Skip to Main content Skip to Navigation
Conference papers

To escape the world and to reshape the world : semiotic comments on the relationship between myth and dream in the myth of Eros and Psyche

Abstract : The myth of Eros and Psyche has not ceased to be rewritten, from Pururavas and Urvaçi in the Vedic tradition or the Apuleius version, to the Beauty and the Beast in the 18th century and more recently in the Oscar winning film, The Shape of Water. Few stories have been able, with such clarity, to capture the importance of dream (metaphor of the unconscious), which, not only is the foundation of reality, but is, ultimately, the supreme reality to which the soul must awaken to transcend (Platonic metempsychosis). Psyche must trust what is not seen because she is governed by the modality of not being able to see her husband, Eros. The soul must take a leap into the void to transcend. In the story the main action happens in the dream that becomes ultimately, the reality. The energy for such a transcendental act is given by Eros (love), that primordial force for the Greeks, as for the modern cognitive sciences - in the Theogony of Herodotus, Eros is one of the first deities or energies, as Jean Pierre Vernant would say. This narrative structure takes up a transcendental universal cultural opposition - mithème, Levi-Strauss would say- of the invisible above the visible, of the imagination over phenomenology, of intuition over perception. A fertile double bind is established: not being able to see and having to believe. But also, if it is well known that dreaming allows the access to transcendence and to the unconscious, we must also highlight its maieutic force based on a paradoxal treatment of figurativity. Indeed, Psyche can’t see but she develops her others senses. Is the dream a space created to scape to the “language of perception” (Austin)?, to the dictatorship of limited reality ? Is the myth that corrective force that dream suggests? And is this symbiosis between myths and dream the consequence of the fact that the myth is not a text but more a syntactic organisation? Our work proposes to highlight the deep semantic particularities of the story and ultimately analysing how the twentieth-fist century has re-enacted this classical myth, focusing on the film Psyche by Anita Sieff.
Complete list of metadata
Contributor : Référent Hal Icar <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, April 3, 2019 - 3:02:27 PM
Last modification on : Monday, March 29, 2021 - 2:42:04 PM


  • HAL Id : halshs-02089161, version 1



Santiago Guillen. To escape the world and to reshape the world : semiotic comments on the relationship between myth and dream in the myth of Eros and Psyche. Myth and Dream / The Dreaming of Myth, University of Bologna, May 2019, Bologne, Italy. ⟨halshs-02089161⟩



Record views