Freud’s Analysis of Portia and King Lear

Psychology / April 23, 2015 / No Comments /
This paper discusses Freud’s analysis of Shakespeare’s “Portia” and “King Lear” as compared to Vladimir Propp’s concept of `Folk Tale Morphology`.

This paper states that Freud’s thematicizing of Shakespeare’s stories falls under what Vladimir Propp later called the classification of `Folk Tale Morphology`: Stories are classified and analyzed on the basis of a similarity of functions enacted over the course of the story. The author feels that what is significant is the extent to which Freud’s analysis of the tale’s morphology is convincing, and is used to bear out his own psychoanalytic theories. Examples are provided.
`Freud first observes the common theme of a choice between three objects. While Propp would say that the choice itself is a function, and the nature of the choice is subfunctions, Freud insists on the cases being identical. Freud had already suggested in 1909 that in dream symbolism `boxes, cases, chests, cupboards and ovens represent the uterus` (The Interpretation of Dreams 471) , and here uses this theory to demonstrate that, in choosing among three caskets, Bassanio is choosing among three women.`

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