Alexander Pope And Gender Identity Essay

1935 Words Nov 3rd, 2016 8 Pages
Alexander Pope and Gender Identity Throughout Alexander Pope’s poetry, the reader is presented with not only a characterization of Alexander Pope as a larger than life poet, but one is also shown characters with fluid gender identities, which may be a reflection of Pope’s inner turmoil related to his own gender identity. The critical lens of psychoanalytic theory utilizes the concept of the Oedipus complex, which was coined by the psychologist Sigmund Freud. This concept describes the phenomenon of a son developing an unhealthy love for his mother, which, in turn causes him to be jealous of his father (Morgenstern 779). Furthermore, according to Freud, this extreme affection causes the child to differ from the norm as he continues to develop (Morgenstern 780). In Pope’s case, his great love and affection for his mother is demonstrated in his poetry in the form of a confused and fluid gender identity. According to literary critic Jane Spencer, Alexander Pope’s relationship with his mother is notorious. Pope lived with his mother for much of his life, and wrote an insurmountable number of letters to her, especially towards the end of her life. In fact, according to Horace Walpole Pope’s friend, Joseph Spence “‘fondles an old mother in imitation of Pope’” (qtd. in Spencer 163). This sexually-charged quote alludes to the fact that there was more to Pope’s relationship with his mother than is in a typical mother-son bond. Pope had much deeper maternal bonds that seemingly…

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