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Tales of Love, Sex, and Danger$
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Sudhir Kakar and John Munder Ross

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780198072560

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198072560.001.0001

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Mother Love: When Desire Becomes Reality

Mother Love: When Desire Becomes Reality

(p.150) 7 Mother Love: When Desire Becomes Reality
Tales of Love, Sex, and Danger

Sudhir Kakar

John Munder Ross

Oxford University Press

As a developmental phenomenon, the Oedipus complex is constructed of illusion and unidirectional desire. Compared to men, who either punish themselves or face retribution from those who govern their existence, transgressions and psychic turmoil by mothers are not easier to see. This chapter scrutinizes the motif of incestuous love between mothers and sons in its more oblique manifestations, the mythology of Phaedra and her stepson Hippolytus (dramatized in two ages—by the classical Greek Euripides and two thousand years later by the Jansenist Racine), and an Indian tale of incest often told by women to their daughters. If the pregenital seductions of parent and child, transpiring before consummation if possible, are disquieting enough, the genital tensions of adolescence are even more perilous.

Keywords:   Oedipus complex, incest, mothers, sons, Phaedra, Hippolytus, Euripides, Racine, seductions

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