......• Antigone and Kurtz
........ radical subjectivities and their relationships with the hegemonies
.........Gray Kane

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Through the juxtaposition of Lacan's Antigone with Conrad's Heart of Darkness, one sees that both Antigone and Kurtz's radical subjectivities threaten hegemonic interpretations and that both Ismene and Marlow exhibit certain precarious relationships with them as their respective Others. Meanwhile, a change of power occurs in one text but not in the other. In which case, the following analysis reviews Lacan's Antigone in order to reevaluate Conrad's novel for the purpose of shedding light on radical subjectivities' roles or lack thereof in the transformation of hegemonic power. Because Lacan sets up a network of signification to suggest relationships with that which cannot be signified, the following interpretation of Antigone cites heavily from Seminar VII in order to effect the meanings that Lacan intentionally leaves out of his interpretation of the play.

To take Antigone in the Lacanian sense, as a solicitation to move beyond the confines of the legal limits of representation held together by socialized desire, as a threat of reincorporating into the statements of desire that which the Law has sentenced to be torn apart beyond the limits of representability, transforms Antigone into the manifestation of a mediating third term in the hegemony's conversion from in-itself to for-itself. This legal limit that Antigone's very personae crosses-the final signifier in the field of signification, the terminal signifier held up before the ultimate lack at the end of the subject's desire-Lacan labels the "phallus," and this traversing the phallus he presents as the ethical role of the analyst. Lacan indicates this relegation of "ethics" to the analyst with the "of" in Seminar VII's title The Ethics of Psychoanalysis, as well as through the seminar's intended audience, comprised of training analysts.

Understanding Antigone's ethics as pertaining to the analyst helps to situate Antigone within the play. If Antigone is the analyst, then the text belongs to the analysand, Ismene. Creon, acting in the Name-of-the-Father, functions as the symbolic-constructing gaze (the ego ideal) whose Law posits Ismene as her ideal ego in her narrative. The Law per Ismene's relationship to the Name of the Father defines/confines this identity around a notion of good, [1] and according to this moral Law, as voiced by the narrating gaze of Creon, Ismene cannot mourn the death of Polyneices. After all, by killing her other brother, Eteocles, Polyneices acted against this morality according to which Creon constructs her life.

Consequently, as Ismene's ego ideal, Creon relegates Polyneices' body outside of her symbolic. Creon's moral Law denies Polyneices the symbolic ceremony of an adequate burial. Instead, this ego ideal opts for Polyneices' symbolic body to be ripped apart until he exists solely outside of both the symbolic and the imaginary-i.e., only in the real.

However, this inadvertently prohibits Ismene from satisfactorily mourning. According to Lacan-and more importantly, per how Lacan chooses to make Freud accord with Lacan's analysis - "Freud [...] says that the work of mourning is applied to an incorporated object, to an object which for one reason or another one is not particularly fond of" (Ethics 307). For Ismene, Polyneices' body manifests as that somewhat unpleasant object that needs re-incorporation from his fragmenting state through the advent of a symbolic burial. [2] Because Ismene cannot adequately mourn, Creon's "sentencing" causes a neurosis in the text of her symbolic whose symptom manifests as the plague of odor (Sophocles 163) emanating from the fracturing body.

Meanwhile, Lacan draws an association between Antigone's desire to achieve her brother and her mother's incestuous desire for Oedipus: "[Polyneices] embodies an allusion to the womb" (Ethics 279).

The text alludes to the fact that the desire of the mother is the origin of everything. The desire of the mother is the founding desire of the whole structure, the one that brought into the world the unique offspring that are Eteocles, Polynices, Antigone and Ismene; but it is also criminal desire. (283)

In this loaded series of sentences, Lacan implies that the origin of objet a for Antigone comes from the presently absent object in Jocasta's womb, which is not merely Polyneices but Oedipus. This is Jocasta's desire, which is "criminal desire" because it is incestuous. Therefore, Antigone's desire receives its organization according to the demands imposed by an always-already access to the socially prohibited.

