Julia Kristeva's concept of "herethics" posits a relationship between mother and child which leaves out, at least momentarily, the symbolic father of traditional psychoanalysis. In a similar way, Ángela de Azevedo's Dicha y desdicha del juego y devoción de la Virgen appears to come dangerously close to heresy, as defined by the Counter Reformation, at certain moments in the play when the author presents the Virgin Mary not so much as the agent of God's symbolic law but as an embodiment of symbolic authority in her own right, independent of God the Father. Although the child in Kristeva's Oedipal scheme eventually submits to symbolic authority, Kristeva suggests that the mother's love plays a more vital role than the stern father's rivalry in the subject's transition from the imaginary to the symbolic. Similarly, Azevedo's play avoids heresy through sufficient mention of God the Father as the ultimate symbolic authority, yet it remains clear that the protagonist of the story would have maintained his psychotic structure and rejected God if not for the love and mercy of the Virgin, a surrogate for his deceased mother. Dicha y desdicha can be interpreted as a vindication of the maternal and a protest against the patriarchal domination of religious ideology, societal institutions, and the psychic formation of the subject.


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pp. 65-81
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