Monday, February 25, 2008

Thanatos and Sublimation

I think, for Fridolin, the situation in which the Baroness (who he believes to be the naked woman who had sacrificed herself to save him from trouble the night before at the masquerade party) has died represents Thanatos in the death of her and as a destructive force on his mind through his being wrought with guilt.  He then, I think, turns his Thanatos into Sublimation by using the death of Baroness D. to go home, confess his misgivings, and make his relationship with his wife stronger and better, therefore using the destructive force to channel into a positive, creative force.  

For Fridolin, it seems that after the death of the Baroness he is finally able to give into Sublimation and Eros and end the phase of destructive acts of compulsion  that he was going to.  I think the death is the ultimate form of closure and the it made his sublimation a great deal easier because he had few other options. 


erin andersen said...

I really like the interpretation of the Baroness as Thanatos. I think you are really on to something clever here. Fridolin working through the shock of his wife's sexual confession was a bit destructive, but in the end it did positively effect his marriage.

Cheers to you, this was a really cool way to tie Freud into Schnitzler.

Dane Weitmann said...

I agree with your interpretation here. I think that there is definitely some sublimation in this story. It is unclear in the story how he turns the destruction of all his encounters into positive "life" with his wife. I think the way that you interpreted the baroness as thanatos and said that this destruction turns into his willing to confess and make everything right with his wife is really a good thought and explains the sublimation.