A Psychoanalytic Interpretation of Motherhood in By the Bog of Cats by Marina Carr

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Çetinkaya Karadağ E. N.

14th IDEA Conference, Studies in English, Trabzon, Turkey, 6 - 08 October 2021

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Unpublished
  • City: Trabzon
  • Country: Turkey
  • Recep Tayyip Erdoğan University Affiliated: Yes


Motherhood has been one of the most controversial issues for women in the course of history. Whether motherhood is constructed as a role or it is an instinct for women is always open to a discussion. The relationship between mothers and their children is of great importance to interpret motherhood in this discussion. By the Bog of Cats is a striking play which subverts the norms and the holiness of motherhood in the middle of enigmatic affairs from one generation to another in a wild atmosphere. I will refer to Luce Irigaray’s conceptualization of motherhood, mother and daughter relationship, madness, the silence of women and the suppression of womanhood in order to depict these affairs from a psychoanalytic perspective. I will also refer to Carl Jung’s archetypes on the establishment of motherhood. Hester, the protagonist of the play thrusts the discourse of the holiness of motherhood violently and refutes the biological and social construction of motherhood in order to exist only as a woman. Her madness causes her to be a labelled as a deviant in the town where she lives, and motherhood does not make her sensible. On the contrary she is a woman who is psychologically imprisoned “by the bog of cats” and she carries the burden of both the past and the future.