EXTREMITIES OF THE FEMALE MIND: THE CONSCIOUS & UNCONSCIOUS

Women are naturally hormonal beings, and consequently tend toward extremities in response to their conscious and unconscious minds. Freud analyzes the conscious superego and unconscious id of female patients in his Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis. Sophocles similarly displays the extremities of women, their actions, and the female mind, as Antigone is driven by her id, and her foil, Ismene, acts according to her superego. 

Freud condemned all women of having underdeveloped superegos, causing women to be inferior to men. However, the “underdeveloped” female conscience eventually prevailed, as strong willed women, similar to Antigone, rose up as feminists as depicted in this early feminist painting.
One of Freud’s most prominent examples of the female id was his theory of penis envy, in which all women have an unconscious desire to be men. According to Freud, the woman staring at the snake would represent penis envy, as the snake is a phallic symbol for a penis.
Antigone’s wish to bury her brother was rooted in an unconscious drive, which overrode the judgment of her superego. “So you just let me and my bad judgment go to hell.” (Sophocles, 7) An Egyptian female offers funerary rights to her beloved cat, an action that might seem ridiculous and unconscious.
Ismene was a foil to her sister, as she listened to her superego and therefore held herself subservient to men, like a good Grecian woman. “We are women and we do not fight men… we must obey this order” (Sophocles, 5). This oil jar depicts a Grecian woman obeying her superego and serving a man.
The figurine of a woman makes an offering while in tears, as Antigone cried out to the gods prior to her death, “Gods of my people! They are taking me against my will!” (Sophocles, 42) In ancient Greek culture, her death might have been seen as an offering to the gods, or her father.
Antigone’s suicide was the result of her unconscious, as her id caused her to act out of passion. “There’s no return, I follow death, alive” (Sophocles, 38). In this image of “The Passion,” Jesus dies out of passionate love for His Father, and embraces his crucifixion as Antigone embraced her fate by committing suicide.
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