A Mother’s Eyes
Cow Eyed Hera And Edgar Allan Poe
Stories under consideration:
Berenice March 1835
Morella April 1835
Fall Of The House Of Usher 1839
William Wilson 1840
…Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is not the loftiest intelligence- whether much that is glorious- whether all that is profound- does not spring from disease of thought- from MOODS of mind exalted at the expense of the general intellect…In their visions they obtain glimpses of eternity, and thrill…to find that they have been on the verge of the great secret.
Sonnet- To My Mother
Because I feel that, in the heavens above,
The angels, whispering to one another,
Can find, among their burning terms of love,
None so devotional as that of ‘Mother’,
Therefore by that dear name I long have called you,
You who are more than mother unto me,
And fill my heart of hearts, where Death installed you,
In setting my Virginia’s spirit free.
For mother- my own mother, who died early,
Was but the mother of myself, but you
Are mother to the one I loved so dearly,
And thus are dearer than the mother I knew
By that infinity with which my wife
Was dearer to my soul than its soul-life.
As we study Poe keep in mind Dali’s picture: The Temptation Of St. Anthony. Keep those symbols in the forefront of your mind.
Edgar Allan Poe is a classic study on the effect of abandonment by the mother on the psyche, specifically affecting the brain stem as part of Structural Psychology. Poe exhibits the classic symptoms of the eyes, the horse and the female substitute for the Mother as well as adding several other twists due to his extremely analytical mind.
As the opening quote from his story Eleonora indicates Poe understood that he was quite mad. Although he was able to describe quite clearly in symbolical language the source of his madness his intelligence was unable to sift below the psychological barriers which would have cleared his mind of his madness.
In five really remarkable stories with extreme clarity he delineates his problem. They are the first story he wrote, Metzengerstein of 1832, Berenice of March 1835, Morella of April 1835, Ligeia of 1838 and Eleonora of 1842.
The Fall Of The House Of Usher and William Wilson demonstrate his inability to deal with the problem adequately. Under stress his personality begins to disintegrate.
Poe lived a short life of forty years from 1809 to 1849. His first story, Metzengerstein, was written when he was only twenty-three. It would have been interesting if he had lived long enough to consolidate his stories into at least one full length novel, other than Arthur Gordon Pym.
His own mother died in 1811 when he was only two. Thus the connection between his and his mother’s eyes was disrupted very early. He was then adopted by a Mrs. John Allan for whom he had the greatest respect and love. Mrs. Allan died February 28, 1829 when Poe was twenty years old. The horror of the death of this second mother festered in his mind for three years until his feelings began to find expression for him in 1832 with Metzengerstein.
The woman he refers to in his rather confused poem- Sonnet- To My Mother- was the mother of his wife Virginia, a Mrs. Clemm. This poem was written shortly before his own death two years after the death of his wife Virginia in 1847. As the poem says, Mrs. Clemm, his mother-in-law filled ‘his heart of hearts’ where Death had placed her when her daughter Virginia died.
Clearly Poe was having mother figure after mother figure taken from him by death. His response apart from his literary outpourings was to drug and drink himself to death in 1849 two years after Virginia’s demise.
The Mother Archetype is truly a very powerful figure. In giving the figure prime importance Sigmund Freud was absolutely correct. What does that Mother figure mean to a man?
In ancient Greece the Great Mother goddess was ofter referred to by Homer as ‘Cow-eyed’ Hera. This image has been difficult for subsequent generations to understand. Many current translators of the Iliad drop ‘cow eyed’ in favor of euphemisms they can understand. If we would understand Homer this is a very serious mistake. Hera as the Great Mother is associated with the cow for good reason.
