Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/8399
In this thesis I will discuss my findings of applying Lacanian psychoanalysis to Samuel Beckett’s short play Rockaby. First I will present a recapitulation of Lacan’s theories relevant to my discussion; his theories on the mirror stage; desire, need and demand; and on language and the castration complex. Next I present the results of applying these theories to a reading of the play. I find that the double self of the protagonist in Rockaby is evidence of the alienated self constructed in the mirror stage. The reason why this alienation is so extreme is partly because of the need to objectify herself in order to confirm her existence. The woman has to do this herself because there is no other to do it for her and never has been. The neglection she has suffered from childhood plays a part in her desire for recognition and love from her mother. The demand “more” is for a “proof of love” (Lacan 286), as all demands are according to Lacan, but because her mother has passed away, the alienated self takes on the part of the mother. The obsession with the mother suggests that she has not resolved the castration complex and is still occupied with being the phallus, the mother’s desire, in order to get attention from her. That which the mother desired was a union with a man and, therefore, that is the object of the woman’s desperate search. The lack of male presence in the play also gives rise to the suspicion that the castration complex has not been resolved, since authoritative presence is imperative in its resolution of replacing the Desire of the Mother with the Name-of-the-Father.