A Critical Analysis of The Empire of the Winds TV Series in the light of Lacan's Psychoanalytic Theory

Document Type : Original Article


1 Associate Professor, Razi University, Kermanshah

2 MA Lecturer, Persian Gulf University, Bushehr

3 PhD Candidate of English Literature, Tehran University


Introduction and Problematic of the Research:
A woman is basically responsible for the birth and growth of her children. The mother-child relationship shapes the manly or womanly, masculine or feminine, feelings of an infant. But the masculine self-centeredness of the boy occurs very early in infancy by rejecting his mother. This rejection is caused by a masculine sense of supremacy. A woman as a mother also gives birth to a daughter who has motherly potentialities. Similarly, the motherly feelings originate from the mother-daughter relationship. Nonetheless, the girl is able to give birth to sons who have fatherly potentialities. The femininity of a girl is shaped by her union with her mother; however, she grows into an independent person after they are separated. The boy's masculinity opposes this primordial form of unity, yet, the mother's psychological influence remains with the boy until his adulthood. A father's authority as someone who teaches and trains his son blocks the boy's way for independence. The mother nurtures the physical growth of the younger children and the father provides for the spiritual growth of the older ones. The father is the symbol of law and order. Although mothers usually spoil their younger children with too much care and attention, they lose their central role as soon as the infants grow and are exposed to the law and education of the father. Thus, the son learns that companionship with the father brings power and strength whereas that with the mother causes weakness. Eventually, masculine sense overtakes the feminine sensibility.
The mother-child relationship and the process through which the child gains identity have always attracted the researchers to investigate into its nature. With the advent of psychoanalytic theories and criticism and their utility in the study of character and personality, the study of the characters in fictional works has also become quite a vogue among scholars. Among these psychoanalytic theorists and critics, Sigmund Freud and his concept of Oedipus Complex and Jacques Lacan and his theory of "three orders" and their effective roles in shaping the unconscious mind along with his ideas about the Other and Othering must seriously be taken into consideration when analyzing the characters' unconscious actions and reactions.
Jacques Lacan has offered a pattern which is known as the three orders such as the "imaginary," "symbolic," and the "real". By analyzing these orders which according to Lacan shape the unconscious, one can study the characters' actions and reactions. He also believes that the formation of the unconscious mind is influenced by the role that the "Other" plays in the perfection of the "self".
The Empire of the Winds TV series portrays a character who experiences these three orders in a rather different way to shape and construct a region which is now called Korea. By concentrating on the main character of the series as a suitable model for the Lacanian orders, these three orders have been investigated for a better understanding of his personality. In addition, by analyzing the role that the Other plays in the formation of the three orders, the authors have tried to show how patriarchic atmosphere of the series has been undermined by the mother's wishes and dreams for her son.
Theoretical Framework:
The article uses Jacques Lacan's psychoanalytic theory of the formation of the human psyche and the parent-child relationship. In Lacan's opinion, the human psyche is patterned according to three orders; these three orders are as follows: "imaginary order," "symbolic order," and the "real order". The "imaginary order" which is about the development of man's psyche occurs between the time of birth and the first six months of the age.  During this stage, man's psyche records the repressed images, dreams and desires and understands the surrounding world accordingly. The infant is one with the mother and cannot differentiate between his own imagination and the real world. That is why this phase is called imaginary order. In the next phase called "the symbolic order", the infant learns the language. He discovers everything through making differences. In this order, the father instead of the mother sits on the throne and rules. In this way, the patriarchal language is formed and the father is introduced as the guardian of laws and principles. Thus, the law of the father is interpreted as the transcendental signified (Evans, 1996, p. 84). The "real" order introduces realms and areas of life that man is unable to know and understand. In fact, the real order is the very universe prior to being fragmented by language, the scope that is outside the linguistic realm and does not yield to symbolization to be known easily. Hence, there is no access to it (Evans, 1996, 162). In Lacan's opinion, there is a central core in the real order that escapes symbolism and all the representations, images, and significations are attempts to fill in this gap. The real order is an order in which the nostalgia for a return to the mother is established. Therefore, it implies a permanent separation from the mother as well as being eternally conscious of this lack (see Farsheed, 2012, p. 141).
In this research, we have deployed and utilized the psychoanalytic criticism of Jacques Lacan; that is to say, his theory of the three orders which acts as a means of identifying the process that involves character development. This theory has made it possible for the readers to understand better the actions and reactions of the characters, especially the protagonist of the series who has been compared to King Oedipus taking into consideration the theory of Oedipal Complex.  This study has to answer the following questions to accomplish its objectives:
1. How does each phase of the Lacanian three orders occur in the series?
2. How does the protagonist demonstrate the three orders, and in what way his character is influenced by them?
3. What is the term "Other" and how does it affect the character development of the protagonist?
4. How does the series demonstrate both the terms patriarchy and matriarchy?
5. How is the protagonist compared with Oedipus? Is he an Oedipal or anti-Oedipal character?
Findings and Discussion:
The study of The Empire of the Winds series from Lacanian psychoanalytic perspective shows that the series has a central personage who undergoes a different experience of the three orders. He becomes a different person compared to other similar characters such as Oedipus by overcoming his otherwise catastrophic fate. In this way, his maternal instead of paternal authority as well as the wish for his growth is realized.


Farshid, S., and D. Bita. "Lacan's Three Orders in Eugene O'Neill's Long Day’s Journey into Night." Critical Language and Literary Studies, Vol. 8, No. 5 (Spring-Summer 2012): pp. 135-150
Evans, Dylan. (1996). An Introductory Dictionary of Lacanian Psychoanalysis. London: Routledge. Print.