As a result, like her father before her, Antigone experiences a "criminal desire" to know, [3] as opposed to the acceptance of limits imposed by mere understanding. This desire to know equates with love constitutive of identification: "identification which flows from the love for the father and from his role in the normalization of desire" (181). Through this identification with the father's role that normalizes desire, part of the subject-the subject's desire or even jouissance - manifests as a direct result of its appearance in the Other with whom the subject identifies. For this reason, Lacan sees "love of thy neighbor" as problematic (186), because as we see here in Antigone's love, the resulting identification can establish criminal desire, or jouissance (ibid).

For Antigone, through an allusion to the presently absent object in Jocasta's womb, this Other-at present represented through Polyneices-consists of all those forbidden others now dead in her family. Therefore, similarly to the ghost of King Hamlet before the Prince, Antigone's desire for Ismene harks back to a previous and now repressed social order. Constructing this ideal Antigone with whom Ismene finds herself ultimately identifying, the gaze of Antigone's ego ideal still emanates from Oedipus.

Because jouissance is jouissance of the Other, Antigone's desire for what remains prohibited in Ismene's text effects a jouissance in that text. As Lacan explains, "the only moment of jouissance that man knows occurs at the site where fantasms are produced, fantasms that represent for us the same barrier as far as access to jouissance is concerned" (298). As already indicated, in order to reintegrate the forbidden object into the analysand's symbolic and thereby facilitate the analysand's mourning, Lacan wants to place the analyst in Antigone's spatial location in the field of desire to enact a jouissance in the analysand's psyche. In other words, Lacan locates Antigone - and subsequently places the analyst-in the site of the fantasm, another term Lacan deploys in part for objet a in order to illustrate its lack of appearance, its function, and its danger. In the previous seminar, Lacan develops the concept of the fantasy: "Desire, which can be situated on the line of A [$ <> D] at a variable indeterminate point, finds in the fantasy its reference [...] in the imaginary register" ("Desire..." 14) - where "A" corresponds with the Other who causes the various relationships (<>) that the barred subject ($) then experiences at the level of demand (D). In other words, according to the various configurations of demand imposed on what then manifests as the (barred) subject, [4] that subject misinterprets/configures the Other's desire into "a variable indeterminate point" in the subject's imaginary register. This indeterminate image - a presently absent object (objet a) - is the fantasm to the extent that it cannot concretize before the subject. However, to the extent that it does manifest in any interpretable form, the fantasm then becomes the phallus barring access to the real object in desire. Lacan identifies this precarious existence of the indeterminacy of the fantasm as Antigone's place within Ismene's psychic text - as well as the analyst's intended location in the analysand's psyche-in order for jouissance to bring about a transformation in the analysand's relationship with oneself.

In which case, in this reorganization of Ismene's text from in-itself (un-reflexively governed under Creon) to for-itself (post-Creon self-awareness), Antigone mediates as a fantasm, a specter beyond the "second death" (a preconceived finalization of the symbolic that aids one's conception of self).

[...] [The] human tradition has never ceased to keep this second death in mind by locating the end of our sufferings there; in the same way it has never ceased to imagine a second form of suffering, a suffering beyond death that is indefinitely sustained by the impossibility of crossing the limit of the second death. (Ethics 295)

Antigone embodies this imagined second form of suffering beyond the second death. In this sense, Antigone resides solely in the imaginary and, therefore, as a beautifully un-interpretable image: "The beauty effect is a blindness effect. Something else is going on on the other side that cannot be observed. In effect, Antigone herself has been declaring from the beginning: 'I am dead and I desire death'" (281).

