Elements Of Freudian Psychology In A Severed Head By Iris Murdoch

2067 words - 8 pages

 
In Iris Murdoch's A Severed Head, the novel's protagonist Martin Lynch-Gibbon sustains a series of revelations which force him to become more aware of the realities of his life. This essay will examine how Murdoch infuses the novel with elements of Freudian psychology to develop Martin's movement from the unconscious to reality. Shifting Relationships

With the novel's opening and rapid progression from one event to the next, the reader quickly comes to realize that its narrator, Martin Lynch-Gibbon, is not completely aware of the realities regarding himself or the people around him. Although he considers his marriage to be "perfectly happy and successful" (p14), he nevertheless has kept a young mistress, Georgie Hands, for several years. With his wife's confession that she is having an affair with her psychoanalyst (and Martin's good friend) Palmer Anderson, Martin slowly begins to realize that his life may not be what it once had seemed; further plot twists give emphasis to this, and Antonia reveals to Martin near the novel's end that she has been deeply in love with his brother, Alexander, since before their marriage. To add to this convolution, Martin falls desperately in love with Honor Klein, who has been having an incestuous relationship with her brother Anderson. A Severed Head, then, is certainly a permeated with somewhat confusing and constantly changing relationships, but the central reality of Martin's life for much of the novel is his relationship with his wife, Antonia. His marriage, in fact, defines all of the other relationships in his life. Antonia tells Martin precisely why their marriage has failed: "It's partly my being so much older and being a sort of mother to you. I've kept you from growing up. All this has got to be faced sooner or later" (p26). Although Martin himself compares the loss of Antonia as his wife to "a pain unutterably obscure and confused like that induced by some deprivation in childhood" (p33), it is only much later in the novel that Martin finally comes to fully understand that his love for Antonia has always been more filial than sexual. Indeed, throughout the novel's progression we see more and more indications of the parent-child relationship between the two, with Anderson becoming a kind of Freudian father figure. It is only by moving through a sort of Oedipal complex that Martin can finally come to fully accept his true relationships with his wife and the other people in his life. The Freudian Mother and Father

In Freud's view, the development of a child's sense of self is advanced by movement through the Oedipal complex, the central Freudian childhood crisis. This crisis consists of sexual desire for the mother and a subsequent wish to do harm to the father: because the father has greater strength and power, however, the child fears being castrated for these inappropriate sexual desires and instead comes to identify with the father; development of the self then proceeds. Martin's...

Find Another Essay On Elements of Freudian Psychology in A Severed Head by Iris Murdoch

Head Trauma in Memento, a film by Christopher Nolan

1851 words - 7 pages “I have this condition,” repeats Leonard Shelby, the leading character of Memento, a film by Christopher Nolan. In the psychological thriller, Leonard has a condition that does not allow him to make new memories. The condition was caused by head trauma; the result of trying to protect his wife from being killed by the thieves who broke into his house and raped his wife. He is doomed to a live a life by following mementos--- his

The Effects of Harriet Bird, Memo Paris, and Iris Lemon in the Natural by Bernard Malamud.

1717 words - 7 pages , and a golden head with a frantic face. Even her hair sought him. He felt relieved to no end.” (156, Malamud) At the end of their date, Iris informs Roy that she is a grandmother; Roy, is automatically repulsed, thinking “Holy Jesus.” (157, Malamud) He is unwilling to take on the responsibility of becoming a grandfather, which is inevitable if he is with Iris. Unfortunately, Roy is blinded by his own foolish desires and thoughts

The elements of a tragedy by Aristotle.

1456 words - 6 pages Aristotle says tragedy must obtain 6 elements and the play must have unity of time, place and action. Those elements are plot, character, diction, thought, spectacle, and song. The character in the elements should be a superhuman, above the average person. He has to have a tragic flaw and have both virtue and vice - be both virtuous and villainous. The unity in a tragedy is based on: Time- the action of the play should occur within the span of a

Elements of Darkness in Macbeth by Shakespeare

971 words - 4 pages Elements of Darkness in Macbeth by Shakespeare William Shakespeare's Macbeth is a play of darkness. Throughout the play, three things in particular play a part in setting this stage, so to speak, of darkness. These three things are characters, theme and mood. Each has its own part in setting up the darkness. The characters (the title character in particular) are dark in their actions, the theme is dark in its subject matter, and the mood is

A Freudian Analysis of The Fatal Sisters

676 words - 3 pages A Freudian Analysis of The Fatal Sisters   When the psychoanalytical approach is applied to Thomas Gray's "The Fatal Sisters,", each of Freud's three main theories are glaringly apparent. A major factor in the poem's psychoanalytical grisly texture is that the poem is sung by the giants at the loom as they weave. The language they use not only reflects upon the characters, but it offers new insight for Freudian analysis. The

