Monday, February 25, 2008

Albertine's Dream

Albertine’s dream story begins before her marriage when she is safe in her parent’s home, perhaps a longing for her virginity. She imagines the scene from her daughter’s storybook with Fridolin as the oriental prince, she wishes for the carefree days of their early marriage before they began to distrust each other. She is aware that the carefree happiness of the night will not last, morning comes inevitably, and she discovers that she has no clothes. She is furious with Fridolin because it is his fault that she is naked. I think that this is symbolic of her naked psyche; he has insisted that they discuss everything and she would prefer to keep some of her own fantasies and thoughts to herself. When he leaves, she is filled with joy and calmness and dances and sings, this could be symbolic of episodes of masturbation that she has not shared with Fridolin, and could be the cause of her with a sense of “burning shame” earlier. She describes the city with high walls where Fridolin rushes back and forth searching for clothes, perhaps this represents his desire for sexual exploration. (The idea of being “inside” a city full of exotic fabric—the fabric and the city representing the feminine.) Albertine ultimately sees Fridolin being crucified and thinks that it is justified. This scene shows that she was completely angered by his desire and willingness to have an affair, while her desires were more fantasy—not feelings that she would necessarily have acted on, as we see from the changing face of the Dane. This was not a dream of wish fulfillment, but a kind of unconscious sense of revenge toward Fridolin for all the pain he has caused her throughout their marriage.


wrennick said...

It was also interesting to me that Fridolin was upset about Albertine's fantasies and wanted to have his own adventure so he could tell her about it in detail (as if to cause her frustration as she caused him) in the future. They have an interesting relationship, for sure.

Lasica said...

I think the fact that Albertine had any kind of fantasy at all is the key to Fridolin's feelings of inadequacy. He seems to feel that her fantasy is an act of betrayal, but his own actions are not. She dances with another man at the party grows bored his bragging and is delighted to find her husband. However, her husband is searching for the "dominoes" to play with, not his wife. Part of his frustration is that he didn't get to play with the domino twins. He is angry with Albertine for interrupting his game, and making him leave the party. He takes it out on her by trying to make her feel guilty by forcing her to reveal her innermost secrets/fantasies. Her reaction to his revelations is, of course, jealousy, which causes her to reveal her desire for the Dane. She may never have been attracted to the Dane, but she feels that she must say something to counter Fridolin's fantasies, and she is further upset by his revelations that he had stalked a young girl. This reminds her that she too was a virgin when she married him, and she dreams of revenge because he has plundered her mentally and physically. Not leaving her any secrets or space. Fridolin, on the other hand, expects Albertine to be pure. She should not have any fantasies or desires. She should be what he wants her to be and nothing else. Her revelation sends him into an abyss.

annieguiler said...

I agree that Albertine thinks it is justifiable that Fridolin gets crucified. I have two additional possible reasons she thinks this. First, could it possibly be because she wants to free herself from the marriage so she too is able take part in any sexual encounter that she may be available? Or possibly, is it justifiable because he was once a young man running around and taking away girls’ virginity and she feels that there should be a punishment for this? I'm not sure if either takes a part in her thoughts, or if possibly both do. They are just thoughts that crossed my mind during this scene.