The Sadism in Oscar Wilde's "Salome", by Isador H. Coriat, M

Possibly the world's most popular inclination, the impulse to export your suffering to another seems to be near-universal. Not confined to any race, sex, or age category, the impulse to cause pain appears to well up from deep inside human beings. This is mysterious, because no one seems to enjoy pain when it is inflicted on them. Go figure.

Re: The Sadism in Oscar Wilde's "Salome", by Isador H. Coria

Postby admin » Sat Jun 18, 2016 2:54 am

"The Erotic Motive in Literature" (Excerpt)
by Albert Mordell

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III.

Let us now take up the other two partial impulses, sadism and masochism, noted by Freud, and see their effect on the literary work of a man in later life.

"The repression of the sadistic impulse," says Dr. Brink, "produces not its annihilation but merely its transfer from consciousness to unconsciousness. And there, withheld from the neutralising influence of conscious reasoning, the impulse and the phantasies derived from it are not only preserved without deterioration but may even grow in vigour and intensity. Thus, despite the fact that in many instances the individual's conscious life is apparently singularly irreproachable, nevertheless this life is lived coincidently with an undercurrent of impulses of anger, hate, hostility and revenge and their corresponding phantasies" (Morbid Fears, page 291).

This would account for the tales of horror we find in Poe, Kipling and Jack London. Today we do not always assault or kill our enemies. Literary men do so by depicting scenes in literature where this is done. Jack London describes fist fights in which he is always defeating his enemies. It is said that in real life he boasted of his abilities as a fighter.

Pfister, in his Psychoanalytic Method, formulates a law from an earlier work of his, as follows: "The repressed hate of certain individuals forms phantasies out of suitable contents of experiences, either actual or imaginary, according to the laws of his dream-work, by which procedure it creates for itself imaginary gratification. This gratification of complex comes about through the mechanism of a disguised wish, directed towards the injury of the hated person, being represented in the content of the waking dream as realised."

This explains the literature of hatred and how authors come to put their enemies in books and poems. Such works are traceable to the sex sadistic instincts of childhood. We find sadism in books reeking with curses. Ovid's Ibis, directed against the person who was to blame for his exile, is a good example; it is one of the most bitter invectives in literature. We also understand now the significance of the imaginary punishments inflicted by an author upon his enemies. The severe chastisement inflicted by Dante in his Inferno upon his enemies represents the poet's wishes carried out in his imagination to gratify him for his inability to fulfil his repressed hatred.

Literature abounds in hostile and satirical portrayals of the author's enemies. In ancient Greece we have many examples, the best known probably being the caricature of Socrates by Aristophanes, in the Clouds.

Elizabethan literature, especially the drama, gives us portrayals of fellow authors. Ben Jonson attacked the dramatists Marston and Decker in The Poetaster (1601), and they retaliated in Satiromastix. The most familiar example in English literature of an abuse of enemies is Pope's Dunciad. Then we have Byron's poem "The Sketch" directed at the maid he considered responsible for his wife's desertion of him, and Shelley's bitter diatribe "To the Lord Chancellor" against Lord Eldon, whose decree deprived the poet of his two children. Richard Savage's poem "The Bastard" against his alleged mother for neglecting him, her illegitimate son, is not as well known as it used to be. An author who was past master at the art of lampooning his enemies was Heine, and his attacks on Count Platen in the Pictures of Travel are among the most bitter in literature. All these attacks follow one principle; the author finds an outlet of his repressed hatred, and the desire for vengeance not being always possible in a physical sense, in modern times gives rise to phantasies of vindictiveness. The sadistic impulses of childhood are the sources of such literary works.

Take the portrayal of Thersites in the second book of the Iliad. This notorious character was surely some real person whom the author knew and despised and on whom he wreaked vengeance by drawing him. He was some man of Homer's own time, centuries after the Trojan War, and his type is as common today as it was in the days of Homer. The poet no doubt felt a grievance against some prattler and nonentity he knew, and pilloried the man for posterity; the personal note appears throughout the whole passage. Thersites is described as ill-favoured beyond all men, bandy-legged, lame, round-shouldered, largely bald. He tries to rebuke his betters, and Odysseus admonishes him severely, calling him most base of the Greeks, telling him not to have the names of kings in his mouth and threatening to strip and beat him. Thersites received a welt on the back and sat down, crying. Then notice how Homer puts his personal feelings still more into the mouth of the Greek who laughed and said that Odysseus had done many great deeds but this is the best he had done in that he had stayed this prating railer. Homer thus punished some man he did not like. It is rather odd that those who maintain the theory of the impersonality of the epic poem do not apply a little knowledge of human nature in studying literature, as this is often of more value than scholarship.

