Gohar Homayounpour (2002) In the Name of Times Past: A Psychoanalytic Textual Analysis of Ancient Persian and Greek Mythologies

Abstract:
The present study examines two major myths of the Persian and Greek cultures from a psychoanalytic perspective. The author hypothesis is that: the mythology of different cultures leaves its trace on the collective unconscious of the individuals immersed in these cultures. While tracing down the common denominators of a number of Persian and Greek myths, the author attempted to show how Persian culture is about killing sons while Greek culture is about killing fathers. As such, this research involves the application of psychoanalytic methods to the understanding and interpretation of cultural products. The cultural products in this research are part of the material culture known as myths: the organized fantasies of a culture—the most fanciful and intimate aspects of a collectivity.

Through the dual lens of postmodernist critique and applied psychoanalysis, the author tries to show how the cultural expression of Greek mythology reveals themes of homosexuality, misogyny, narcissism, and the pursuit of death. Conversely, Persian culture, as expressed through its mythology, is steeped in nostalgia, the struggle for absolute obedience and dictatorship as a defense against underlying inter-psychic and intra-psychic chaos.