Lacanian Mirror Stage: Oedipus the King

Satisfactory Essays
Lacanian Mirror Stage: Oedipus the King

The essence of this paper is to determine whether or not Jocasta played a more important role in the rise and fall of the title character. The paper will examine the play Oedipus Tyrannus through the eyes of the French theorist Jacques Lacan. Specifically the paper will focus on the mirror stage of Lacan's theories.

As to the criteria that the paper will use, there are some "truths" that need to be established about the Lacanian division of thinking. In Lacan's way of thought, we all have repressed desires, and these desires can never be fulfilled. In language, there are similar"eternal desires" that cannot be satiated. Lacan carries this further in identifying the patriarchal society with which we live in as being founded on men's words. Therefore, women have no voice in this world and cannot be satisfied in their life times.

For one to better understand Jocasta's character, one must have a knowledge of Lacanian theory, on which it is based. Lacan's mirror stage, originally espoused by Freud, and its relationship to the conscious and un- consciousness. Freud believed that when a baby looked at an image of him/herself in a mirror, they would at a certain point in their development "realize" that the reflection was him/herself they were seeing. It is at this moment in a child's life that the "ego" is formed, or the formation of a "self-awareness". This ego is present in all people; it serves as a reminder of who we are and where we came from.

However, Freud reasoned that to be a fully developed human, we must move on from the simple realization that we are ourselves. We must know or come to know that we aren't the only ones in the mirror. The "child," our selves and our egos, must also realize that our "mother" is there in the reflection with us. In doing so we begin to understand that we are not the only ones in the image, and therefore, not the center of being. Moreover, we "turn" to our mothers and look at them, breaking the egotistic stare. It is the ability to break the primary concern of viewing ourselves that allows us to move into society. We must be able to break that self concerned stare and focus it on our "Mothers" or society as it were. Thus constitutes the mirror stage of Freud's theory.
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