the dark side of passion: Sexuality, Desire, and Power

In both Freud's Introductory Lectures and Sophocles' Antigone, subtle and overt applications of power are obvious. Influence is achieved by one's effective manipulation of another's desires. Namely, Freud maintains that one can influence the mind of another by playing to their unconscious desires, which our ensuing behaviors are a direct result of: "[Freud believed] Hidden inside all human beings were dangerous, instinctual drives." (Happiness Machines 4:00-4:19) and  "Governments unleashed the hidden forces in human beings, and no one seemed to know how to stop them." (Happiness Machines 5:20-5:32) are evidence of this. Further, in Antigone, Creon wields control over his people and ensures that his mandates are honored through use of fear; his will is only opposed by supposed greed and Antigone's indomitable will: "-that if anyone does what he forbids, he'll have him publicly stoned to death"(Sophocles 4). The darkest and often, the most unmentionable aspects of the human psyche, namely greed, lust, and fear, are facets of the human experience that drive us to behave the way we do, and can be used to influence the beliefs and actions of those around us, as is demonstrated in both Freud's Introductory Lectures, and Sophocles' Antigone. 

Machiavelli once wrote that "There are two kinds of fighting: one by law, the other by force. The first method is that of men, the second of beasts." Greed drives man to barbarity in pursuit of satisfying our most basic desires, as in Antigone, Creon said "Money teaches good men to go bad) (Sophocles 14).
It is often said that the mind is the seat of the soul, and that it bears a great many personal "demons." This piece represents the demons that accompany human nature, and symbolizes laboring under one's passions and fears, as mentioned by Antigone: "All these men would tell you they're rejoicing over that, if you hadn't locked their tongues with fear" (Sophocles 23). Freud wrote that "The assumption that in a dreamer too a knowledge about his dreams is present, though it is inaccessible to him so that he himself does not believe it..." (Freud 127). In this sense, this painting could represent the dark quality of our unconscious, that we cannot except our desires for what they are and that we believe our behavior and our desires are two entirely separate things.
Contemporary Judeo-Christian mythology holds that Judas, an infamous apostle of Jesus of Nazareth and perhaps his most notorious contemporary, betrayed Christ to the Romans for thirty pieces of silver. In Antigone, Creon believes the watchmen were bribed to bury Polynices (Sophocles 13,14).
Jonah, the Hebrew prophet of truth, warned the city of Nineveh to repent, and fearing the wrath of God, they abandoned their riches for lives of squalor. Like greed, fear compels man to desperate measures. In Antigone, Ismene and Antigone discuss the repercussions of disobeying Creon's mandate that Polynices is not to be buried (Sophocles 4,5).
Infamous for the Dance of Seven Veils, Salome represents dangerous female sexuality, playing on the desires of her step-father, King Herod, to achieve her goal: receiving John the Baptist's head on a silver platter. In the documentary "Happiness Machines," Edward Bernays calls for women to challenge male dominance by breaking the taboo on women smoking cigarettes (symbols of the penis) (Happiness Machines 10-11:00). Further, in discussing sexual desire, Freud wrote that "...[we] make the same, often excessive sacrifices for them..." (Freud 379). The story of Salome and John the Baptist is an ancient testament to the fact of lust governing behavior and bestowing power on those lusted after.
The biblical story of Genesis tells us that God created the first woman from Adam's rib; the story has been interpreted as an allegory for women's role of dependence on and subservience to men. Part of Ismene's reluctance to disobey Creon in burying her brother arises from her belief that women are subject to men. (Sophocles 5). The idea of male superiority is prevalent, even today. Freud once said of young boys discovering the existence of female genitalia for the first time that "[they] try to disavow the evidence of [their] senses, for [they] cannot imagine a human creature like [themselves] who is without such a precious portion" (Freud 393). The birth of man in the Garden of Eden and Adam and Eve's subsequent fall from grace serves as a parallel to Freud's idea of male children discovering that their female counterpart's don't have penises.
Agrippina Minor was a Roman empress who, as legend tells it, poisoned her husband so that her son, Nero, would ascend the throne. Agrippina is a symbol of ruthless ambition: going to great lengths to achieve her goals. Edward Bernays once convinced a group of Manhattan socialites to smoke cigarettes at a parade through New York, using their social prominence to popularize cigarette smoking among women, a task which helped to earn him a great deal of money from tobacco companies (Happiness Machines 10:00-12:00).
Dante's Inferno chronicles the poets famed journey through the circles of Hell, guided by the Roman poet Virgil. On his journey, Dante witnesses the suffering of those being punished for such sins as greed, lust, and anger. While Creon did not go to Hell over the course of events in Antigone, he lived a miserable, tortured existence after the culmination of events in the play led to the deaths of those closest to him. (Sophocles 58).
The Porch of Maidens is a part of the Erechthium, a Temple atop the Athenian acropolis. The Caryatids, or Maidens, are supporting columns adorning the Temple, symbolic of women's subservient roles in antiquity. A prevailing belief throughout Antigone is that women are subservient to men and anything less would be a source of great shame to men (Sophocles 24, 28).
In Greek legend, Andromeda was saved from being sacrificed to appease the Gods after her mother, Cassiopeia, boasted of her superior beauty. She is a symbol of the power of fear ruling a person's actions, a prominent notion held by Creon (Sophocles 31).
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