Where Three Roads Meet: The Myth of Oedipus (Myths, The)
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It is 1938 and Sigmund Freud, suffering from the debilitating effects of cancer, has been permitted by the Nazis to leave Vienna. He seeks refuge in England, taking up residence in the house in Hampstead in which he will die fifteen months later. But his last months are made vivid by the arrival of a stranger who comes and goes according to Freud’s state of health. Who is the mysterious visitor and why has he come to tell the famed proponent of the Oedipus complex his strangely familiar story?
Set partly in prewar London and partly in ancient Greece, Where Three Roads Meet is as brilliantly compelling as it is thoughtful. Former psychoanalyst and acclaimed novelist Salley Vickers revisits a crime committed long ago that still has disturbing reverberations for us all today.
the pressure. Hasn’t worked. The pain is disagreeably severe. — I thought you might like company. But feel free to throw me out. — No, please. I’d welcome any distraction. Talk to me. I can’t say this to my wife or my daughter – but I begin to feel I can’t take much more of this infernal pain. — Shall I go on with the story I was telling? Or have you had enough of that too? — No, no. Rehearsing it again has kept me alive these past months. You know, my friend, that story has been the linchpin
solved long ago. Perhaps we should leave things be. Maybe…” I was going to suggest that Apollo’s anger might be averted by other means than this. Murderers had come to us at Delphi and bathed their whole bodies in Castalia’s cleansing waters. Apollo was there to aid as well as enforce the expiation of murder. But I was forestalled. “Imbecile! The oracle has spoken.” Which, when you reflect on what he himself had heard at Delphi, was rash. “Perhaps the seer is right, brother.” A new voice, with
gathered. — As long as it wasn’t me! — Would you really mind that, Dr Freud? — How do I know? Yes and no. Not on your life! I’m talking nonsense. But you didn’t want sense, I recollect. You said you had a story to tell me. A story with no sense? — You like stories, Dr Freud? — It has been my life’s work, listening to stories. 4 20 Maresfield Gardens, Hampstead, 28 September 1938 — I beg your pardon, Dr Freud. I didn’t mean to startle you. The door from your garden was open. —
psychoanalysis) of the fact that Oedipus is himself the murderer of Laius as well as the son of the murdered man and of Jocasta. Shattered by his unwittingly performed atrocity, Oedipus blinds himself and abandons his homeland. The words of the oracle are fulfilled… * * * If King Oedipus is no less unsettling for modern man than it was for contemporary Greeks, the answer can presumably only be that the effect of the Greek tragedy does not rest on the contrast between fate and human will, but
Delphi I had the same thought: This is real. Maybe such places are more real than what is commonly taken for “real”? — Ah, then, but what is “real”, my friend? A very thorny question. — Nothing on earth is more real to me than Delphi. In all weathers, in all lights, in all minds, it is a place of peculiar power, of natural grace. Of astonishing brilliance and darkness. A fearsome yet remediate place, of measureless quiet and fathomless awe. Delphi’s impress never leaves me: the deep-shadowed