discussion:Please continue to monitor appropriate behavior.Discourage your group from excessive shouting and cheering when one of your students asks a question.Require respect for all students while they are asking questions.Since the discussion time is so limited, and we never get to all of the student questions, please do not give intothe temptation to ask questions yourself. The time belongs to the students, and we want to get to as many oftheir comments and questions as possible. If you notice that one of your chaperones is raising his or her handfor a question, please gently ask him or her to refrain.81


CHAPERONE 101On behalf of the classroom teacher, the students, and everyone at Goodman Theatre, thank you foryour participation in this field trip. Offsite educational excursions literally CANNOT happen withoutthe dedication of volunteers like yourself, your presence makes it possible, and for that, we are allextremely grateful.We know that it can be a somewhat nerve-wracking experience to accompany an energetic group ofyoung people out in the world, and we hope that the following tips and suggestions will help youenjoy the day, and want to continue to support these opportunities.Some things to remember:• Theater is a live experience. Appropriate response to the production is expected and desired.The actors want the students to respond, to laugh at the funny parts, to sigh at the sad parts.It is okay for a response to be vocal. We aren’t looking for an audience of zombies. Onlywhen a student attempts to make the show about him or herself is it disruptive. Pleaseexercise caution when managing student behavior, a spontaneous “No way!” can actuallyfeed the actor energy, whereas attempting to yell specifically at an actor, pull focus awayfrom the performance, or shouting anything offensive cannot be tolerated.• The reason that the Chicago Public Schools require one adult per 10 students on all fieldtrips, is that outside of a normal classroom situation, it is difficult to manage much morethan a small group of students. For that reason, you should try to keep about that manystudents within your sight at all times. Your classroom teacher may in fact assign aparticular group of 10 to you specifically, or you may simply be in a large group. But it isimportant that your focus is on the students.• As tempting as it may be to engage the teacher or other adult chaperones in conversation,with the exception of controlled environments, like the school bus, it is better that you areactively engaged with the students. Talk to them! Ask them about their studies, particularlyabout the play. They have been working with our materials for almost a month; ask them totell you something interesting, something they are looking forward to about the production,something they are curious about. You will find that they are far more likely to be respectfulof your authority if you have attempted to get to know them a little bit.• If you are volunteering because your child (or a child in the class with whom you have a personalconnection) is attending, talk to them ahead of time about the field trip. Ask for his or her helpin encouraging their classmates to have a good time in an adult and appropriate manner. Onthe day of the trip, ask the child to introduce you to friends, and ask the classroom teacherto allow you to sit near that particular group of students.• Chaperones will be seated in the theatre amongst the students for maximum adult presence.If you are accidentally seated next to or very near another chaperone, please bring it to theattention of the classroom teacher so that you can be moved to a better location.82


• Any student within five seats of you on any side is your direct responsibility. If a student inthat area is doing anything disruptive, such as text messaging, listening to headphones, oracting out vocally, we are relying on you to put a stop to it. The basic theater etiquette thatwe expect of our student audiences is attached, and the classroom teacher has gone overthese items with the students. Please help us to enforce these rules so that the performanceis as enjoyable as possible for everyone.• As instinctive as it is to ‘Shush’, the hissing noise is usually more disruptive than the talkingitself. Feel free to use the students around you to help make contact with the student who ismisbehaving. Usually some clear eye contact and strong body language are enough to putan end to the problem.• Ask your classroom teacher ahead of time if you are empowered to take away items such ascell phones, gameboys, or music players. These items can be returned at the end of theperformance. If you are not able to remove the item, be sure you see the student put itaway.• As difficult as it can be, remember that anger begets anger. If you are perceived as ‘mean’by the students, they are less likely to accept your authority. Be firm, but not overly harsh.A look that conveys the message “C’mon, help me out and stop talking, okay?” will servebetter than one that seems to say, “Shut up right now, or you are in big trouble!” If youcorrect a student’s behavior during Act One, be sure to positively reinforce their cooperationduring intermission. If they behave appropriately during Act Two, pull them aside after theshow to thank them for their cooperation.• The post-show discussion is a very important part of the experience for students. Pleasecontinue to assist with behavior during the discussion, so that it can go as smoothly aspossible. And while there are always lots of questions that we have about the production,the very limited discussion time belongs to the students. We never have enough time toaddress all of their questions, and therefore we ask that you refrain from asking your ownquestions during this time.Thank you again for your assistance in making these matinees a success, and we’ll see you at thetheatre!83


TEACHER RESPONSE FORMPlease complete this response form and return it to us no later than Wednesday, June 13 th . This form can also be foundon the ECP Teacher Blog or taken on-line through a link on the Blog. Please remember to send us your Student ResponseLetters, as requested in the Student Guide, by June 13 th as well.Name:School:Subject/Grade of class you brought to the matinee:1. How helpful was the Teacher Seminar in preparing you for teaching Oedipus Complex in your classroom? How canwe improve the seminar in the future?2. How did you and your students interact with the text of the play? Please give examples of exercise usedand/or assignments given.3. How useful was the Teacher Guide in helping you prepare your students for seeing Oedipus Complex? How can wemake it more useful in the future?4. How useful was the Student Guide in helping you prepare your students for seeing Oedipus Complex? How can wemake it more useful in the future?5. Please describe how you used the Student Guide in your classroom, specifically telling us which sections you usedand which projects your students completed.85


TEACHER RESPONSE FORM (CONT.)6. Which activities/discussion questions in the Student and Teacher Guides best prepared your students for seeingOedipus Complex? Which were least helpful?7. How useful were the Additional Resources found in your Teacher Guide in preparing your students to see OedipusComplex? Did you use them? If so, how?8. How did your students react to the performance of the play? Did any of them make any memorable comments?9. Was your class able to stay for the post-show discussion at the theater? How was the experience? If you could notstay, why not?11. Describe your students and your own overall reactions to Oedipus Complex in your studies and in performance.86

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