Rossetti's Sybilla and Sinfield's
are both idealized portrayals of a woman. Loyal beyond reason, the highly
theatrical death of the wife in
, like a scene from a play, gothic romance or an opera, is taking place in the
theatre of our wanderer's mind. What seems to be occuring in the physical world
is actually taking place within the psyche of our protagonist.
female characters are representations of the inner life of the protagonist
whose quest it is to come to terms with the unconscious parts of the self.
Like the Formentera Lady, the sailor's "wife" and the "ladies of the road" are
"She is often connected with the earth, or
with water, and she may be endowed with great power. She is
also two-sided or has two aspects, a light and a dark,
corresponding to the different qualities and types of women;
on the one hand the pure, the good, the noble goddess-like
figure, on the other the prostitute, the seductress, or the witch.
It is when a man has repressed his feminine nature, when he
under-values feminine qualities or treats women with contempt
or neglect, that this dark aspect is most likely to present itself.
Sometimes she appears to be faery-like or elfin in character
and has the power to lure men away from their work or their
homes, like the sirens of old or their more modern
The wife in
is analogous to Calypso, a character in The Odyssey.
"Calypso is the
pure, remote feminine, untouched and inaccessible, separate, distinguished
and different from the world of men,(or the view of the world by men).
Calypso displays an intense sexual desire,(almost smothering), to make
Odysseus her eternal mate, thus herself an eternal wife, forever dependent
The surface image of Calypso is like an incredibly pure, charismatic, and
beautiful image to which the hero can dedicate acts of heroism, virtue,
wisdom, and spirituality, utilizing her as an image of his own higher nature,
his soul, so to speak."
Like the death of the Sibyl in
, the death of the aggrieved woman in
symbolizes the complete split between the sailor's conscious ego and his
"The wife with choke-stone throat
Ran to the day with tear-blind eyes."
Conscious ("the day") is now cut off from the unconscious (night, anima, "the
wife"). The psyche has split into its component parts (Thinking, Feeling,
In all hero epics, a sacrifice of some kind must be made. A part of the hero
must die in order to effect rebirth and this aspect of
indicates that we are still in the constellation of Sagittarius.
... and spend three days in Hell (Hades) before his resurrection.
entered the land of the dead in order to leam what he must do to return to a
"The land of the dead. Not an 'underworld', but an island somewhere in the Atlantic past Gibralter (the 'Pillars of Heracles)'.."
"When Chiron (the constellation Sagittarius) was wounded, by most accounts, in
the thigh, it was a wound he could never recover
from and only death could bring him relief. As with healing the inner wound,
some part of us has
to die to bring about healing. Once this happens, our true creative potential
is released and
wholeness can result. Chiron willingly gave himself to Death, but it was not a
The only way Prometheus could be freed was for a god to give up his mortality
and enter into
Hades. It was meant to be an unbroken punishment for Prometheus, for it was not
this could ever happen. Chiron willingly fulfilled the price and Prometheus was
unbound to once
again help his beloved mankind. Chiron is seen as a "Christ" figure in that he
was an innocent
who was wounded and suffered, then dies so that all of mankind may live. Like
Christians, Chiron is seen as the key to the door of enlightenment."
Dante had, for his muse, Beatrice and Rossetti, Sybilla and, as mentioned
earlier, for the wanderer, the wife in
represents his higher nature, his highest ideals. She is the "madonna" while
the women in
Ladies of the Road
represent the "whore".
For humans, these extremes are a natural response, as...
"The immediate consequence of the Fall of Adam and Eve is that they acquire
moral knowledge. They can distinguish Good from Evil, God from Man.
The Orphan's Fall brings the dawning of moral consciousness. Adam and Eve can
tell "good" from "evil" as a result of eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of
Good and Evil. Thanks to the new moral consciousness, the Orphan experiences
the world in terms of dualisms. The world is painted in sharp contrasts of
black and white, good and evil, in-group and out-group, the damned and the
saved, pagan and Christian, etc. All of this effort is an attempt to maintain
the ego inflation, the stance of the puer aeternus (divine child) in the face
of the Fall."
"The ego in its emergence from the unconscious unity of childhood undergoes a
confrontations with the external world as other. In this process the developing
adolescent ego experiences itself
via reflections through which it begins to develop the personas with which it
becomes identified - a subjective
The ego identified with personas must have the integrity of its self image
challenged. It must meet with an
opposition within capable of creating self doubt which demands a re-evaluation
of its notion of `who it is'.
This is only usually possible through some shocking confrontation with one's
The shadow must become a conscious counterpoint to the persona for the immature
ego, and as this happens it
creates a terrible dilemma for the ego. The ego's identity with its socially
constructed persona's is threatened
and the following questions press in to be considered:
- can it shore up its cracked and crumbling self image, or, if not
- what is it to do about this new information that is forcing its way into
The adolescent ego thus exposed may cover up through angry reactions, denial and
renewed projections, or it may
lapse into a see-saw of vacillating identifications - swinging from the old to
the new, with re-emergence of the
personas/attitudes, then fits of despair over negative feelings when the
exposed shadow cannot be denied or
However this is not a deep enough change, but a response of the adolescent ego
to its previous illusion of unity
being smashed. A strong inner duality has been set up which the ego can no
longer completely deny, and with it
a deep feeling of inner conflict and splitness will keep breaking through into