The "Colonel Colonna Connection"

        When Tony tries to get into the Milspec 06 convention, he really desires to catch the speaker identified as “Colonel Colonna”. I spent a little time on the net looking for the “Colonel Colonna Connection” (sounds like a 70's disco group - LOL) to the themes of the Sopranos in general and the “Join the Club” and “Mayham” episodes in particular.

        I was unable to find any linear or direct connection. However I stumbled upon a few net nuggets which may (or may not) have some indirect and tangential meaning for us as we grapple with and try to understand Tony’s coma “experience”.

        I want to keep the discussion of each “nugget” separate and distinct, so as not to create a post that is too messy and too disjointed. So, I will create several posts on this topic. This is the first. Others will follow as I complete them. I invite criticism, discussion, elaboration and participation. I hope others who may have previously given this “Colonna” matter some thought can help us see what meaning, if any, may be drawn.

        The word “colonna” is the Italian word for a column. One definition of a column is “a tall cylindrical vertical upright and used to support a structure.” So, perhaps by seeking entrance into the convention Tony was seeking “support”. But because he is without identity he is denied entrance/support.

        But just who does he seek support from? Some candidates are Carmella and his underlings.

        If he is seeking Carmella’s support, he cannot have it (cannot be granted entrance to her) until he “identifies” himself; that is, until he takes a stand for what he will be to her in their relationship (structure): a loving, devoted partner as opposed to the philandering lout of the past?

        It may also make sense that he is seeking the support of the “soldiers” in his “family” (structure) since “colonel” is the military rank subordinate to a general. Tony has in the past been identified by Paulie as a “general” and Tony himself identifies with historical, particularly military, figures such as Rommel. So, as the “general” Tony may be looking for “support” from his subordinates to keep the structure of the “family” intact. The fact that the Soprano crime family is “crumbling” and without support while he is in the coma may dovetail with the thoughts of those on the board who suspect that Tony is creating the coma experience in his own mind and incorporating outside stimuli into the “experience”. Perhaps he has picked up on the lack of leadership and support (just as he picked up on Paulie’s inane rambling as noise coming from the hotel room next door).

</p>Edited by: <A HREF= ... ac72261</A>
at: 4/1/06 3:02 pm

Re: The "Colonel Colonna Connection"

Hooboy...another good thread. I, too, have been thinking about Colonel Colonna and his/its symbolic relevancy. I like the interpretaion of colonna = column = support. I was leaning toward a related interpretation of Colonna as the sympolic consultant for Tony regarding T's leadership quandaries: the weight of his own leadership responsibilites as well as his responsibilty in the appointment of successors.

As Colonna is clearly a powerful and successful superior officer in the army, it feels to me that this figure represents T's internal executive process in examining his own conflictedness and all-encompassing responsibility regarding his authority issues within his own army. Similarly, this character and T's apparent need to experience this military figurehead's wisdom, seems to suggest T's hunger for the paternally wise object as opposed to the maternally lving object who characteristically is the desired object in his psyche.


Re: The "Colonel Colonna Connection"

        This is the second installment of my “Colonel Colonna Connection” posts.

        I discovered the description of a novel entitled “The Rule of Four” involving a mysterious text, authored by Franceso Colonna in 1499, known as the Hypnerotomachia Poliphil. Here is a summary description of the plot and some commentary about the contents of the novel:

        An ivy league murder, a mysterious coded manuscript, and the secrets of a Renaissance prince collide memorably in THE RULE OF FOUR — a brilliant work of fiction that weaves together suspense and scholarship, high art and unimaginable treachery.

It's Easter at Princeton. Seniors are scrambling to finish their theses. And two students, Tom Sullivan and Paul Harris, are a hair's breadth from solving the mysteries of the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili—a renowned text attributed to an Italian nobleman, a work that has baffled scholars since its publication in 1499. For Tom, their research has been a link to his family's past — and an obstacle to the woman he loves. For Paul, it has become an obsession, the very reason for living. But as their deadline looms, research has stalled — until a long-lost diary surfaces with a vital clue. And when a fellow researcher is murdered just hours later, Tom and Paul realize that they are not the first to glimpse the Hypnerotomachia's secrets.

Suddenly the stakes are raised, and as the two friends sift through the codes and riddles at the heart of the text, they are beginning to see the manuscript in a new light—not simply as a story of faith, eroticism and pedantry, but as a bizarre, coded mathematical maze. And as they come closer and closer to deciphering the final puzzle of a book that has shattered careers, friendships and families, they know that their own lives are in mortal danger. Because at least one person has been killed for knowing too much. And they know even more.

        So, in general, the Hypnerotomachia Poliphil, created by Colonna may stand as a metaphor for the seasons long attempt by Dr. Melfi to deconstruct the “puzzle” of Tony Soprano, with its “links to his family’s past”, which acts as “an obstacle to the woman he loves” and which has “shattered careers, friendships and families.”

