The Author's Personality under Freudian lenses: A Psychoanalytic Analysis of Edward Albee's Psyche in the Light of his Dramatic Works

  • Arafat Abdali Rakhees English Department Open Educational College in Basra, Iraq
  • Lajiman Janoory Faculty of Languages and Communication, Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris, Tanjong Malim, Perak, Malaysia
Keywords: Freudian psychoanalytic theory, Edward Albee, sublimation, the unconscious

Abstract

Based on Freudian psychoanalytic concepts: sexuality, the unconscious, the tripartite psyche and defence mechanisms, this study investigates the relationship between the personal life of the American playwright, Edward Albee and his selected plays, namely Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The Ballad of the Sad Café, A Delicate Balance and The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? It exposes how Albee sublimates his sufferings and reveals his life via his dramatic works. The study also shows the traumatic experiences which Albee undergoes during his childhood, a matter that affects his behaviour and actions and leaves a deep scar on his own psyche. Besides, it displays how the author sketches his fictional characters to express his unconscious mind, bruised ego and troubled childhood. Further, the study exposes the defence mechanism the playwright takes up to legitimize his suppressed wishes and undesirable impulses. The aforementioned plays are selected because they are autobiographical and self-referential in that they highlight significant aspects of Albee's own personal life and expose the psychological effects of past experiences, stored in the mind of the playwright since childhood, on his personality as an adult.                                                                                               

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

References

Abdelli, F. (2009). Harold Pinter, Edward Albee and Leroi Jones: Their ideas of the absurd (Master'sthesis). Retrieved from
www.ummto.dz/IMG/pdf/ABDELLI_Fatima.pdf

Albee, E. (1962). Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf?. London: Vintage Books.

Albee, E. (1963). The Ballad of the sad café. New York, NY: Dramatists Play Service.

Albee, E. (1966). A delicate balance. USA: Penguin Books.

Albee, E. (2005). The goat, or who is Sylvia? (Notes toward a Definition of Tragedy). Woodstock: The Overlook Press, Peter Mayer Publishers.

Bigsby, C. W. E. (2004). Modern American drama 1945-2000. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Blum, H. P. (1969). A psychoanalytic view of who's afraid of Virginia Woolf? Journal of American Psychoanalytic Association 17(3), 888-903.
doi:10.1177/00030651691700311#

Bottoms, S. (2000). Albee: who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf?: Plays in production. Cambridge: Cambridge university Press.

Bucci, W. (1997). Psychoanalysis and cognitive science: A multiple code theory. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.

Cloninger, S. C. (2004). Theories of personality: Understanding persons (4th ed.). USA: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Clum, J. M. (2005). Withered age and stale custom: Marriage, diminution, and sex in tiny Alice, a delicate balance, and finding the sun. In Bottoms, S. (Ed.), The Cambridge companion to Edward Albee (pp. 59-74). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Corey, G. (2013). Theory and practice of counseling and psychotherapy (9th ed.). Australia: Brooks/Cole Cengage Learning.

Cristian, R. M. (2006). From delicate absence to presence: The child in Edward Albee's alternating families. Americana E-journal of American Studies in Hungary, II (2). Retrieved from
http://americanaejournal.hu/vol2no2/cristian-essay

Curry, C. B. (1972). A Rhetorical analysis of Edward Albee's Tiny Alice (Master's thesis). Retrieved from
http://scholarlycommons.obu.edu/grad_theses

Freud, A. (1993). The ego and the mechanisms of defense ( Rev. ed.). London: Karnac Books.

Freud, S. (1919). Totem and taboo: Resemblances between the psychic lives of savages and neurotics. London: George Routledge & Sons.

Freud, S. (1960). The ego and the id. In Strachey, J. (Ed.), The standard edition of the complete psychological works of Sigmund Freud (pp. 3-48). New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company.

Freud, S. (1963a). Introductory lectures on psychoanalysis. In Strachey, J. (Ed.), The standard edition of the complete psychological works of Sigmund Freud (Vols. 15 & 16). London: The Hogarth Press.

Freud, S. (1963b). The unconscious. In Philip, R. (Ed.), General psychological theory: Papers on metapsychology (pp. 116-150). New York, NY: Macmillan.

Freud, S. (1964). New introductory lectures on psychoanalysis. In Strachey, J. (Ed.), The standard edition of the complete psychological works of Sigmund Freud (Vol. 22, pp. 3–182). London: The Hogarth Press.

Freud, S. (2013a). Creative writers and day-dreaming. In Person, E. S., Fonagy, P. & Figueira, S. A. (Eds.), On Freud's creative writers and daydreaming (pp. 1-13). London: Karnac Books.

