The Return of the Repressed
Repressed trauma always returns to the mind via one of the defense mechanism pathways like "displacement" or "projection" or "condensation," including their fully integrated combination in the "dream work." Because Freud treated works of literature like public dreams, dreamed for us by the artist, their construction was presumed to reflect hidden unconscious processes shared by authors and readers. For instance, when Sophocles wrote Oedipus, the King, he gave the following line to Jocasta, Oedipus' mother/wife/queen, when she tries to distract him from his memory of the prophecy that he would kill his father and wed his mother: "As to your mother's marriage bed,--don't fear it. Before this, in dreams too, as well as oracles, many a man has lain with his own mother" (Oedipus the King, in Sophocles I, Trans. David Grene, [N.Y.: Washington Square, 1967] 53.) Of passages like this, Freud remarked, "The poets and philosophers before me discovered the unconscious. What I discovered was the scientific method by which the unconscious could be studied."