Myth and Syzygy

Disappointment in The Merchant of Venice
  • Matthew A. Fike


Jung makes a statement that nicely bridges the first chapter’s treatment of dreams and the present chapter’s discussion of myth: “Thus, we know that dreams generally compensate the conscious situation, or supply what is lacking to it. This very important principle of dream-interpretation also applies to myths” (CW 5, 611/390). Much as Hermia’s dream of the phallic snake compensates for a denial of sexuality in her waking life or as Bottom’s “dream” of Titania compensates for elements of his life as a laborer, Shakespeare’s use of myth in The Merchant of Venice may in some way qualify or critique characters’ conscious situations. Indeed myth plays an important intermediary function in the visionary mode: “Myth is the natural and indispensable intermediate stage between unconscious and conscious cognition.”2 It is in and through myth that the unconscious speaks in literature because “all mythical figures correspond to inner psychic experiences and originally sprang from them” (CW 9i, 457/256).


Married Life Conscious Cognition Unconscious Mind Classical Myth Immortal Soul 
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© Matthew A. Fike 2009

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  • Matthew A. Fike

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