A Psychoanalytical Interpretation of Ying-ying’s Contradiction

Qu Jingyi, Tay Qin Xuan


This study investigates Yuan Zhen’s “The Story of Ying-ying” (“Yingying Zhuan”) by means of Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalysis. From a psychoanalytic perspective, Ying ying faces internal struggles between the ego and the id caused by her superego—this leads to her inconsistent behaviours. This contradiction encapsulates how any reasonable person would have felt, thus having an epoch-marking significance. Poems composed based on their love affair also reveal the social role of scholars under the reality principle, the underlying basis for the desertion of Ying-ying. Interpretation of the story using a combination of tale and poetry expands the Tang literati discourse on Ying-ying’s contradictory behaviours.
Keywords: Psychoanalysis, Contradiction, “The Story of Ying-ying”, Poems relevant to Ying-ying

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