Whether she was ‘cow-eyed’ before she caught Zeus philandering with Io is unclear. Caught in the act Zeus attempted evasion by turning Io into a cow. Hera retaliated by having Io tormented by a vicious gad-fly. The gad-fly drove Io in the form of a cow from Greece to India to Egypt. In Egypt Io was transformed back into human shape as the goddess Isis. Formerly the Egyptians had depicted Earth and Sky, or the sources of plenty, in the form of a woman arching over with her feet on one horizon and her fingers on the other. After Io was introduced to Egypt the image of the woman was replaced by that of the cow.
In nearly every country Io visited the cow has been considered a sacred animal. Whether in India, Egypt or the cattle raising tribes of Africa the cow was never killed. This miraculous animal was so beneficial live that its life became sacred. The cow was not only wealth but a symbol of wealth. One imagines that the first coin might have been called the ‘cow.’
Cattle lifting or rustling has been a way of life since perhaps the time of Io if she represents when the cow was domesticated. To lift a man’s cattle was to strip him of all social significance while making the lifter significant in his place.
Thus in Greek Mythology and history men and gods are stripped of significance by the lifting of their cattle. When the god Hermes was born his first act was to lift the cattle of Apollo thus assimilating himself with that god. Apollo tracked Hermes down but was so pleased with the little trickster that they established an accord, became blood brothers so to speak. Both sides of the coin.
In the Odyssey the Cattle Of The Sun were inviolable. Odysseus incurred the wrath of the Sun when his men after having been warned not to, killed a single cow. As the Sun sees all from his heavenly abode retaliation was quick and sure. Obviously that was a reason the Sun’s cattle were inviolable.
The story of the lifting of Geryon’s cattle by Heracles is also significant. In former times before the advent of the Patriarchy Heracles as Hera’s consort had been the Sun God. When the Patriarchy replaced the Matriarchy Hera was assigned to Zeus while Heracles was demoted to a human and made an enemy of Hera.
Now, prior to the end of the Ice Age before the Mediterranean Basin was flooded, Hera and Heracles, by whatever names they were then known, must have been the chief gods of the pre-flood peoples of the Mediterranean. Thus two cults of Heracles grew up as the Western Mediterranean became separated from the Eastern Mediterrean in the post-flood Basin. One cult in the East in Greece and the Levant and another in the West of Spain.
The two cults must have come in conflict as the Greeks colonised Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, Marseilles and the northern Spanish Coast around Barcelona. It became necessary for the Spanish cult to be suppressed or co-opted in favor of the Greeks. Thus, in myth the Greek Heracles is sent West to lift the cattle of the Spanish Heracles or Geryon. Relieved of his cattle the Spanish Heracles became a non-entity while all the glory accrued to the Greek Heracles.
Such was the poltical and social significance of cows.
The economic importance of cattle was equally great which, of course, led to their social importance. Cows produced offspring. Fifty percent bulls and fifty percent cows. So one’s social importance increased every Spring if you could hold onto your cattle. The bulls being superfluous in large numbers, there being no reason to waste valuable feed on them, were used as sacrifices in the ancient Mediterranean. The gods were given the bones and fat while the flesh was consumed by the human votaries of the holocaust. Thus cows, without killing them, provided an abundance of meat. They also provided milk and its various by-products including butter and cheese. The African tribes bled their cattle to acquire nourishment from the blood so it is not unlikely that the Greeks and others did the same. The Africans never did figure out butter and cheese.
The cow being female was naturally related to the Mother Archetype. Hence we have ‘cow-eyed’ Hera. The mother is to her son, like a cow to mankind, a source of superabundance or should be. She sacrifices her own happiness, or should, to supply all his needs, she feeds him from her own body. She psychologically nourishes him with the love pouring from her eyes. It seems to be a fact that the longer a son nurses from his mother the better his chances for success in life are. Sons who nurse for two years or more are assured of the best chances.
Thus to be abandoned by your mother, death being a form of abandonment, is the greatest tragedy that can befall a son.
In Poe’s case he was abandoned by his mothers, once at two and once at twenty and by his wife-mother surrogate at forty-seven. The unconscious strain was simply too much for him so he drank and drugged himself to death succeeding in 1849 at the age of forty.
