Essay Title: 

Beloved and Medea compared

March 27, 2016 | Author: | Posted in american literature, literature and language

Narcissistic Self-Defense in Medea and Beloved

Toni Morrison ‘s novels are , to a great extent , susceptible to an archetypal interpretation . Thus , Beloved has been considered , by the critical opinion , as having its roots in the myth of Medea which forms the subject of Euripides ‘ ancient tragedy . The story told by Morrison ‘s novel is the constructed mostly on what Kathleen Marks termed as the apotropaic ‘ strategies of imagination , that is as strategies that serve as a means of deflecting danger or threats with the aid of certain mirror gestures that somehow imitate [banner_entry_middle]

the danger itself

The apotropaic , then , are those gestures aimed at warding off , or resisting , a danger , a threat , or an imperative . More exactly apotropaic gestures anticipate , mirror , and put into effect that which they seek to avoid : one does what one finds horrible so as to mitigate its horror .[ .]

Sethe , seen as a Persephone type , enacts through a love gone awry a series of apotropaic gestures : she kills her baby daughter in to prevent its being consumed by the oppressive forces of slavery she uses her rememory ‘ as she calls her memory , as a strategy to in fact ward off memory , for keeping the past at bay ‘ as she says she has sex with the headstone engraver in an act that sanctions her killing action , making tombs of her love , her womb , her home , and her life , and thereby doubling the harmful consequences of the original killing . In the context of the apotropaic , then , the ghostly figure Beloved is understood as a kind of Gorgon ‘s head (a prime apotropaic image , as the product of Sethe ‘s pushing-away and cutting-off actions , as the return of Sethe ‘s refusal to remember who she is ( Marks , 2-3

All these apotropaic gestures are the tragic outcome of the poignant marks left by slavery and racial discrimination on identity and the relationship with one ‘s own self

Although in Euripides ‘ play the reasons for the murdering of the children by their own mother seem different , there are many common points between Medea ‘s and Sethe ‘s act . Thus , we know that Medea ‘s primary mobile for her crime is revenge . Abandoned by her husband Jason who decides to remarry with the daughter of Creon , the king of Corinth Medea seeks revenge and devises a double murder to achieve her purposes first , she pretends to accept her new situation and her impending exile from Corinth , and sends her two young sons , carrying presents on her behalf , for the bride of Jason . Thus she accomplishes her first murder having first poisoned the presents she sent

Her second crime is even more atrocious- she kills her own sons , in a desperate gesture meant to cause utmost pain to Jason . It ca be said therefore that her prime motive for murdering her children is revenge However , the gesture is more complex and resembles that of Sethe ‘s Medea does not only cause pain to Jason through her gesture , at the same time… [banner_entry_footer]

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