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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Love-suicide: Destructive reconstruction in the kingdom of love
by Farber, Kim Elyse, Ph.D., Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2015, 215; 3733831
Abstract (Summary)

This hermeneutic study explores the phenomenon of love-suicide using Cleopatra VII as a case study. This research explores a variety of depth psychological perspectives of death and destruction, suicide, and romantic love in order to gain an understanding of the meaning of death for the psyche and the archetypal underpinnings of suicide in the context of romantic love. Through investigating how the experiences and situations generated by love and generated in love may enliven the archetypal energy of suicide, defined as “destructive reconstruction,” this investigation establishes a basis for the notion that the shadow side of love may pull the soul to suicide.

This study uses the myth of Cleopatra’s love-suicide to test the ideas developed regarding the soul’s pull to suicide in romantic love. By imagining and exploring the projections and identifications Cleopatra may have held and how they may have impacted her love relationship with Antony and her suicide, this study demonstrates how the alchemy of being in love can deconstruct and reconstruct psyche and how love can dissolve the ego and materialize new life. The study concludes that this deconstructive process, an alchemical dissolution, is directed by the Self and ultimately may lead to physical death. This study’s symbolic inquiry into Cleopatra’s love-suicide illustrates that unlocking the mausoleum of the heart and exposing the interior darkness is a destructive process that is also potentially creative. That is, it may uncover the buried treasure within or bury the body that houses it.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Nelson, Elizabeth
Commitee: Haule, John R., Sloan, Lisa
School: Pacifica Graduate Institute
Department: Depth Psychotherapy
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 77/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Developmental psychology, Clinical psychology, Personality psychology
Keywords: Cleopatra, Death, Depth psychology, Jungian psychology, Romantic love, Suicide
Publication Number: 3733831
ISBN: 978-1-339-22219-6
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