Individuation and the Power of Evil on the Nature of the Human Psyche

Author: Jordan-Finnegan, Ryder
Year:2006
Pages:288
ISBN:0-7734-5753-4
978-0-7734-5753-9
Price:199.95
This study examines two primary plays: After the Fall by Arthur Miller and The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark by William Shakespeare, using a Jungian Analytical Psychological approach. By focusing on certain components of Jung’s theories of individuation, the development of personality, and the power of evil, the study provides evidence that the two main characters, Quentin and Hamlet, respectively, come to a place of moral differentiation.

This book emphasizes the components of the human condition and provides examples from the dramatic works of Shakespeare and Miller as evidence of the possibilities available to humanity. Significantly, the use of Jung’s ideas on individuation with Miller’s plays bring to the world of literary scholarship a contribution of understanding the work that Miller was doing and how vitally important his plays are to humanity as a touchstone of human development. The analytical bridge created between Jung and Shakespeare represents a clear statement of the importance of original and pioneering scholarship between two writers who seemingly have no reason to be connected.

This study will appeal to scholars in Renaissance and modern literary studies, as well as those interested in psychology and religion. The work provides a look into realms of literature, psychology, philosophy, and religion, which not only points to the theoretical analysis provided in scholarship but also to the more serious and eternal questions concerning evil and personality.

Reviews

“What is perhaps most striking and original about this study, despite its focus on only two plays, is its ambitious breadth. Here we have a book that seeks not only to elucidate Shakespeare and Miller, but also to probe the larger questions of philosophical and psychological ideas of the self that these two authors – in one sense so far removed from each other, but in actually, as Dr. Jordan-Finnegan demonstrates, so closely linked – have in common. In addition to its obvious literary component, however, this study may also be approached as a useful introduction into Jungian psychology, especially as Jung’s ideas affect literary works and the project of literary criticism ...” – (from the Preface) Professor Joseph Candido, University of Arkansas-Fayetteville

“In this book, Dr. Ryder Jordan-Finnegan presents a valuable and fresh study that investigates a major issue in Jungian literary criticism, and also demonstrates in two aptly chosen plays the light a Jungian approach sheds on the problem of evil in the idea of tragedy. The argument explores the ethical questions raised by the fact and power of evil, the place of evil in the aesthetics of criticism, and the role of art in enabling self-analysis and self-recognition ... The author shows how the career of the tragic protagonist can illuminate Jung’s insistence on accepting evil within and without to achieve a full individuation, and has thereby demonstrated the capacity of modern psychological criticism to explain that most crucial theme in Aristotelian tragic theory, the nature of catharsis.” – David W. Hart, Professor Emeritus, University of Arkansas

“Though there is a vast body of criticism on William Shakespeare and even Arthur Miller, few critics have seen similarities between the characters the playwrights created. In fact, these playwrights have seldom been compared except in discussions of the concept of tragedy. This original study illustrates, through Carl Jung’s idea of the collective unconscious (the archetypal foundations of humanity) that Hamlet and Quentin (After the Fall) – aside from stylistic differences – are essentially mirror images ...” – Dwain Manske, Assistant Professor Emeritus, University of Arkansas-Fayetteville

Table of Contents

Preface by Joseph Candido
Acknowledgements
Introduction
1. An Introduction to the Psychology of C.G. Jung with Particular Emphasis on the Process of Individuation, the Development of Personality, and the Power of Evil
2. Arthur Miller, C.G. Jung, Individuation, and Evil
3. William Shakespeare and C.G. Jung
Conclusion
Glossary of Jungian Terms
Endnotes
Bibliography
Index