Unsettling Oedipus. Psychoanalysis and the ancient Greek chorus

Image showing an ancient Greek vase with two handles, a skyphos, showing eight leaping dolphins in black on a red background.
Image: ANU Classics Museum 1976.10

Presenting an HRC-Centre for Classical Studies Distinguished Lecture

Unsettling Oedipus. Psychoanalysis and the ancient Greek chorus

Many of us insist on an idea of living as a sequence of events, moving through challenge, conflict, space, and eventually finding an end. The linear trajectory of many figures in ancient Greek tragedy, Oedipus being the most famous, has been taken up by psychoanalysts ever since Freud, cohering with a commitment to notions of progress, of moving forward, of engaging in conflict (an agon) and finding eventual resolution. The ancient Greek chorus, however, provides a challenge to this mode of thinking. Drawing on the process of 'containment' articulated by British psychoanalyst Wilfred Bion (1897-1979) we can begin to reassess the function and psychological work of the chorus of Greek drama. In doing so we can illuminate a truer vision of the world, one that embraces an 'everywhen' and unsettles the supremacy of the individual.

This lecture is presented in partnership with the ANU Centre for Classical Studies

Light refreshments to be served following the lecture, from 6.30pm
Please register for catering purposes.

Dr Lucy Jackson is Associate Professor in Classics (Ancient Greek Literature) at Durham University. Dr Jackson comes to the ANU as the 2023 HRC-Centre for Classical Studies Visiting Fellow.

If you require accessibility accommodations or a visitor Personal Emergency Evacuation plan please contact the event organiser.

Date & time

Wed 06 Mar 2024, 5.30–7pm


Sir Roland Wilson Building, 2.02 Theatrette


Dr Lucy C. M. M. Jackson, Durham University


Humanities Research Centre


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