This book brings the insights of psychoanalysis to bear on drama in the western dramatic tradition. Plays which are discussed in detail include works by Shakespeare, Ibsen, Chekhov, Wilde, and Beckett among others. The authors seek to show that the subtle understanding of conscious and unconscious emotions achieved by psychoanalytic practice can bring new ways of understanding classic works of drama. The argument of the book, set out in its introduction and exemplified in its discussion of individual dramatists and plays, is that western drama has represented the central tensions of societies as crises in the relationships of gender and generation, through dramatic explorations of the inner life of families. This is the common theme which links the book's analysis of Medea, Macbeth and A Midsummer Night's Dream amongst others. The value of this book lies in the originality of its analysis of individual plays, and the subtlety with which it brings psychoanalytic and sociological insights together.
Series Editors' Preface -- Preface -- Introduction: theatre, mind, and society -- Medea: love and violence split asunder -- Ion: an Athenian "family romance" -- Shakespeare's Macbeth: a marital tragedy -- Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream: further meditations on marriage -- What Ibsen knew -- Chekhov: the pain of intimate relationships -- Oscar Wilde's glittering surface -- Arthur Miller: fragile masculinity in American society -- Beckett: dramas of psychic catastrophe -- Psychic spaces in Harold Pinter's work