As you probably know, the psychoanalytic approach has been used for many years by athors that have tried, through the method that Sigmund Freud first used, to analize the nature of the unconscious mind and understand our deepest desires but, first of all, what is psychoanalisis?
The psychoanalisis is a method used by some authors such as Alfred Adler, Carl Gustav Jung and Wilhelm Reich or his creator, Sigmund Freud, that provided them a form of analysis by which they could analyze the minds of the subjects in order to know more about it and, furthermore, investigate the human subconscious. Freud deals with Oedipus’ Complex and another theories to explain our unconscious desires and thinkings. It sets that a person can be cured of mental disease by analyzing the person’s psyche and finding the root of his/her mental trauma (What’s Psychotherapy?, Laurence Miller Ph.D.). But psychotherapy has developed since Freud’s time into a formidable means of dealing with mental and emotional trauma. Of course, it has changed a lot since Freud’s time. Now, modern psychoanalysts tend to reject those outdated, sexist notions.
Although psychoanalytic writing leaves unexplained the quality of shared psychic environment between animals and humans, we can notice that there is a kind of love relationship between humans and animals that help, what Freud calls «isolated patients», to improve the stability of human’s mind and cure mental diseases. It is not only a way of analyzing and curing human beings, it has also been tested on animals (Pets and Psychoanalysis, Bennett Roth). Psychoanalysis therapy, applied with animals, has also been proved on human people that had an illness such as Down syndrome (Dolphin-Assisted therapy, MiamiHerald).
Once known what is psychoanalysis and its diverse applications, we are going to focus on the psychoanalytic literary criticism.
Pychoanalytical approach understands us from the point of view of our unconscious and early childhood experiences, so, applied to Shakespeare’s plays or another literary text, it tries to explain that our behaviour is influenced by id, ego and superego. It is a literary approach where critics see the text as if it were a kind of dream. This means that the text represses its real content behind the obvious one. The process of changing from latent to manifest content is known as the «dream work» (Strephon Kaplan-Williams), and involves operations of concentration and displacement. The critic analyzes the language and symbolism of a text to reverse the process of the dream work and arrive at the underlying latent thoughts.
But not only Freud rests on this theories, he was the pioneer of many after him that are still writing about this theories, for example: Carl Gustav Jung or Jacques Lacan, a post-Freudian psychoanalytic theorist, focused on language and language-related issues.
According to work, we are going to focus on the psychoanalitical facts of Shakespeare’s theatre, specifically in Hamlet, King Lear and Romeo and Juliet.
Academic year 2012/2013
© a.r.e.a./Dr.Vicente Forés López
© Aitor Bori Ibáñez