"Psychoanalysis and the Endings of Shakespeare's plays"
with Erwin Flaxman, Ph.D.
â€śReally, universally, relations stop nowhere, and the exquisite problem of the artist is eternally to draw, by a geometry of his own, the circle in which they shall happily appear to do so.â€ť
Henry James, Roderick Hudson
This paper discusses how psychoanalytic explanations of endings, including of the dynamics at work in the termination of a psychoanalysis, can be used to explain the â€śgeometryâ€ť of the endings of Shakespeareâ€™s plays on the page and in the theater. Shakespeareâ€™s endings are bound to the laws of dramatic finality and resolution, yet remain variable, provisional, and permeable. Drama, like a psychoanalysis, has its greatest impact in the subjective middle of the experience, in the moments when the largest quantity of unorganized instinct governs the action, a particularly common situation in Shakespearean drama. To understand the endings of Shakespeareâ€™s plays and terminations of a psychoanalysis, we must first invalidate and falsify them, as Freud did for psychoanalysis in â€śAnalysis Terminable and Interminable,â€ť a paper that casts a shadow on any discussion of these endings, closings, or terminations.
New York Psychoanalytic Society & Institute
247 East 82nd Street (between 2nd and 3rd Avenues)
The Marianne & Nicholas Young Auditorium