Antigone is a ghost, a hallucination. Because the ego ideal decreed that the ideal ego cannot mourn the loss of that which compromised the text's organizational integrity, Antigone's spectral role for Ismene derives from the delay of satisfaction, or the lack of release from the desire regulated by the pleasure principle: "If [the reality principle] intervenes too late, if it doesn't give the little discharge required to attempt the beginning of an adequate solution through action, then there will be a regressive discharge, that is to say, an hallucination [...]" (29). By residing between the pleasure principle and the reality principle, the apparition of Antigone within the play's organization of desire calls for a release, for "catharsis" (245, 315), for the text's freedom from in-itself, for "rectification" (28). In other words, the beauty of Antigone's trans-liminal figure petitions Ismene for a reevaluation of herself in light of the real.

Since this reevaluation in light of the real comes to fruition only as a new hegemonic system of interpretation, essentially two (or more) symbolic systems compete for hegemonic rule: an enunciated system vs. a repressed system. In helping to shed light on Antigone and Heart of Darkness, the following interpretation of Hamlet [5] illustrates this point clearly. For Hamlet's psychic text, the enunciated system derives from Claudius's gaze. Therefore, from this usurped location of the Name of the Father, Claudius's gaze normalizes Hamlet's desire. In which case, prior to the ghost's appearance and the resulting tension between the two Names of the Father, Hamlet's desire includes Ophelia as one of its cathected signifiers, a phallus offered in the place of the absence that organizes that system of desire. As should any good Name of the Father, the usurped Name of the Father organizes Hamlet's relation to his limitations-i.e., to the phallus. Therefore, because of Claudius's gaze, Hamlet sees Ophelia as a source of sexual pleasure, i.e. discharge-in other words, the terminal point in his desire. After all, even after ending their relationship, Hamlet makes advances towards her, "I could interpret between you and your love if I could see the puppets dallying" (3.2.225) [6] and "It would cost you a groaning to take off mine edge" (3.2.228). [7] However, after the ghost's trans-liminal presence contests Claudius's hegemonic legitimacy, every signifier enunciated in the normalized desire now explodes with alternate interpretations. As the first above-cited passage (3.2.225) indicates, Hamlet's flirtatious discourse always already presumes Ophelia's infidelity. Furthermore, also spoken after Hamlet's termination of their courting, the second passage's allusion to pregnancy suggests an illegitimate childbirth. In this sense, Hamlet's flirtation disrespects more than it compliments. As a signifier organized beneath Claudius's gaze, Ophelia exists as a phallus to endow with affect. Meanwhile, King Hamlet's gaze undermines all normalized desire. Through the two Names of the Father, two symbolic systems speak simultaneously through Hamlet's singular mouth: two symbolic systems compete for hegemonic rule over-and as a result proliferate the meanings of-each signifier enunciated in Hamlet's signifying system.

Similarly to Antigone before Ismene, or the ghost of King Hamlet before the Prince, in Heart of Darkness Kurtz opens up a corrective path to the real before Marlow's symbolic. However, as illustrated in the above interpretation of Hamlet, that appeal to the real always already manifests as a competing symbolic. While the gaze itself, the repressed Name of the Father, embodies the very figure of King Hamlet's ghost, only through Antigone does the repressed Name-once inhabited by Oedipus-stare at Ismene. In this latter sense, only through Kurtz does a repressed gaze reach Marlow to throw doubt on his once unquestioned symbolic configurations: the gaze itself remains otherwise unseen. [8]

This latent, competing gaze of African sovereignty never would have surfaced if not for the failure of the hegemonic European gaze to psychically organize the innumerable multitude of African bodies in the psychic text. After all, Marlow's European subjectivity maintains its legitimacy and purpose only through the maintained objectification (as opposed to subjectification) of all African life. However, during the course of the novel, the African Other undergoes a contested movement towards becoming Other, towards recognized self-consciousness, towards acknowledged sovereignty: "'...they were not inhuman [...] that was the worst of it-this suspicion of their not being inhuman'" (Conrad 32).

A prime example of this legitimizing movement of the Other appears in Marlow's characterization of the fireman.

