• Matthew A. Fike


In Jungian thought, the key to individuation is to make the unconscious conscious; and the resulting wholeness of the Self has been a major unifying principle of A Jungian Study of Shakespeare: The Visionary Mode. Chapter 1, on A Midsummer Night’s Dream, discusses three ways in which the process can happen (dream, imagination, and vision), as well as how a spiritual experience can bring a new perspective on consciousness. Chapter 2, on The Merchant of Venice, builds on this foundation by suggesting the role of myth in communicating with the unconscious and by analyzing the play’s classical allusions, particularly the “love duet” that opens act 5. Chapter 3, on The Henriad, argues for a further connection to the unconscious by discussing Falstaff as a trickster figure whose multiple allusions to the parable of the rich man and Lazarus in the Gospel of Luke suggest the cycle of positive and negative inflation, a cycle that Falstaff ultimately escapes in order to achieve some degree of individuation. The main theme in chapter 4, on Othello, is the title character’s link to the “primitive” thinking or participation mystique, which must be assimilated if individuation is to be achieved. Chapter 5, on Hamlet, addresses the most powerful of the avenues to the unconscious and its implications—the anima and the shadow-anima dynamic—in order to show that the title character’s main problems stem from the repression of his anima.


Active Imagination Spiritual Experience Conscious Mind Constructive Work Title Character 
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  1. 3.
    See Barbara Hannah, Encounters with the Soul: Active Imagination as Developed by C G. Jung (Santa. Monica, CA: Sigo Press, 1981).Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    Sigmund Freud, “Totem and Taboo,” in The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, ed. James Strachey, 24 vols. (London: Hogarth Press, 1953–74), 13:30–31.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    For a fuller discussion see Matthew A. Fike, “The Role of the Unconscious in the Writing Process,” Peer English: The Journal of New Critical Thinking 1 (2006): 46.Google Scholar

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© Matthew A. Fike 2009

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