Lists may be compiled of nineteenth century novels, where the authors drew as villains their enemies. Often these are fellow authors. Dostoievsky put Turgenev into The Possessed in an unamiable light, under the character Karmazinoff. George Sand introduced lovers of hers with whom she had parted in her novels, and Chopin and De Musset have been drawn by her for us. Balzac righted his grievance against his critic Jules Janin by putting him in the Young Provincial in Paris. The motive of vengeance figures considerably in literature, though at times a malevolent mischievous instinct drives the author on, as when Dickens drew Leigh Hunt under the character of Harold Skimpole in Bleak House. Sadistic instincts are of course primitive, and where in ancient times a man might have put his enemy out of existence, today he can kill him only in imagination. The man does not have to be a personal enemy, but may be some character in real life who represents an idea or follows a course of conduct that the author thinks reprehensible. Demosthenes, Cicero, Milton, swift and the author of the Junius letters knew how to castigate their enemies. Hugo's attacks on Napoleon in his Chatiments and Napoleon the Little are among the most bitter in literature.

An excellent analysis of hatred is found in Hazlitt's Pleasure of Hating, where he shows hatred is a real instinct and needs satisfaction -- it is a remnant of savage days. Hazlitt's attack on Gifford presents many opportunities for the study of the psychology of hatred.

There are other cases of sublimated sadism in practically all literature where pain is described. The author displays a craving to see people suffer even where he sympathises with them and he satisfies that craving by drawing them in their agonies. Take Flaubert's keen interest in describing the torture and sufferings physically inflicted on Salammbo's lover Matho. There is hardly anything more sadistic in literature than the conclusion of Salammbo.

Sadism is often sublimated into interest in contests. One of the most ancient examples we have of such sublimation is in Pindar's Odes, where contests in Greek games are described and the victors praised. We have sadism, in fact, in all tales of competition where someone is vanquished.

The sadistic trait is the source of the glee with which people watch someone in a moving picture being beaten or hurt. It is the cause of the pleasure and interest we find in reading of executions, battles and physical suffering. There is nothing strange in tracing all this to the delight we had as children in torturing animals. This is a partial sexual impulse and is sublimated in most of us in later life and finds expression in our literature.

It is held that masochism is usually found side by side with sadism. Literature is also rich in sublimated masochism. Many authors are apparently only happy in their woe. They find delight in torturing themselves and in recounting their sufferings. Many of them were not as unhappy as they persuaded us to believe. The whole school of woe that had its origin in Rousseau and that was prominent in the early decades of the nineteenth century was full of sublimated masochism. Hence it has been called insincere. Byron and Chateaubriand were regarded, though not justly, as affecting woes they never really felt. Some of the sonneteers who imitated the Italians before and even during the Elizabethan period wrote about woes they never felt. This is, however, not the usual thing, and the greatest Elizabethan sonneteers like Shakespeare, Spenser and Sidney described real troubles.

Another phase of sublimated masochism is the attempt to torture one's self to solve puzzles and problems, and vex one's self more for the sheer delight in unravelling difficult situations than for the pursuit of knowledge. Note how children like to solve puzzles in newspapers. Poe, who had the sadistic instinct in sublimation, also had the masochistic impulse. We are familiar with his interest in reading cryptograms and with his paper on the subject. We remember his essays on studying persons' characters from their autographs. His stories of ratiocination like the Gold Bug,, the Murder in the Rue Morgue, the Purloined Letter are examples of sublimated masochism. His Dupin, the detective is an example of a man who likes to annoy himself. Sherlock Holmes is the best known modern example. Indeed the interest in tales of mystery and detective stories shows the power of the masochistic instinct in human nature.

Still another example of sublimated masochism is found in stories and plays where the idea of self sacrifice and penance figures. Dante's Purgatorio is a good illustration of the author's masochistic tendencies as the Inferno is of his sadism. He who tortures himself whether to follow the laws of society or to fight them is masochistic. Hence the tales of martyrs and heroes and idealists all betray the sublimated masochistic impulse. Both the rebel and the conformist, because they embrace torture, one might say almost willingly (though they really cannot help it), are masochistic. All literature describing these types show that the author has a keen interest in this satisfaction in one's suffering, and are the results, if Freud is right, of the author's infantile delight to suffer, which became later sublimated.

