Words of Wisdom:

"if you hold the ladder for the thief you are just as bad as he is" - Heto

Don Jose of Merimee’s Carmen

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 03:31 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 40.7 
  • Words: 611
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Although Don Jose of Carmen shows little parallelism to Oedipus of Oedipus Rex, the development of character of the former can be attributed to many aspects, mainly those of social and sexual tension, found in the latter, which has formed the basis for one of Freud’s psychoanalytical studies known as the Oedipus Complex or Oedipus Conflict.

Oedipus Conflict puts a young boy (or girl) in a hypothetical phase, called the “phallic stage”, in a volatile position where in having to direct his new-found sexual potential somewhere, he turns to the most readily available female - the mother, only to be confronted by a figure of authority, his father, and to be subdued through fear, depicted as a “fear of castration” in that hypothetical phase. Given enough flexibility, this modus of development can be used to represent any character developing in fear against its nature, and can certainly be shown true of Don Jose, already castrated at the beginning of his story - outcast (or exiled) from his homeland for resolving a quarrel through animal means. This concept of exile is perhaps one of the few points where we can draw a direct parallelism with Oedipus’ story; both Don Jose and Oedipus commit a crime by giving in to their animal nature, after which they are regarded as a disease (Gr. “pathos”) of/to the socieity which they live in, and are subsequently exiled.

Don Jose, however, is given another chance to live his life as a part of (another) society, where he meets an Oedipal mother/wife figure called Carmencita, and once again lives in fear of castration until he kills both her and himself as the second part of a double tragedy. Carmen, a manipulating “femme fatale” figure, the (un)justification of whose actions are not the responsibility of this text, manipulates Don Jose through a lifetime series of events by reaching his male ego -of animal and Oedipal nature- and drives his sexuality, in irony, to let Don Jose allow himself to be castrated non-sexually....

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