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This book takes Euripides' tragedy of Medea as its starting point. Our unconscious fantasies can be embedded in age-old myths, and many modern works about Medea reflect our ever-present interest in such myths. The Danish film director T.H. Dreyer had plans to produce a film about the story of Medea, while his countryman Lars von Trier did in fact make his own version of Medea, based on Dreyer's previous work on the theme.
The areas covered in the book include pregnancy, abortion, maternal ambivalence, loving and hating the baby, shame, ideals and idealisation of motherhood, as well as such issues as sister fantasy, sisterly and lesbian love, the problems between mother and daughter, and female destructiveness, as reflected in fairy-tales. The book also examines a particular type of female masochism that has a strong influence on the life of couples, often destroying the possibility of genuine mutuality between spouses. This masochistic element can be manifested in the way the woman abandons her own world and possibilities of creativity, in order to immerse herself in her partner's world. Lastly, it studies what factors might lead to happy and satisfactory relationships, and what factors may lead to failure in establishing such lasting and mutually beneficial relationships in life.