        And, as it relates to the “Join the Club” and “Mayham” episodes in particular, the word "Hypnerotomachia" may be revealing:

        The title "Hypnerotomachia" is an invented word drawn from the Greek roots for "sleep" (as in hypnotize) , "love/lust" (as in erotic) and "struggle/strife" (as in "naumachia," the mock sea-fights held by ancient Romans). The title thus literally means something like "Struggle for love in a dream," and describes what the main character, Poliphilo, spends the entire story doing: searching for his beloved in a dream.

        This ties in with my first post on this matter in which I thought that Tony’s attempt to see Colonna in the coma “experience” could be an attempt to find the support of Carmella, the one he loves.

        The discussion of the Hypnerotomachia goes on to postulate that there may have been two Colonnas, both “shadowy figures” much like the great discussion on this board of the dichotomy between the “two Tonys”:

        Oddly enough, scholars don't even agree that the author of the book was Francesco Colonna, despite the internal evidence of the text that he was. As many "alternate" authors have been proposed for the Hypnerotomachia as have been proposed for Shakespeare's plays. To further complicate matters, there are actually two Francesco Colonnas who may have written the book, and both are shadowy figures. One was a Dominican monk in Venice, about whom scattered Church records remain. The other was from the powerful Colonna dynasty in Rome, and though much is known about other members of his family, relatively little is known about Francesco.

        Curious is the fact that one of the Colonnas was a monk, evoking the images of the Buddhist Monks in “Join the Club” and “Mayham” while the other is from a powerful Italian "family".

        Finally, the pervasive question about the Hypnerotomachia is, “Are secret codes really buried in the text of the Hypnerotomachia?” The authors of “The Rule of Four” provide the following answer:

        Yes. The disagreement among scholars is simply, how many? One of the Hypnerotomachia's mysteries is that its author never explicitly gives his name, but his identity seems to be revealed when the first letter of every chapter is connected to the next: the letters form the Latin message "Poliam Frater Franciscus Columna Peramavit," meaning "Brother Francesco Colonna Loved Polia Tremendously." (Polia is the name of the main female character in the Hypnerotomachia.) In addition to this hidden acrostic message, the entire text of the book is written in a hybrid of languages that was considered gratuitously complex even in its own day. When these facts are combined with the strangeness of certain elements in the story - the detailed attention to the dimensions and features of buildings the protagonist sees, not to mention the protagonist's sexual feelings toward those buildings - it's easy to see why some readers believe there must be a hidden subtext.

        The Hypnerotomachia is therefore a story about the search for love in a dream written by an author without name in which clues as to the author’s identity are hidden in complex fashion, and even when the author’s identity (Colonna) is discovered by deciphering the hidden clues, we are still not sure which of the two Colonnas actually authored the work.

        Catherine Tramell has written a fantastic post in the “Dream Sequence” thread (on page 14) in which she sharply dissects how Tony is, in the coma experience, writing his own complex, textured and cryptic search for love in a dream, replete with hidden meaning and clues as to the identity of the author, one of the two Tony’s; but which, we don’t know yet. Perhaps her insights, are indeed validated by the “Colonel Colonna Connection”.

</p>Edited by: <A HREF= ... ac72261</A>
at: 4/1/06 8:30 pm

Re: The "Colonel Colonna Connection"

billymac, astonishing cogitation above and thanks for your kind words.

If I could just say: I've only in-part begun to hint at my thoughts regarding Colonna and what (if any) this significant alias has to do with Tony's noesis.

Amidst my posts ("dream thread") I think I made satisfying references to what I consider to be Tony's opaque 'Oedipus-complex' -
and NOBODY has picked me up on it!<img src= ALT=":rollin">

Sophocles (dies 406?) Oedipus at Colonus (I know, I know - but the distinction is nominal) -

"These plays have size; they are not concerned simply with tragic individuals caught in a particular tragic situation, not simply with the character and fate of a Tragic Hero; besides the human agents in the drama there are the gods, always present in the action, whether assisting or controlling it. To the modern reader the gods can be a stumbling-block: they can make him think the human actors are mere puppets in the hands of Omnipotence. The reader will come closer to Sophocles' own thought if he thinks of them as representing rather the immanent laws or conditions of human existence."

One interpretation of 'Oedipus' can mean 'swollen feet/foot'.
I'm sure (by now) I don't need to point-out the significance of this with...something that happens at the end of Join the Club. I think this is blatant evocation here (for myself at-least) to connect The Oedipus Cycle with what clearly plays a part in the dynamics of Tony's psyche (regarding the two episodes in-particular.)

I've still to cerebrate exactly on what (if any) Chase's purpose is with this but I'd love to hear what yourself (and others) think about Oedipus at Colonus/Colonna (if you're so familiar...?)

I've barely gotten a reaction to my 'Oedipus-touch' here but your dedication to this thread is clearly without reserve. I wonder if I could tempt you to perhaps look at Colonna from an almost Freudian perspective and let everyone know what you come up with?
I'm stuck somewhere between your brilliant thoughts above, and my own (pending) approximation.