Fortunately he recorded all the classic symptoms plus some in his series of magnificent short stories. They are or should be a treasure trove for the analyst.
As noted above, when his adoptive mother died in 1829 his reaction was intense. Poe began his inquiry into his anguish in a raging examination of the effect on his Ego or Animus in Metzengerstein. The story culminates in the destruction of Metzengerstein’s house or castle by fire. Fire is a purifying agent. The house is a psychological symbol for the self just as a room in the house is a symbol for the mind. As his house was being consumed the smoke gathered above to form the shape of– a horse. Thus as with Aldous Huxley and my other examples the mother is related in the male to the horse and more especially the eyes. It is not improbable that if Hera had come into existence after the introduction of the horse into Greece that she would have been known as horse-eyed Hera. As it was Athene who may have been a Patriarchal attempt at superseding Hera was depicted on occasion theriomorphically with a horse’s head and hence horse’s eyes.
I can’t say for certain, as I am not a clinical psychologist, but I am reasonably sure this symbolism is not true for the female although the female retains a need for the masculinity expressed by the strength, force and grace of the male horse. This need was transferred from the bull. As women their symbolism is probably relative to the cow as in ‘cow-eyed’ Hera.
Indeed, many men derogatively refer to women as cows. To do so may refer to a hatred of women and mothers in these men. The significance of all this symbolism has been ignored far too long.
Poe knew he was distaught or mad. Madness may indeed be a road to intelligence or self-discovery. Duller intelligences are usually quite satisfied, seeing no reason to question or investigate. Another madman, the poet and singer Roger Miller, put it as that he had too much water for his land. In other words his intelligence was bubbling out all over the place drowning his land or stability. When land and water are in balance in Miller’s scheme one has normality. When land is more prevalent than water one has a desert and a pretty nasty fellow. According to Miller too much water made one hep while a balance of land and water made one square. His moral was that squares made the world go round.
He was certainly correct. Stolidity leads to solidity. Society needs a solid basis to exist as a beneficial organism. The mad, bad or sad in the proper proportions either leaven society or destroy it as at present when the Bohemian and Libertine influence is so dominant. The influence of all three has to be controlled or monitored or their intrinsic evil destroys any equitable basis for society.
But to return to an analysis of Poe’s stories.
Oppressed by his psyche the dam began to burst shortly after the death of Poe’s adoptive mother. First his own mother died when he was two and then his adoptive mother when he was twenty. The effect on his psyche must have been unbearable to cause such a violent irruption as Metzengerstein when he was twenty-three.
The story of Metzengerstein centers around what appears to be a flesh eating horse. There is only a brief significant mention of the horse’s teeth as the horse pictured on a tapestry in the attic or mind turned to look at M. with a baleful eye.
The same horse is then given to him by his grooms who capture it fleeing from the burning stables of M.’s rival Berlifitzing. They claim the horse is M.’s even though it was seen coming out of the burning stables and is branded with this rival’s initials W.V.B. in a rather unusual place for a horse, the forehead. No missing that brand, sort of reminds you of a wedding ring.
Now, the horse with eyes and teeth is part of the Structural Psychology located in the brain stem. This one represents his dead adoptive mother. Poe had become estranged from his adoptive father, John Allan after receiving marked benefits from him as a child. The cause of the disruption is attributed to drinking and gambling but the literary evidence of Metzengerstein would indicate an intense sexual rivalry.
B. is the older man as was Allan. M. had just come of age following a course of action not too different from Poe’s. The horse, representing Poe’s adoptive mother, has B.’s brand on her. Or in other words the horse represents Mrs. Allan, B.’s wife. Disregarding all the evidence to the contrary M. is given the horse as belonging to him. Seems fairly clear on the surface of it.
