Similar to the author of "Balin and Balan," Millingen conceives of human and inhuman nature as battlefields (one of his preferred metaphors) "on which fight the theoretically underdeveloped forerunners of Freud's Eros and Thanatos, the life and death instincts
," in Rylance's apt paraphrase (p.
They dance mock-war dances, singing the death of the coward who sells." In such a scenario, the war dance kongonya, seems to paradoxically exude both the life and death instincts
freedom and death.
Moreover, Freud's theory concerning the life and death instincts
suggests not only that the organism is inherently divided in seeking both to perpetuate and to shorten its own existence, but that "it wishes to die only in its own fashion" (Beyond 39).
instinct is a negative manifestation of that of the death instinct
The term "death instinct
" first appeared in Freud's (1920) essay "Beyond the Pleasure Principle" and recurred throughout his work.
Using Freud's division, Hedges sees two impulses at tension: Eros, that "propels us to become close to others, to preserve and conserve, and the Thanatos, or death instinct
, the impulse that works towards the annihilation of all living things, including ourselves." If Eros was the overriding impulse of the culture following the Vietnam War, he believes Thanatos has taken over.
Freud discerned in human nature a series of animalistic urges and drives kept in check by a merciless hanging judge called the "superego." But while the lower animals have an innate instinct for survival, Freud's humans must wrestle with a drive toward self-destruction he called "the death instinct
Unless, as Freud qualifies it, the reality principle intervenes, this nirvana principle, this death instinct
, becomes the goal of life.
According to Freud, omnipotence operates as a defense mechanism intended to protect one's self from the pull of the death instinct
: the regressive drive toward the elimination of all tension, a primary impulse toward "nothingness." Omnipotence is projected outward and manifested as rage, as aggressiveness, as "the blindest fury of destructiveness" (Freud, Civilization 68), and, in erotic life, as sadism.
At the behest of the life instinct the ego splits off and projects the death instinct
And finally we come to Doyle's play as inaugurating the death phase of Irving's own career, itself "glorify[ing] the death instinct
"--comment and definition by Freud.
Among some of the major concepts discussed in this paper were: castration anxiety, fear of loss of love, the death instinct
, and the role of the defense mechanisms (especially denial).