AGAVE, SALOME AND THE ENCHANTED HEADS

Mind and Body Dialectics in Euripides' and Oscar Wilde's Work

Salome by Jindrich PevnyPsychopathology has inspired dramatists across the world through-out the ages. This paper will explore the affinity between two classic characters of world drama, namely, Agave from Euripides' tragedy The Bacchae and Salome from the Oscar Wilde play of the same name. The climax of both plays is the scene in which the heroine, in a state of frenzy, addresses the severed head of the male protagonist in a dramatic monologue. Is there a unifying motive behind the apparent insanity and murderous dancing that brings about the beheading of Pentheus and Jokanaan in The Bacchae and Salome, respectively? I will attempt to show that both playwrights shared some common ground in the way they perceived the mind-body interaction as well as the psychopathology arising from a disequilibrium between the two. 

It is the symbolic dance between the body and the intellect that absorbed my attention in both plays. Both women characters constitute a poetic allegory of the explosion of bodily desire against a harassing and oppressive intellect and their dance becomes the symbol of this "revolt." The dance serves as the turning point in which the rights of the body, either suppressed, silenced, or never fulfilled, retaliate—leaving no space for the intellect or head. Decapitation becomes, symbolically, the price for the concealment of bodily desire and need, suggesting the end of the psychosomatic equilibrium and the approaching explosion of madness. From this perspective, death serves as the irrevocable answer to a wandering demand for union and contact that never found its fulfillment in a recipient's embrace. 

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CHILDREN OF A MORTAL GOD

A Therapy Group's Journey in the Wake of their Therapist's Unexpected Death

União by Perla
The death of the psychotherapist in the midst of an ongoing therapeutic process is a topic frequently avoided by analytic literature. The scarcity of relevant material may be attributed to issues of denial and a compensatory sense of omnipotence arising when therapists are facing illness and mortality. This paper reviews individual and group therapy literature on the topic, and focuses on the experience of a ‘bridging’ group analyst, while working with a therapy group of patients still mourning the loss of their former therapist. The differences in leadership style, as well as emerging transference and countertransference issues that remained unresolved and led to the dissolution of the group, are discussed.

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