Afraid to be Father

IMG_8536Now available as a free download at, this talk by Martin Knops was written with both lay and professional reader in mind.

The paper explores the archetype of the father and the withering consequences of its unconscious betrayal: the father who manipulates the son to be an extension of his own ambition, who does not defend his son’s individuation against the paralysing control of mother and who betrays his own role of guiding the son into maturity and expected parenthood.

In turn, it is the inevitable fate of the father to be “killed off” by the gathering power and potency of his son. When this symbolic arena is denied, then a mortal combat may have to be resolved, but through others and with deadly results.

The paper uses the film Effie Gray as its starting point. The film portrays the marriage between John Ruskin and Effie Gray which was subsequently annulled on the grounds that Ruskin, one of the giants of the Victorian era, was unable to consummate the marriage. 


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