War and Manliness in Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida


In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

The primary area of conflict in Shakespeare's psyche, Norman Holland has said, was the phallic or oedipal stage. "The plays express over and over again the two basic oedipal wishes, to get rid of the father and possess the mother."1 A pychoanalytic study of Troilus and Cressida (1600-02) enriches and qualifies the conclusion Professor Holland has drawn from his excellent and illuminating examination of Shakespeare. In this very difficult and enigmatic play, as in Hamlet, fathers and sons clash over their claims to mother-figures and their differing valuations of her. Moreover, the oedipal issues in the play are tinged (to a degree unusual in Shakespeare) with the unresolved issues of earlier phases of childhood development.

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