Electra and iphigenia: layers of meaning and modern relevance from the electra story

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Electra and iphigenia: layers of meaning and modern relevance from the electra story

A presentation by Ted Fillery

Thursday, August 7, 2014 7.30pm - 9.30pm
Venue: The Quaker House, 10 Hampson St, Kelvin Grove
Admission: Members & Concession: $10 • Non-members: $15

"Oh child don’t you know?Your daddy love come with a life time guarantee."
  — Anon

"Lyrics to “Babyfather”, from her CD, “Soldier of Love"
  — Sade

C.G. Jung coined the expression “Electra Complex” in 1913, in an attempt to differentiate a woman’s situation from that described by Freud’s “Oedipus Complex” for a man. Ted will attempt to mine the many layers of the Electra myth for meaning and relevance in our modern society.

Electra arranged for her brother, Orestes, to kill their mother, Clytemnestra, and step-father, Aegisthus, for cheating on Agamemnon. Stories of divorce and the splitting of the father imago fill modern analysts’ offices. Ted will share some of his own and his clients’ experiences.

Orestes was driven to psychosis by the howls of the Furies for his matricidal deed, yet eventually received consolation from Iphigenia, his sister, in the guise of an Athenian priestess. And it is important to remember Iphigenia’s story as we look at the resolution of the conflict between Orestes and the Furies in the trial held before Athena as judge in the final play of Aeschylus’ trilogy. “Why is Orestes – and more pointedly Electra – so bent on avenging the death of the father who has killed their sister? The long drawn out struggle between Athena and the Furies in Orestes’ trial becomes riveting in its implication that the working through of conflicts among women may hold a key to replacing violence with speaking, bringing private feuds into public places and healing wounds that otherwise fester from generation to generation – in short, to establishing democracy and civilization.” (Quoted from Carol Gilligan)

Ted Fillery, recently retired from teaching and moved to Brisbane, is the divorced father of six grown children and a step-daughter. He volunteered for many years as a chaplain at a children’s hospital and at an AIDS hospice in Toronto, before training in Zürich during the 90’s and practicing as a Jungian Analyst in Toronto, Montréal and now Brisbane. Ted is in Brisbane accompanying his spouse, Ingrid, who works as a Patent Manager for the mining giant, Rio Tinto, on assignment here.