Monday, February 25, 2008

The Sublimation of Fridolin's Thanatos

One of the connections to Freud that I found especially profound was the concept of Sublimation, how almost every Thanatos drive Fridolin experiences is transformed into socially acceptable, pure, Eros drives.

To begin, Fridolin experiences several "near-miss" affairs that tempt him. Being in a fragile (jealous) state of mind after hearing of his wife's close affairs he is drawn to the daughter of an ex-patient, a prostitute, and a mysterious woman who protects him from the cult-ish members inside a creepy old manor. In each of these encounters he is strongly tempted to let his more primal urges take control, effectively ending his marriage and destroying his private life. In fact, the morning after these initial encounters he is resolved to "engage" in one of these encounters, consequences be damned!

Here is where the sublimation of his Thanatos drive begins; each time he seeks out one of the girls from the previous night some event occurs that drives him away. When he returns to see Marianne he is reminded she is leaving the next day with her fiancé. He learns that the prostitute is incredibly ill and is in the hospital for several weeks, and lastly, he becomes convinced that the woman from the manor died.

Regardless of its accuracy, the fact that Fridolin believes the Baroness who died is the same woman from the manor is the most important aspect of his sublimation. This is because Freud believed the "energy" from the Eros and Thanatos drives behaves like matter; it may be altered, but never destroyed. This is important to the concept of sublimation because when Fridolin learns that she died protecting him, all of her Eros energy is transferred to him, according to Freud.

One last aspect of the sublimation is the mask. A mask is usually a symbol of deceipt, however it takes on a different, cathartic role for Fridolin, helping him return to his wife. When he sees the mask on his pillow he knows she put it there, showing him she knows something is going on, yet expressing this with a "light-hearted approach," and with "a willingness to forgive." Instead of being used to conceal his true emotions, the mask becomes the vessel that allows Fridolin to confess his actions and ultimately become closer to his wife and live happily ever after...

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