The Eumenides: The Foundation of Law in the Repression of the Feminine
Jeanne L. Schroeder
Yeshiva University - Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law
Cardozo Public Law & Legal Theory Working Ppr. No. 002
In this paper, Prof. Schroeder illustrates the Lacanian paradox of how the law's attempted repression of the feminine in fact calls the feminine into being through the myth of the establishment of law as told by Aeschylus in the concluding play of the Oresteia trilogy.
In order to function the masculine objectivity of law requires the repressed feminine subjectivity of freedom which is, in fact, its founding moment of violence. The symbolic order requires the real that it is its boundary, and the boundary between the symbolic and the real is caused by castration. Paradoxically, although the masculine can not function without the feminine that gives him birth, it is the repression of the feminine by the masculine that calls her into being. By repressing the feminine the masculine acts as though the feminine were possible, but forbidden. This enables the objective masculine subject surreptitiously to eat of the forbidden fruit and experience the subjective feminine freedom denied by the symbolic order of law.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 47
JEL Classification: K10
Date posted: March 15, 2000
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