She is a difficult flesh eating horse of firery temperament which only M. can ride. As Mrs. Allan was no relationship to Poe there can be no question of incest so that he could ‘ride’ or have sex with Mrs. Allan without incestuous guilt. In fact M. frequently rides off on her into the forest at night. Night is the usual time for love making while the forest is a symbol for the lost soul who cannot find his way.
The tapestry on which the horse is pictured is located in a very large room at the top of M.’s castle or house. Psychologically the house represents the self. The room represents one’s mind. The tapestry functions as memory.
Having left on a night ride of some duration into the forest, as M.’s servants are anxiously awaiting his return M.’s house or castle myteriously bursts into flame. This must represent the death of Mrs. Allan or Poe’s being caught by Mr. Allan in flagrante dilecto. The horse returns at a mad gallop out of control bearing a screaming M. to rush straight into the burning house, up the stairs to the upper chamber and one assumes onto the tapestry. Then in a supernatural manner the violence of the flames subsides while the rising smoke forms the image of– a horse.
Forgive me for saying so if you are a Poe fan but the story qua story is stupid. Only as an allegory of Poe’s relationship to the Allans does it make sense, specifically the relationship of the Mother Archetype with the Son.
Metzengerstein was merely the first bursting of the dam; the next four stories on our list named for women develop the horror of Poe’s fixation on the Mother Figure. Let me say here that I do not believe that Poe’s adoption of the name of Allan refers in any way to John Allan; it is rather in memory and tribute to Mrs. Allan. The death of Mrs. Allan seared Poe’s mind. The trauma was so intense that his mind did become rather disordered.
Those teeth, those teeth which got such a brief mention in Metzengerstein form the focal point of his next story dealing with his horrible fixation. As with Huxley those teeth could bite you.
Berenice is the story of the teeth of the flesh eating mare. In the story, in an abortive attempt to exorcise the demon of Mrs. Allan, Poe abandons the omniscient observer of M. for the first person. Berenice and Morella are now written in the first person. They are attempts to violently dispose of the horrifying losses of his Mother Figure. Always an astute psychologist Poe now creates an image of monomania. He knows he is quite distraught, men have called mad. The mania is centered around the teeth so briefly mentioned in Metzengerstein. All Poe can think about now is those teeth.
As noted in Huxley, the Mother Figure is always exempt from retribution so that one’s obsession is transferred to another woman usually a beloved but not necessarily.
Most of the violent so-called crimes against women by men can be traced directly to the man’s relationship with his mother. In other words, crimes are not against women per se but against mother surrogates. One has to look behind the symbolic victim to the source of the discomfort. The hand that rocks the cradle is at fault.
Ted Bundy, all the various stranglers and mutilators, Richard Speck, they are all retaliating the crimes of their mothers against them on other women. Bundy is an exceptionally interesting case when viewed from this perspective. His symbolism is quite astonishing.
Extreme violence is only an extreme response to what the perpetrator considers an extreme crime against himself. One may assume that the way a man treats his wife or lovers is a reflection on the way he interprets his mother treated him.
The drive and push since the turn of the nineteenth century for the destruction of the family by Reds, Communists and Fellow Travelers can have only the most dire consequences. One can hardly consider the Reds well intentioned in their obtuseness. One might begin by examining their relationships to their mothers. In disrupting the eye to eye relationship of the infant with his mother they are in essence condemning the world to a reign of terror, and against women, unparelleled since the beginning of time.
On the score of rejection and abandonment one can only shudder at what the results of these idiotic infant day care centers the Reds favor will be.
A woman’s preoccupation with sex condemns her offspring.
One has to assume from Poe’s writing that he found his relationship with his adoptive mother of the most troubling nature. Whether he actually had sexual relations with her or only fantasized them the result is the same.
As I say, in attempting to exorcise or control her memory he concentrated on the man eating quality of her teeth. In the story Berenice the narrator becomes quite conscious of what he is doing.