A Freudian Perspective of Shakespeare's Macbeth

2638 words - 11 pages , all's spent, Where our desire is got without content: 'Tis safer to be that which we destroy, Than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy. (III ii 4) Nevertheless, she holds out. In the banqueting scene which follows on these words, she alone keeps her head, cloaks her husband's state of confusion and finds a pretext for dismissing the guests. And then she disappears from view. We next see her in the sleep-walking scene in the last

A Freudian Analysis of Voltaire's Candide

1663 words - 7 pages A Freudian Analysis of Voltaire's Candide       In Civilization and its Discontents, Sigmund Freud refers to the important role that love plays in the world of Man. Love certainly plays an important role in Voltaire's Candide; throughout Candide's journeys, a constant factor is his love for Lady Cunegonde and his desire to be with her. Freud writes "the way of life which makes love the centre of everything [...] comes naturally to

Freudian Theory in "Lord of the Flies"

1488 words - 6 pages Psychology). Usually the superego's morals and standards come from figures of authority or society. Most importantly the superego is not affected by impulse or others. Each of the characters in Lord of the Flies each embodies a certain force which is why they can not work with each other.Jack is a boy who gets angry quickly, acts on his desires, has emotional outbursts, and enjoys hunting and killing, he obviously embodies the id. These traits are a

Freudian Psychoanalysis of Victor's Dream in "Frankenstein"

1136 words - 5 pages feelings of bitterness towards his mother for abandoning him, and then controlling his choice for a companion even in her death. Victor's feelings towards Elizabeth become very complicated on the conscious and sub-conscious levels as a result of seeing Caroline in Elizabeth mixed with emotions of love and hatred for both. An example of this conflict is very evident on Victor and Elizabeth's wedding night. Victor was warned by the creature many

Literary elements in "A Rose for Emily" By William Faulkner

508 words - 2 pages In William Faulkner's short story "A rose for Emily", a series of literary elements were used to effectively create the themes. In "A rose for Emily", the main theme happens to be the search for love and security. Mr. Faulkner's uses of literary elements were brilliant and played a vital role in the stories general setup, bringing light to the issue that arise when a young woman struggle to find love in an alien environment.Symbolism is the main

ELEMENTS OF A CONTRACT

1556 words - 6 pages that the contract be in writing, except in some special cases, such as the sale of land. The economy was built on freedom of contract and the establishment of a system of laws that can be enforced (Primack 2009).The contracts freely entered not always carefully read by the undersigned. The signer cannot be aware of the elements necessary for the contract to be enforceable. In this situation where Fabulous Hotel hires a person as head chef under a

Similar Essays

'the Sea, The Sea' By Iris Murdoch A Review.

1023 words - 4 pages the reader. The reader consequently unfolds the true meaning of events by interpreting the narrator's incorrect account of the story. By implementing the technique of an unreliable narrator, Murdoch forces the reader to be acutely conscious of the vital part that memory and subjectivity play in recreating the text in a cohesive and significant narrative form. What markedly reveals Charles's unreliability as a narrator is his perspective on James

A Freudian Perspective Of "A Haunted House" By Virginia Wool

1505 words - 6 pages figures and the suggestion of multiple levels of meaning by images and symbols'All these elements are to be met in Woolf's A Haunted House, a metafiction that tackles the complexity of human mind with reference to the fiction and the condition of the writer. However, the symbolistic of the story makes it difficult for the reader to decode the message if one does not take into consideration the modernist author's interest in the psychological aspects

"The Rape Of Nanking," By Iris Chang.

2663 words - 11 pages 1931. Hitler and Germany use a train of thought that they are the superior race and use this to rule their neighbors. The Japanese use this also. The fourteen years of military dominance of China by the Japanese were in no doubt, marked by countless incidents of ruthlessness. This is a story of one of these incidents.On December 7, as the Japanese troops marched their way into the Capital of China, the Japanese General Matsui grew increasingly ill

This Essay Is A Biography Of Charles Manson. In Freudian Terms, It Explains The Way His Mind Worked. This Essay Was Made For Psychology 41 (Life Span).

1943 words - 8 pages California living entirely by burglary and auto theft. They got as far as Utah when they were caught. This time he was sent to the National Training School for Boys in Washington, D.C. While he was there they gave him various tests, which established that his IQ was 109, that he was illiterate and that his aptitude for everything but music was average. Going in and out of institutions, Charlie didn't have much time to have a part-time job. His way of