Rousseau describes the pleasure he received from beatings, and this masochism is seen in his Confessions, where he tells us of his woes with apparent enjoyment in them.

All this is significant. Freud says: "Children who are distinguished for evincing special cruelty to animals and playmates may justly be suspected of intensive and premature sexual activity in the erogenous zones; and in a simultaneous prematurity of all sexual impulses, the erogenous sexual activity surely seems to be primary. The absence of the barrier of sympathy carries with it the danger that the connections between cruelty and erogenous impulses formed in childhood cannot be broken in later life." (Three Contributions -- Page 54.)

There is then a connection between the sadism and masochism of early infancy which is related to sex, and the sublimations in art of those impulses. People who can hate fiercely or are vindictive or have a tendency towards cruelty or who like to torture themselves are as a rule of strong sex impulses.
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Re: The Sadism in Oscar Wilde's "Salome", by Isador H. Coria

Postby admin » Sat Jun 18, 2016 2:55 am

A Sketch
by George Gordon Lord Byron

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Born in the garret, in the kitchen bred,
Promoted thence to deck her mistress' head;
Next for some gracious service unexpress'd,
And from its wages only to be guess'd­
Raised from the toilette to the table,­ where
Her wondering betters wait behind her chair.
With eye unmoved, and forehead unabash'd,
She dines from off the plate she lately wash'd.
Quick with the tale, and ready with the lie,
The genial confidante, and general spy,
Who could, ye gods! her next employ­ment guess--
An only infants earliest governess!
She taught the child to read, and taught so well,
That she herself, by teaching, learn'd to spell.
An adept next in penmanship she grows;
As many a nameless slander deftly shows.
What she had made the pupil of her art,
None know--but that high Soul secured the heart,
And panted for the truth it could not hear,
With longing breast and undeluded ear.
Foil'd was perversion by that youthful mind,
Which Flattery fool'd not, Baseness could not blind,
Deceit infect not, near Contagion soil,
Indulgence weaken, nor Example spoil,
Nor master'd Science tempt her to look down
On humbler talents with a pitying frown,
Nor Genius swell, nor Beauty render vain,
Nor Envy ruffle o retaliate pain,
Nor Fortune change, Pride raise, nor Passion bow,
Nor virtue teach austerity-till now.
Serenely purest of her sex that live,
But wanting one sweet weakness--to for­give,
Too shock'd at faults her soul can never know,
She deems that all could be like her be­low:
Foe to all vice, yet hardly Virtue's friend,
For Virtue pardons those she would amend.

But to the theme, now laid aside too long,
The baleful burthen of this honest song,
Though all her former functions are no more,
She rules the circle which she served before.

If mothers--none know why--before her quake;
If daughters dread her for the mothers' sake;
If early habits--those false links, which bind
At times the loftiest to the meanest mind­
Have given her power too deeply to instil
The angry essence of her deadly will;
If like a snake she steal within your walls,
Till the black slime betray her as she crawls;
If like a viper to the heart she wind,
And leave the venom there she did not find;
What marvel that this hag of hatred works
Eternal evil latent as she lurks,
To make a Pandemonium where she dwells,
And reign the Hecate of domestic hells?
Skill'd by a touch to deepen scandal's tints
With all the kind mendacity of hints,
While mingling truth with falsehood, sneers with smiles,
A thread of candour with a web of wiles:
A plain blunt show of briefly--spoken seaming,
To hide her bloodless heart's soul­-harden'd scheming;
A lip of lies; a face form'd to conceal,
And, without feeling, mock at all who feel:
With a vile mask the Gorgon would disown ,
A cheek of parchment, and an eye of stone.
Mark, how the channels of her yellow blood
Ooze to her skin, and stagnate there to mud,
Cased like the centipede in saffron mail,
Or darker greenness of the scorpion's scale--
(For drawn from reptiles only may we trace
Congenial colours in that soul or face)
Look on her features! and behold her mind
As in a mirror of itself defined:
Look on the picture! deem it not o'ercharged
There is no trait which might not be enlarged:
Yet true to 'Nature's journeymen,' who made
This monster when their mistress left off trade--
This female dog-star of her little sky,
Where all beneath her influence droop or die.