In a fugue state he attacks the living Berenice restraining her in some way while he pulls every tooth from her screaming terror stricken head and then buries her alive keeping the teeth as souvenirs. When he is discovered coated in mud after having buried her he is horrified at this evidence that proves his guilt of which he is unaware.
This, shall we say, is psychotic behavior.
Poe may have fantasized the whole incident but one wonders if somewhere he had not actually committed such a crime burying the woman’s body where it wouldn’t be retrieved. One has visions of Ted Bundy.
Imagine if Ted Bundy had written a series of ‘imaginative’ stories centered around his murders or if Richard Speck had written a novel about the murder of those nurses. Could the descriptions of the killings have been more realistic or chilling than Berenice?
Then turning quickly from the writing of Berenice Poe promptly followed with his story of yet another woman, Morella. Probably emotionally drained from the excessive violence of Berenice Poe is more subdued in Morella as he struggles to bring his agony under control. In Morella he is attached to a woman who he does not kill by burying alive. Instead Morella sickens and dies from neglect as the first person narrator subtly spurns her. Thus if he couldn’t defang and bury his mother alive from which she would only return to haunt him perhaps he could just sort of forget her. Really?
Morella is determined that he will not rid himself of her so easily. On her deathbed she gives birth to a daughter who is in reality herself. The narrator cannot help loving and devoting himself to this child although he never gives her a name. Still, necessity compels him when she is fourteen to have her baptized. Asked for the name compulsion makes him whisper the name ‘Morella.’ The child answers, ‘I am here’ and expires. Upon taking the child to the tomb to be buried beside its mother he finds the tomb empty. He just can’t pull those teeth.
It was some three years after Berenice and Morella in 1838 that he returns to the theme in Ligeia. Here he tries to marry once again. The dominant theme of Ligeia is her eyes. A subordinate theme is her teeth. Once again after expatiating on Ligeia’s eyes for some two or three pages Ligeia sickens and dies but she warns that she will not go quietly into the beyond but that she intends to will herself back into life. Ye gods. Poe’s mother fixation does torment him. Why don’t you read Poes’ Sonnet- To My Mother again.
The first person narrator remarries but his memories of Ligeia remain so prominent that he disgusts his new wife. She in turn sickens and dies, in fact, she is murdered by Ligeia from beyond the grave in a supernatural manner. By some process of metempsychosis Ligeia as a mature woman gains possession of the corpse. The narrator is able to recognize the revivified body as Ligeia from her eyes and teeth. Definitely brain stem stuff.
Now, up to this point Poe is dealing with this intense stress in his own persona. This is an intolerable situation that cannot go on. Thus his ego or Animus splits in two as he creates a doppelganger who can deal more directly with the problem while he watches. In other words he remains himself as the narrator while creating a Ted Bundy like double.
In 1839 he wrote ‘The Fall Of The House Of Usher’
While being more comfortable for himself, Poe’s personality enters a critical stage. The narrator visits the doppelganger, Roderick Usher, and his sister in their castle which is quite reminiscent of the castle of Metzengerstein.
During his stay Usher’s sister sickens and is thought to be dead. She is sealed in a coffin. The narrator helps Usher carry the coffin to a cell at the bottom of the castle. At this point Poe has passed the responsibility from himself to his doppelganger a la Bundy or Speck. Unlike Berenice in which the narrator personally tore out Bernice’s teeth while burying her alive the crime is now performed, albeit unintentionally, by a split off personality. Poe in essence watches deeds performed by someone else relieving him of guilt although in this instance he participates in carrying the coffin to the cell.
Significantly the cell is directly beneath his own chamber in the castle, from which cell he hears mysterious sounds as though the sister were stirring in her coffin. The two rooms answer to the brain and brainstem so that he is still unable to escape the specter of the Mother Figure.
Eventually the sister frees herself going to the same room in which Usher and the narrator are chatting. They are naturally together as dopplegangers must be. Usher throws open the door to discover his sister covered in blood. To his and the narrator’s horror they discover that they have buried her alive. She collapses on Usher and they both fall down dead.
