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October 20, 2006

Jenny's 2nd Commentary on Freud

“She made it up with them, she took her revenge on them, and she brought her own business to a satisfactory conclusion.”
- Freud, Dora: An Analysis of a Case of Hysteria p. 111

This quote occurs at the end of the book to describe Dora’s confrontation with Frau and Herr K. in order to fulfill a personal vendetta. She does so by discussing her father’s affair with Frau K. and her experiences with Herr K. The significance of this quote is found in Dora’s ability to seek her own revenge and thus achieve a conclusion. By stating aloud her previously unconscious and repressed feelings concerning the events that have caused her so much turmoil, she frees herself from Freud’s definition of hysteria. The use and repetition of the pronoun ‘she’ describes Dora’s autonomy in order to combat her hysterical symptoms on her own. She finds a self-determined ‘satisfactory conclusion’ by way of her own actions. The fact that she is a female also counters the previously dominant ideology of patriarchy within her life. In a sense, this ‘revenge’ is her independent cure for her own hysteria. On Freud’s terms, he has given Dora the ability to identify and contest her hysterical position by giving her the tools to turn her gaze inward, battle the forbidden thoughts, and return to ‘normalcy.’

Posted by jennlong at October 20, 2006 01:07 PM


The characteristic of a need for control seems to be a commonality between many of the characters we have read about thus far. For example, detectives like Dupin and Poirot wanted to develop their own methods of detection, independent of the police. Oedipus had the need to be in control when he tried to take over his own destiny. We also see this sense of "revenge" that Dora displayed against treatment in Oedipus when he, in a sense, takes "revenge" on the gods by piercing his own eyes.

This need to be autonomous is also shown through Freud's idea that Dora had to be "freed" in order to be cured. Being "free" is synonomous with being independent and self-governing. Jenny mentions the idea that Dora was trying to "combat" her symptoms, and many people see the idea of self-government as a powerful position to be in; power can help people defeat an enemy. However, what is ironic is that with this power, destruction seems to follow. Oedipus' rise came before his fall and Dora was never fully cured.

Posted by: romie at October 23, 2006 05:44 PM

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