Oh! wretch without a tear-without a thought,
Save joy above the ruin thou hast wrought--
The time shall come, nor long remote, when thou
Shalt feel far more than thou inflictest now;
Feel for thy vile self-loving self in vain,
And turn thee howling in unpitied pain.
May the strong curse of crush 'd affections light
Back on thy bosom with reflected blight!
And make thee in thy leprosy of mind
As loathsome to thyself as to mankind!
Till all thy self-thoughts curdle into hate,
Black--as thy will for others would create:
Till thy hard heart be calcined into dust,
And thy soul welter in its hideous crust.
Oh, may thy grave be sleepless as the bed,
The widow'd couch of fire, that thou hast spread!
Then, when thou fain wouldst weary Heaven with prayer,
Look on thine earthly victims--and despair!
Down to the dust!--and, as thou rott'st away,
Even worms shall perish on thy poisonous clay.
But for the love I bore, and still must bear,
To her thy malice from all ties would tear--
Thy name--thy human name--to every eye
The climax of all scorn should hang on high,
Exalted o'er thy less abhorr'd compeers--
And festering in the infamy of years.
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Re: The Sadism in Oscar Wilde's "Salome", by Isador H. Coria

Postby admin » Sat Jun 18, 2016 2:56 am

To The Lord Chancellor
by Percy Bysshe Shelley

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I.
Thy country's curse is on thee, darkest crest
Of that foul, knotted, many-headed worm
Which rends our Mother’s bosom—Priestly Pest!
Masked Resurrection of a buried Form!

II.
Thy country's curse is on thee! Justice sold,
Truth trampled, Nature’s landmarks overthrown,
And heaps of fraud-accumulated gold,
Plead, loud as thunder, at Destruction's throne.

III.
And whilst that sure slow Angel which aye stands
Watching the beck of Mutability
Delays to execute her high commands,
And, though a nation weeps, spares thine and thee,

IV.
Oh, let a father's curse be on thy soul,
And let a daughter's hope be on thy tomb;
Be both, on thy gray head, a leaden cowl
To weigh thee down to thine approaching doom.

V.
I curse thee by a parent's outraged love,
By hopes long cherished and too lately lost,
By gentle feelings thou couldst never prove,
By griefs which thy stern nature never crossed;

VI.
By those infantine smiles of happy light,
Which were a fire within a stranger's hearth,
Quenched even when kindled, in untimely night
Hiding the promise of a lovely birth:

VII.
By those unpractised accents of young speech,
Which he who is a father thought to frame
To gentlest lore, such as the wisest teach--
THOU strike the lyre of mind!--oh, grief and shame!

VIII.
By all the happy see in children's growth--
That undeveloped flower of budding years--
Sweetness and sadness interwoven both,
Source of the sweetest hopes and saddest fears--

IX.
By all the days, under an hireling's care,
Of dull constraint and bitter heaviness,--
O wretched ye if ever any were,--
Sadder than orphans, yet not fatherless!

X.
By the false cant which on their innocent lips
Must hang like poison on an opening bloom,
By the dark creeds which cover with eclipse
Their pathway from the cradle to the tomb--

XI.
By thy most impious Hell, and all its terror;
By all the grief, the madness, and the guilt
Of thine impostures, which must be their error--
That sand on which thy crumbling power is built--

XII.
By thy complicity with lust and hate--
Thy thirst for tears—thy hunger after gold--
The ready frauds which ever on thee wait--
The servile arts in which thou hast grown old--

XIII.
By thy most killing sneer, and by thy smile--
By all the arts and snares of thy black den,
And—for thou canst outweep the crocodile--
By thy false tears—those millstones braining men--

XIV.
By all the hate which checks a father's love--
By all the scorn which kills a fathe's care--
By those most impious hands which dared remove
Nature’s high bounds--by thee--and by despair--

XV.
Yes, the despair which bids a father groan,
And cry, 'My children are no longer mine--
The blood within those veins may be mine own,
But--Tyrant--their polluted souls are thine;— 60

XVI.
I curse thee--though I hate thee not.--O slave!
If thou couldst quench the earth-consuming Hell
Of which thou art a daemon, on thy grave
This curse should be a blessing. Fare thee well!
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Re: The Sadism in Oscar Wilde's "Salome", by Isador H. Coria

Postby admin » Sat Jun 18, 2016 2:56 am

The Bastard
by Richard Savage

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In gayer hours, when high my fancy ran,
The Muse exulting, thus her lay began:
'Blest be the Bastard's birth! through wondrous ways,
He shines eccentric like a comet's blaze!
No sickly fruit of faint compliance he!
He! stamped in nature's mint of ecstasy!
He lives to build, not boast a generous race:
No tenth transmitter of a foolish face:
His daring hope no sire's example bounds;
His first-born lights no prejudice confounds.
He, kindling from within, requires no flame;
He glories in a Bastard's glowing name.