There is a correspondence here with Poe’s poem The Raven in which he hears a tapping on the door. Opening the door he finds no one there. The tapping transfers to his window. When the narrator opens the window the Raven enters to sit on a bust of Athene above his chamber door. Athene in one guise is the goddess of wisdom, her bird is the owl, so the Raven, an omen of death, replaces wisdom as the symbol of Athene. When the narrator leaves through that door he passes to the Land Of No Return.
As the narrator leaves the house or Usher, once again representing himself, great rents appear in the stone walls. The house collapses just as the castle of Metzengerstein burned to the ground. Perhaps Poe thinks he has solved his problem by dissociation but he is still not dealing directly with it. By killing off his doppelganger, Usher, and his sister he still has only an ineffective solution.
However he has now moved from intense first hand suffering to a suffering once removed in the creation of a doppelganger. He may believe that in killing the doppelganger as well as the Mother Figure he has disposed of his problem but once again he is deceived.
In William Wilson that directly followed Usher in 1840 the doppelganger has truly become an alternate persona. To punish himself for his inability to resolve the Mother Figure dilemma the double goes around defeating Wilson in all his criminal schemes. In the story the narrator leads a life of crime while the doppelganger functions as his conscience.
In a rather silly ending Wilson confronts himself in a duel realizing that it is he himself who is hurting himself. Thus he kills not only his doppelganger but himself. On the streets of Baltimore.
This theme was examined well in the movie: Who Is Harry Kellerman And Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me. Certainly Poe in his own life, this man of talent, is botching his own career. This of course begs the question would he have had the talent if he hadn’t been mad? If he had been one of Roger Miller’s squares who make the world go round no more notice would have been taken of him than any other square, whose name is Legion.
From Wilson, Poe moves to the last of his woman stories, Eleonora of 1842, only seven years from his death.
In this story his demon seems to be laid to rest as Eleonora finally gives her consent for the narrator to marry. One imagines that Poe’s union with Virginia receives the blessing of the Mother Figure. The question is why would she? What ulterior motive does Poe have? This brings us back to Poe’s Sonnet- To My Mother. Looked at closely this poem is evidence of a seriously deranged mind. This is not a poem to Poe’s mother or even Mrs. Allan.
‘My mother- my own mother’, he says, ‘who died early, was but the mother of myself; but you (Mrs. Clemm) are mother to the one I loved so dearly, and thus are dearer than the mother I knew…’ He mentions his own mother who died early while one presumes that Mrs. Allan was the mother he knew. Both previous mothers are now dismissed in favor of his mother-in-law because of what must have been a mother surrogate in his beloved Virginia.
Now, what Virginia has in common with Morella and Ligeia is that she is sickly and dies while his beloved mother-in-law, who is more than a mother to him, whatever that might mean, is healthy and lives. Even then she is Poe’s ‘heart of hearts’ where DEATH installed her in setting Virginia’s SPIRIT free. No real murder in Poe’s mind. He rationalizes Virginia’s murder as that her soul was set free.
Can one find any similarities with Morella and Ligeia?
The appearance is that he married Virginia to obtain a mother. This may have been the only way he could assuage the pain in his brainstem caused by the loss of the mother he didn’t know and the mother he knew.
Now, Poe’s personality split back in 1839 or, at least, Usher was the first record of it. One imagines that Virginia was superfluous and possibly an impediment to enjoying his relationship with this latter day mother who Poe says is dearer than the mother he knew by that infinity with which ‘my wife was dearer to my soul than its own soul-life.’ Was his real mother his soul-life? If so that is quite some distance between the mother he knew, Mrs. Allan, Virginia, Mrs. Clemm and his own mother or soul-life. Certainly his deeply proclaimed affection for Mrs. Clemm was of very recent origin. Why this intense depth of affection so quickly? Thus when Eleonora released him to be married the conclusion is that Virginia replaced his real mother in his brainstem. She became a surrogate mother who had to die so he could resume a relationship with a true mother figure. Very possibly a sexual one or an attempted sexual one.