"[...] I had to look after the savage who was fireman. He was an improved specimen; he could fire up a vertical broiler. He was there below me, and, upon my word, to look at him was as edifying as seeing a dog in a parody of breeches and feather hat, walking on hind legs. A few months of training had done for that a really fine chap." (33)

The signifier "edifying" reveals that for Marlow an ideological construct is at stake-the very foundations of which this fireman's image undermines. Similarly to-but to a lesser extent than-Antigone's image before Ismene or King Hamlet's before the Prince, the fireman's presently absent representation within Marlow's hegemonic signifying system introduces a failed repression of a latent signifying system to compete with the hegemonic system. Like Hamlet's speaking with two voices, no longer able to interpret with singularity or claims of universality, the European gaze's attempt to objectify the fireman with signifiers, like "specimen," now encounters contradicting signifiers, such as "fine chap," that emanate from another, latent gaze.

This subjectifying movement insinuates that the African Other possesses consciousness and thus introduces the growing likelihood of Marlow's identification with the African Other. With this augmenting threat of identification comes the increasingly likely appropriation of the Other's desire, which is not limited to desire legitimized within the European signifying system but also desire foreign to the European signifying system, which then registers as forbidden desire, or jouissance.

Therefore, when Marlow begins to see himself through the African Other's consciousness, the threat to hegemonic desire has reached critical capacity: "'[...] just then I perceived - in a new light, as it were-how unwholesome the pilgrims looked, and I hoped, yes, I positively hoped, that my aspect was not so - what shall I say? - so - unappetizing'" (37). Through identifying with the African Other, Marlow contemplates this Other's desire as if it were his own. Although with subsequent sentences Marlow's psyche manages to relegate both the Other's desire and his acquisition of it to a safely conditional mode of discourse, the desire that underpins the signifier "unappetizing" is as forbidden of a desire as Jocasta's incest.

Even the more detached contemplation of the Other's desire reveals Marlow's psychic need for a reevaluation of his European symbolic system in light of that which remains repressed within it.

It takes a man all his inborn strength to fight hunger properly. It's really easier to face bereavement, dishonor, and the perdition of one's soul - than this kind of prolonged hunger. Sad, but true. And these chaps, too, had no earthly reason for any kind of scruple. Restraint! I would just as soon have expected restraint from a hyena prowling amongst the corpses of a battlefield. But there was the fact facing me-the fact dazzling, to be seen, like the foam on the depths of the sea, like a ripple on an unfathomable enigma, a mystery greater - when I thought of it - than the curious, inexplicable note of desperate grief in this savage clamor that had swept by us on the river bank, behind the whiteness of fog. (38)

Despite the signifier's allusion to information codified within a signifying system, the "fact" remains obscure-or rather, undergoes an obscuring process, evident in the sudden switch in modes of discourse from specific, analytic evaluation to abstracting, poetic lamentation. However, regardless of this hegemonic cover-up, Marlow has spoken the "fact," and in doing so codifies/legitimizes the forbidden within a signifying system unable to support it: the "fact" pertains to the African Other's "restraint" deriving from "no earthly reason" but rather from "soul," which means that the African Other possesses the prohibited self-consciousness necessary to reflect upon one's own desires and modify them for moral purposes. The African Other exhibits the legitimate autonomy of morality.

In order to deny the signification of the fireman's death - "I had to make an effort to free my eyes from his gaze and attend to the steering" (42), Marlow represses its symbolic valence by shifting his affect to fetishize an adjacent association - Kurtz: "He is dead," murmured the fellow, immensely impressed. "No doubt about it," said I, tugging like mad at the shoelaces. "And by the way, I suppose Mr. Kurtz is dead as well by this time" (ibid). After this sudden shift in attention (and thus desire), Marlow immediately engages in a rather elaborate lamentation of his never getting to meet Kurtz. In other words, at a time in which he should mourn the fireman's death, Marlow mourns Kurtz.