'Born to himself, by no possession led,
In freedom fostered, and by fortune fed;
Nor guides, nor rules his sovereign choice control,
His body independent as his soul;
Loosed to the world's wide range, enjoined no aim,
Prescribed no duty, and assigned no name:
Nature's unbounded son, he stands alone,
His heart unbiased, and his mind his own.

'O mother, yet no mother! 'tis to you
My thanks for such distinguished claims are due;
You, unenslaved to Nature's narrow laws,
Warm championess for freedom's sacred cause,
From all the dry devoirs of blood and line,
From ties maternal, moral, and divine,
Discharged my grasping soul; pushed me from shore,
And launched me into life without an oar.

'What had I lost, if, conjugally kind,
By nature hating, yet by vows confined,
Untaught the matrimonial bonds to slight,
And coldly conscious of a husband's right,
You had faint-drawn me with a form alone,
A lawful lump of life by force your own!
Then, while your backward will retrenched desire,
And unconcurring spirits lent no fire,
I had been born your dull, domestic heir,
Load of your life, and motive of your care;
Perhaps been poorly rich, and meanly great,
The slave of pomp, a cipher in the state;
Lordly neglectful of a worth unknown,
And slumbering in a seat by chance my own.

'Far nobler blessings wait the bastard's lot;
Conceived in rapture, and with fire begot!
Strong as necessity, he starts away,
Climbs against wrongs, and brightens into day.'
Thus unprophetic, lately misinspired,
I sung: gay fluttering hope my fancy fired:
Inly secure, through conscious scorn of ill,
Nor taught by wisdom how to balance will,
Rashly deceived, I saw no pits to shun,
But thought to purpose and to act were one;
Heedless what pointed cares pervert his way,
Whom caution arms not, and whom woes betray;
But now exposed, and shrinking from distress,
I fly to shelter while the tempests press;
My Muse to grief resigns the varying tone,
The raptures languish, and the numbers groan.

O Memory! thou soul of joy and pain!
Thou actor of our passions o'er again!
Why didst thou aggravate the wretch's woe?
Why add continuous smart to every blow?
Few are my joys; alas! how soon forgot!
On that kind quarter thou invad'st me not;
While sharp and numberless my sorrows fall,
Yet thou repeat'st and multipli'st them all.

Is chance a guilt? that my disastrous heart,
For mischief never meant; must ever smart?
Can self-defence be sin?--Ah, plead no more!
What though no purposed malice stained thee o'er?
Had Heaven befriended thy unhappy side,
Thou hadst not been provoked--or thou hadst died.

Far be the guilt of homeshed blood from all
On whom, unsought, embroiling dangers fall!
Still the pale dead revives, and lives to me,
To me! through Pity's eye condemned to see.
Remembrance veils his rage, but swells his fate;
Grieved I forgive, and am grown cool too late.
Young, and unthoughtful then; who knows, one day,
What ripening virtues might have made their way?
He might have lived till folly died in shame,
Till kindling wisdom felt a thirst for fame.
He might perhaps his country's friend have proved;
Both happy, generous, candid, and beloved,
He might have saved some worth, now doomed to fall;
And I, perchance, in him, have murdered all.

O fate of late repentance! always vain:
Thy remedies but lull undying pain.
Where shall my hope find rest?--No mother's care
Shielded my infant innocence with prayer:
No father's guardian hand my youth maintained,
Called forth my virtues, or from vice restrained.
Is it not thine to snatch some powerful arm,
First to advance, then screen from future harm?
Am I returned from death to live in pain?
Or would imperial Pity save in vain?
Distrust it not--What blame can mercy find,
Which gives at once a life, and rears a mind?

Mother, miscalled, farewell--of soul severe,
This sad reflection yet may force one tear:
All I was wretched by to you I owed,
Alone from strangers every comfort flowed!

Lost to the life you gave, your son no more,
And now adopted, who was doomed before;
New-born, I may a nobler mother claim,
But dare not whisper her immortal name;
Supremely lovely, and serenely great!
Majestic mother of a kneeling state!
Queen of a people's heart, who ne'er before
Agreed--yet now with one consent adore!
One contest yet remains in this desire,
Who most shall give applause, where all admire.
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