Freud, S. (2013b). Inhibitions, symptoms and anxiety. In Arbiser, S. & Schneider, J. (Eds.), On Freud's “inhibitions, symptoms and anxiety” (pp. 11-99). London: Karnac Books.

Freud, S. (2016). Three essays on the theory of sexuality (Rev. ed.). In Haute, P. & Westerink, H. (Eds.), Three essays on the theory of sexuality (pp. 54-113). London: Verso books.

Gainor, J. E. (2005). Albee’s the goat: Rethinking tragedy for the 21st Century. In Bottoms, S. (Ed.), The Cambridge companion to Edward Albee (pp.199-216). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

George, T. (2016). Three by Edward Albee: A dramaturgical discussions (Honors Thesis). Retrieved from
https://digital.library.txstate.edu/handle/10877/6085

Gross, R. F. (2005). Like father, like son: The ciphermale in a delicate balance and Malcolm. In Mann, B. J., Edward Albee: A casebook (pp. 65-79). New York, NY: Taylor and Francis Books.

Gross, R. (2015). Psychology: The science of mind and behaviour (7th ed.). London: Hodder Education.

Gussow, M. (1999). Edward Albee. A singular journey: A biography. London: Oberon Books.

Hayman, R. (1971). Contemporary playwrights: Edward Albee. London: Heinemann Educational Books.

Holeyannavar, N. (2013). The American absurd theatre with special reference to Edward Albee (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from
http://hdl.handle.net/10603/51448

Kittredge, J. (2006). Chasing a dream: The formulation of American identity in the plays of Edward Albee (Master's thesis). Retrieved from
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/193250

Mann, B. J. (Ed.). (2003). Edward Albee: A casebook. New York, NY: Routledge.

McCarthy, G. (1987). Edward Albee. London: Macmillan.

Montagne, R. (2011, June 6). Playwright Edward Albee defends 'gay writer' remarks. National Public Radio. Retrieved March 13, 2017 from
http://www.npr.org/2011/06/06/136923478/playwright-edward-albee- defends-remarks

Nagtegaal, W. J. R. (2013). "Do you have it in you?": conventions in Edward Albee's plays (Master's thesis). Retrieved from
http://arts.studenttheses.ub.rug.nl

Pal, R. (2013). The tragic vision in the select plays of Edward Albee (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from
http://hdl.handle.net/10603/51448

Paolucci, A. (1972). From tension to tonic: The plays of Edward Albee. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP.

Parks, R. (2005, June 2). Edward Albee interview. The American academy of achievement [interview]. Retrieved March 14, 2017 from
http://www.achievement.org/autodoc/page/par0bio-1

Penney, J. (2006). The world of perversion: Psychoanalysis and the impossible absolute of desire. USA: State University of New York Press.

Person, E. S. (2013). Introduction. In Person, E. S., Fonagy, P. & Figueira, S. A. (Eds.), On Freud's Creative Writers and Daydreaming (pp. ix-xxi). London: Karnac Books.

Pressley, N. (2016, September 16). Edward Albee, Pulitzer-winning playwright of modern masterpieces, dies at 88. The Washington Post. Retrieved from
https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/theater_dance/edward-albee-pulitzer-winning-playwright-of-modern-masterpieces-dies-at

Prono, L. (2008). Encyclopedia of gay and lesbian popular culture. USA: Greenwood Publishing Group.

Rose, C. (2008, May 28). Interview with Edward Albee [YouTube file]. Retrieved from
http://www.youtube.com/user/CharlieRose

Roudané, M. C. (1982). An interview with Edward Albee. Southern Humanities Review, 16: 29-44.

Roudané, M. C. (1987). Understanding Edward Albee. South Carolina: University of South Carolina Press.

Schimek, J. G. (2011). Memory, myth and seduction: Unconscious fantasy and interpretive process. New York, NY: Taylor and Francis group.

Schultz, D. P. & Schultz, S. E. (2005). Theories of personality. USA: Wadsworth.

Shulman, R. (2011, March 10). Who's Afraid of Edward Albee? Metro Weekly Magazine. Retrieved from
http://www.metroweekly.com/2011/03/whos-afraid-of-edward-albee/
Published
2020-07-15
How to Cite
Rakhees, A. A., & Janoory, L. (2020). The Author’s Personality under Freudian lenses: A Psychoanalytic Analysis of Edward Albee’s Psyche in the Light of his Dramatic Works. AJELP: Asian Journal of English Language and Pedagogy, 8(2), 1-13. https://doi.org/10.37134/ajelp.vol8.2.1.2020