Kurtz's role is hallucinatory, the direct result of failed discharges of psychic tensions. In fact, the hegemonic symbolic system conjures Kurtz's role to facilitate discharge. Being European, Kurtz possesses a legitimized and allocated position within the system. Meanwhile, the increasing Otherness-the augmenting self-conscious autonomy and thereby sovereignty of-the African Other can be localized in him. He exists as a sanctioned depository for black-market affect for the sole purpose mourning and thereby discharging it. As much as coordinates within the European system express feelings of deviation, subversion, or even violation [9] of European desires by directing either eros or thanantos towards him, either way the activity behaves as a sublimation, because Kurtz lives as an exclusionary inclusion of forbidden African Otherness. He gives African Otherness not merely a corporeal address but a mortality, a limitation, a phallus in place of the symbolic-threatening abjection.

However, until Kurtz's desire for African Otherness dies with his body, the phallus holds the possibility of giving way to an absence ("he was hollow at the core" - (53) greater than its presence. To the extent to which the phallus fails to concretize before Marlow's eyes, its fantasmic absence yields objet a capable of abjectifying all signification: "I saw him open his mouth wide - it gave him a weirdly voracious aspect, as though he had wanted to swallow all the air, all the earth, all the men before him" (55). The signifier "wanted" implicates Kurtz's desire. By initiating a movement from European subjectivity towards deliberate Africanization, Kurtz's enigmatic desire-or more specifically, his jouissance - threatens to dissolve in its mouth all European subjectivity by opening up a corrective path that causes the Europeans to violate their European morality; it entices subjectivity to surrender itself willingly to its own loss: "[...] the moral shock I received [...] and then the usual sense of commonplace, deadly danger, the possibility of a sudden onslaught and massacre, or something of the kind, which I saw as impending, was positively welcome and composing. It pacified me [...]" (59).

From the spatial location of the fantasm, Kurtz encourages Marlow to embrace his symptom: "I did not betray Mr. Kurtz - [...] I should be loyal to the nightmare of my choice" (ibid); and Marlow follows Kurtz - not merely from the steamer into the woods but - from European subjectivity to the unknowable external to it: "[...] [I] imagined myself living alone and unarmed in the woods to an advanced age. [...] And I remember I confounded the beat of the drum with the beating of my heart, and was pleased at its calm regularity" (60). In this sense, if Kurtz is a "shadow," as Marlow repeatedly proclaims him to be (59, 60), then he is Marlow's shadow moving slightly ahead of him.

However, Marlow only begins the thetic reorganization, and not without contestation. After all, the imagined African setting with which Marlow communes still lacks Africans. Furthermore, the movement is still a "nightmare." He fantasizes killing Kurtz (60). Marlow pleads with Kurtz (ibid). He threatens him (ibid). He does not want to be "lost" (ibid) from his current signifying system.

In fact, because of counter-transference, Marlow's psychic resistance ultimately causes his failed analysis. Marlow's desire to remain within the European signifying system becomes Kurtz's desire, and Kurtz initiates a return not merely to the steamer but to European identity. On his deathbed, Kurtz desires only European desires: "He desired to have kings meet him at railway stations [...]" (63). For Kurtz, the African landscape as well falls back to where Europe designates it: "Close the shutter," said Kurtz suddenly one day; "I can't bear to look at this." [...] There was a silence. "Oh, but I will wring your heart yet!" he cried at the invisible wilderness" (ibid). In fact, his last words describe the African setting from a purely European perspective (The horror! The horror!" -64).

