In Search of the Father: Two Plays

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When the archetypal patriarchal or matriarchal dominate in a daughter’s psyche, the positive masculine spirit does not mature sufficiently out of the maternal unconscious for there to be an optimal meeting between feminine and masculine principles. It becomes difficult for a more conscious, well-integrated, whole human being to develop. Where inadequate or incompetent fathering is combined with absent or passive, silent mothering, the balance is off; a daughter’s talents and possibilities for the future can remain dormant—or fade away in self-doubt.

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When the archetypal patriarchal or matriarchal dominate in a daughter’s psyche, the positive masculine spirit does not mature sufficiently out of the maternal unconscious for there to be an optimal meeting between feminine and masculine principles. It becomes difficult for a more conscious, well-integrated, whole human being to develop. Where inadequate or incompetent fathering is combined with absent or passive, silent mothering, the balance is off; a daughter’s talents and possibilities for the future can remain dormant—or fade away in self-doubt.

These analytical discussions of two plays, The Heiress and A Delicate Balance, demonstrate how too much or too little parenting can have this detrimental effect. Particularly, when a father withdraws from the family and does not give loving attention to his daughter, or when he presents himself as an overbearing elder, he is neglecting to support his child in the natural process of separation from the mother/Mother—not helping her achieve personal autonomy and an individual life of her own. As an adult, such a daughter will likely find herself in a place not directed from within by her unique potential for wholeness, but rather in one dictated by the limiting expectations of her family and the collective patriarchal culture around her.

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