Once again, it is absolutely forbidden for a man to avenge himself on his mother’s person. Impossible in this case since Poe’s own mother died when he was two and the mother he knew when he was twenty. Nevertheless Hera’s great cow-eyes have seared his soul. His mother’s eyes appear again in the face of Ligeia and hence Virginia.
A person may not be able to recall infantile impressions or memories clearly but they survive in Structural Psychology or what Jung called the ‘collective unconscious.’ As the infant mind has no way to put the experience into words or clear images the adult transforms them into metaphors which control his life but against which he has no defence as he cannot ‘remember’ in the sense of recalling them.
Poe could not punish his mother but he could select a mother surrogate and punish her while transferring his affections to the mother of she who was dearer to his soul than its own soul-life. All of Poe’s fictional heroines sickened and died except Berenice who the narrator actually mutilated and buried alive.
Poe himself had created a persona which would never murder a wife but he had also created a double who would and did inadvertantly in the character of Roderick Usher. Certainly Poe’s doppelganger was capable of doing what he could voyeuristically observe but still feel free of participation and, hence, guilt.
Which brings to mind the ‘Mystery Of Marie Roget’. Just as Ted Bundy rigidly created an amiable trustworthy everyday persona to live his life and a doppelganger who avenged himself on his mother by killing girl substitutes it is possible, I don’t say that it is so, that Poe himself killed Mary Rogers and possibly some others.
It may have been a display of his genius in demonstrating that Mary Rogers was killed by a single person rather than a gang but on the other hand he created a doppelganger of Mary Rogers in the character of Marie Roget to demonstrate his reasoning. Perhaps he was so clever because he had actually committed the murder. It is not impossible that Poe split off a doppelganger of Mary Rogers in Marie Roget who was killed by Poe’s own doppelganger while Poe killed Mary Rogers.
That was a pretty neat trick for a deranged mind. He not only demonstrated a murder, he did it but no one caught on. Compare the idea behind the Purloined Letter.
There can be little question that Poe suffered severely in his Structural Psychology which was reflected in his personal psychology.
Here we may raise the question of what effect the balance of Menos and Ate has on a man’s actions. There must obviously be degrees of imbalance. For people like Huxley, Poe, Freud, Jung, Polarion and myself there is the creative outlet of Menos. Those like Ted Bundy and Richard Speck have insufficient Menos but are all Ate. Without a creative outlet they may be condemned to commit murders to express their anguish at their treatment by their mothers.
In Huxley’s case he was, on the Menos side, able to express himself in novels thus relieving the pressure while on the Ate side he appears to have become his mother while marrying a woman who would willingly compensate him for his mother’s neglect.
I hesitate to review my own behavior in that respect.
Poe who was much more deeply troubled seems to have had correspondingly greater gifts on the Menos side than Huxley while on the Ate side the pressure appears to have been so intense that he may have resorted to murder of unrelated women while he may surely have caused the death of Virginia by a combination of neglect on the one hand as evidenced by the examples of Morella and Ligeia or even willful poisoning as in the case of Ligeia and the narrator’s wife. The negative actions would have been caused by his doppelganger while Poe himself looked on.
Jung and Freud, who while not abandoned by their mothers had troubled relationships with them, applied the Menos to make significant contributions to the understanding of psychology while their expression of Ate was either minor or extremely well hidden in Jung’s case and not exposed in Freud’s case.
I hope that Polarion and I are making our contribution to psychological understanding while on the Ate side we merely express indifference to externals.
All of us probably are or were introverts.
The solution of the problem is completely out of the hands of men. The solution, if there can be one, rests with The Hand That Rocks The Cradle.
End of Cow-Eyed Hera And Edgar Allan Poe. Go to Part IV, The Hand That Rocks The Cradle