Through the mediation of the analyst, a successful analysis brings the subject from in-itself to for-itself. In other words, the analysand achieves self-awareness. However, Marlow fails to achieve the for-itself that Kurtz's completed mediation would have enacted. In his decision to visit Kurtz's bereaved fiancÚ, Marlow admits, "I had no clear perception of what it was I really wanted [...] I don't know. I can't tell. But I went" (67). Marlow fails to understand even the motivation for his own actions. While Kurtz's mediation had brought Marlow to the marginalized point where he now sees his own culture with such signifiers as "filch," "infamous," "unwholesome," "insignificant," "silly," and "offensive" (66), his symbolic system repeatedly fails to grasp his own presence in that society or even the logic behind such descriptions.

Instead, Marlow fetishizes Kurtz's last words, as opposed to anything Other that Kurtz iterated prior to his ontological retreat. Erroneously expecting Kurtz's European description of his last "vision" (64) within the African continent to hold the same forbidden power of Kurtz's once almost-African existence, Marlow prohibits himself from uttering those last words before Kurtz's fiancÚ. For fear that the words would tear apart the European symbolic system and thusly cause "the heavens (to) fall upon (his) head" (72), Marlow decides to allow her, the house, and the very Europe around them to remain intact in their conceit by telling the fiancÚ that Kurtz's last words were her own name (71). Although now marginalized in-himself, Marlow forever remains closed from any opportunity of external awareness of his own being.

Thus far, we have seen two transliminal subjects whose very apparitions attempt to mediate transformations in the hegemonic symbolic system. In both cases, the hegemonic symbolic system fixates on these subjects' indigestible figures as a result of a delay in the system's release from the regulation of its own principle of homeostasis. Ismene's bare life proves incompatible with her sanctioned subjectivity, and the friction between the two demands reconciliation through a discharge. Thus, through the figure of Antigone, Ismene's state of sovereignty (i.e., her hegemonic symbolic system) makes an exclusionary example out of Ismene's insoluble nature within its universal categories. However, because Ismene identifies with this part of herself, the movement becomes reflexive: her natural state (as defined by the tension with her sovereign state) makes an exclusionary example out of her sovereign state and assumes the hegemonic position in this reflection. In this way, the exception mediates the psyche's movement towards self-awareness, the awareness of incompatibility, split subjectivity-the tragic existence of being for-itself.

Meanwhile, defined by the European gaze, Marlow suffers to avoid identification with Africans. However, his attempted foreclosure on such identification fails. As with Ismene, his natural state of identification proves incompatible with his sovereign state. Thus, his sovereignty makes an exclusionary example of the nature of his identification through the figure of Kurtz, through whom the African Other achieves an exclusionary inclusion. This exclusionary inclusion has the sanctioned function of demarcating a space for mourning to discharge resulting tensions.

Yet, as with Ismene before Antigone, Marlow identifies with this exclusionary inclusion, which process moves Marlow's subjectivity to the margins of his own discourse by initiating a hegemonic transformation. Nevertheless, due to the counter-transference Marlow's desire imposed on Kurtz's mediation, the exclusionary inclusion resulted in desiring the inclusion more than the exclusion, thereby instigating a retroactive movement upon the hegemonic transformation. Kurtz having died before returning Marlow's desire from the borderlands, Marlow's subjectivity remains marginalized in his own discourse.

His psyche represses the excluded example's natural discrepancy with his sovereignty only to fetishize its compliance as the new exemplified exclusion. As a result, not only does the psyche repress its nature by refusing to include it as even an exclusion, but also its sovereignty bans its sovereignty by making it a fetishized example of the exclusionary inclusion, which process then marginalizes itself from its own rule.

The fundamental difference between the two psychic movements derives from the degree of exceptional nature endowed in the excluded example. Antigone is biologically exceptional, both niece to the sovereign and the embodiment of un-interpretable kinship, whereas Kurtz is merely symbolically exceptional. His body belongs to the hegemony. In other words, the natural discrepancy in Ismene's psyche's excluded example cannot undergo repression without entirely excluding the exclusionary inclusion and thereby defeating the system's need for discharge. From Kurtz's Afro-European existence, however, Marlow's psyche easily exorcises the prior half of the hyphen, thereby satisfying the need for discharge without subjecting the hegemony to the scrutiny of its incomprehensible nature. Europe can bury Kurtz as a European.

