Antigone and Id

According to Freud, the id is the part of the unconscious that contains the most dangerous parts of the human psyche.  It is the domain of unrestrained lust, anger, hate and of course innumerable sexual desires, all of which need to be repressed.  However, when a person cannot or does not repress parts of their id, tragedy is inevitable, as the person will destroy either themselves, people around them or both. 

 

Few works provide a clearer example of this than Sophocles’ Antigone.  The characters in Antigone are largely driven by their instinctual drives of kinship, anger, and most of all pride.  These characters lack rational control over themselves, and are increasingly unable to reign in their large and stubborn egos (in the colloquial sense of the term), which leads first to chaos and confusion, and ultimately to their downfall.  

Like Antigone defying Creon, Napoleon defies tradition and crowns the empress himself (instead of the pope). For both, this pride leads to numerous conflicts and their eventual destruction.
While richly outfitted with expensive clothing, books and instruments, the anamorph skull on the bottom is an unsettling reminder of the ambassadors’ mortality.
Though confident in this painting, Henry VIII became increasingly psychologically unstable and died morbidly obese at age 55, mirroring Creon's downfall and punishment.
Though she was the beautiful helmet-maker's wife, this woman has sunk into despair as she has grown old and wrinkled, similar to how Creon lost his family due to his own pride.
The peacock room depicts two peacocks fighting over coins, neither able to give in to the other or give up their desire. Like the conflict between Antigone and Creon, this can only end in tragedy.
Presumably measuring the relative value of her jewelry, this woman stands before a painting of Christ judging the living and the dead, showing how desire for things will lead to an unhappy ending.
Like Antigone defying Creon's wishes by burying her brother, this cheat is attempting to work outside accepted rules, with potentially disastrous results.
Rembrandt paints himself as a prideful young man with an expensive hat,
Even though he was destitute at the time, Rembrandt still dresses himself up as a wealthy man for this much later self-portrait.
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