Contrary to Ismene, for Marlow the neurosis remains intact, albeit transformed into paranoia, which leads to certain questions for future study: How do psychoanalytic descriptions of paranoia relate to psychic marginalizations of one's own subjectivity and transformations of hegemonic symbolic systems? How do the particularities of Ancient Greek and Modern European cultures play a role in the above-described psychic movements? How do open-source symbolic systems, such as contemporary American hegemonic discourse, respond differently to transliminal figures like Kurtz and Antigone?


[1] "[The] element of the field of the beyond-the-good principle [...] is the beautiful" (Ethics 237; my italics to signal "beautiful" as a new term whose repetition will refer to this formula). Lacan conflates the pleasure principle with the "good principle" to illustrate the psychic function of morality as that of desire and its limits [thus, his famous moral question: "Have you acted in conformity with the desire that is in you" (314)], which he sees the ego ideal as positing: "We will now define the ego ideal of the subject as representing the power to do good..." (234). Therefore, because "[Creon] exists to promote the good of all" (258), Creon functions as the subject's ego ideal. Meanwhile, because "[the] good cannot reign over all without an excess emerging whose fatal consequences are revealed to us in tragedy" (259), Antigone appears as this excess, the beautiful "inhuman" (263) who can traverse the limits of that which can receive representation in humanity (the very term suggesting morality). As "beyond-the-good principle" implies, Lacan connects Antigone's beautiful jouissance with the death drive, the drive to destroy the pre-existing symbolic in order to house that which it fails to represent. In this sense, the death drive and jouissance both imply a rebirth, a new more accommodating symbolic ["the death drive is a creationist sublimation" (212); "it is a will to create from zero, a will to create again" (ibid)].

[2] Appropriating from this psychoanalytic framework, Derrida claims, "[Mourning] consists always in attempting to ontologize remains, to make them present, in the first place by identifying the bodily remains and by localizing the dead (all ontologization... finds itself caught up in this work of mourning...)" (9, Derrida's italics). As Derrida makes explicit, the act of mourning corresponds with the act of knowing. Part of this act pertains to identifying/containing the who by conflating it with a where (ibid), namely a grave. By prohibiting Polyneices such a grave, by ordering Polyneices to be torn apart, Creon likewise conflates the who with a where through the denial of either.

[3] "[...] desire that led [Oedipus] to go beyond that limit, namely, the desire to know" (305).

[4] As Judith Butler explains, "The subject which comes into existence through the 'bar' is one whose prehistory is necessarily foreclosed to its experience of itself as a subject" ("Restaging the Universal" 12). That is, through its entrance into parole, the subject splits by not being able to grasp part of itself through that parole, including its entire existence prior to that entrance into parole.

[5] Although in Seminar VI Lacan uses Hamlet as a trope to explain desire (see "Desire and the Interpretation of Desire in Hamlet," in Literature and Psychoanalysis; The Question of Reading: Otherwise, Shoshana Felman, Ed. 11-52, Baltimore & London: John Hopkins UP, 1982, 1993.), to illustrate the present point I have chosen to update Lacan's analysis to the dimensions of Seminar VII.

[6] The footnote for this line says, "Flirting. Hamlet uses 'interpret' here in the sense of acting as the go-between, or pander, for two lovers."

[7] Here a footnote explains: "To satisfy my sexual appetite (leading to groaning in either sexual intercourse or childbirth)."

[8] Perhaps as a particularly modern characteristic of the novel, the hegemonic Name of the Father likewise lacks an embodiment, although it possesses a frequently iterated Name: "European."

[9] "[...] get [Kurtz] hanged! [...] Anything-anything can be done in this country. [...] nobody here, you understand, here, can endanger your position. [...] The danger is in Europe..." (29).


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