Sorry if this isn't what you had in mind for this thread, but I couldn't think where else to post it.


Re: The "Colonel Colonna Connection"


        Fabulous input. Please be assured I had absolutely no specific direction in mind for the course this discussion was and is to take. Honestly, I perceived both of my previous posts in this thread as “stabs in the dark”, and even if there was a serendipitous sliver of significance in either of them, I certainly did not intend them to be the exclusive lens or prism through which David Chase’s choice of the name “Colonna” should be viewed. I merely wanted to cast my line into the water with some bait and see if I could get a nibble or two; your quest to observe the significance of that choice from the Oedipal vantage point is equally as valid in this discussion, and most welcome.

        Now as to your invitation for me to put some thought to your proposition. Unfortunately, I am not capable of providing an insightful in-depth Freudian analysis on ANY topic, being only aware of his works, but not being more than topically familiar with them. The same is true of my knowledge of Oedipus. Therefore my attempt to provide discourse on the choice of the name “Colonna” as it relates to Oedipus at Colonus will be amateurish at best (and in all likelihood will only further serve to highlight my ignorance).

        I’ll start with my limited knowledge of Oedipus in general (generously supplemented with large chunks of internet informational scavenge): Laius and Jocasta were King and Queen of Thebes. A prophecy revealed that their son Oedipus would grow up to kill Laius, his own father, and then marry Jocasta, his own mother. Fearing fulfillment of the prophecy, Laius and Jocasta order a servant to kill the infant. The servant couldn't carry out the command and instead, delivered the child to a Corinthian shepherd, who in turn passed the yong boy on to Polybus, the childless King of Corinth. Polybus adopted Oedipus as his own and he was raised to believe that he was Polybus’ natural son.

        Later an oracle repeats the prophecy to the now grown Oedipus. Still believing Polybus to be his natural father, Oedipus leaves Corinth to avoid any chance at fulfilling the prophecy. As he travels, at the convergence of three roads, Oedipus became caught up in a violent argument with a band of travelers. He managed to kill all but one of his attackers, but remained oblivious to the tragic irony of this triumph: among the men he had slain was Laius, his true father.

        Upon arriving in Thebes, Oedipus undertook a mission to save the city from the Sphinx. He succeeds where all others before him had failed, by correctly answering the Sphinx’s riddle:
"What goes first on four legs, then on two, and then on three?" Oedipus, correctly answering "Man," gains the power to finally destroy her. He is then acclaimed as King of Thebes, and in time, meets, falls in love with, and marries the widowed Queen Jocasta, his natural mother. Neither are aware that by the marriage the prophecy had now been completed. They (unknowingly) engage in incestuous sexual relations, resulting in 2 daughters (Antigone and Ismene) and 2 sons (Eteocles and Polynieces)

        The truth is revealed to Oedipus when a plague strikes Thebes. Creon, Jocasta's brother (and unknown to Oedipus, his uncle), travels to Delphi to seek Apollo’s wisdom on how the plague might be ended. Creon returns to Thebes with the news that Apollo had declared that the plague had come upon the city because the very man who had murdered King Laius years before was now a resident of Thebes. Apollo advises further that the plague would only end when the murderer was exposed and exiled from the city.

        Oedipus, still unaware that he himself was the one who had killed Laius, vowed to find the murderer. He consults with a blind soothsayer, Teiresias, who hesitantly claims not to know the murderer's name, but, when pressed, Teiresias finally relents and reveals to Oedipus that he is the man who killed the former king. Oedipus angrily refuses to accept the guilt and accuses the blind soothsayer of conspiring with Jocasta's brother, Creon, to overthrow him.

        Subsequently, Jocasta tells Oedipus the complete circumstances about the earlier prophecy, but maintained that it could not have come to pass since Laius had not been killed by his son, but by a band of robbers at a place where three roads meet. Oedipus reveals to Jocasta that he himself had once killed a man at such a place and for the first time, both mother and son began to suspect that the words of Teiresias might be true.

        Their suspicions are temporarily allayed when a messenger from Corinth brings news that Polybus had died. Oedipus and Jocasta conclude that since Oedipus had not killed his own father, the original prophecy was false and that Oedipus did not kill Jocasta's first husband. But their relief is also temporary as the messenger tells Oedipus that he was adopted and that Polybus was not his natural father. He further tells Oedipus that a Theban herdsman found him as a baby on a hillside, and gave him to the messenger who presented the young Oedpius to childless King Polybus.

        Oedipus summons the herdsman, who discloses the full story of the servant and child he had dealt with years before. The old servant was then questioned; reluctant to confess the truth but urged on by Oedipus, he tells the tale of how Jocasta and Laius had ordered him to take their infant son into the country and slay him, and how he did not have the courage to do so.

        At that moment, all the pieces of the puzzle fall into place: Oedipus was the infant of whom they spoke; Jocasta, his wife, was also his mother, who had long ago turned him over to be killed; and the man he had slain at the crossroads was none other than his true father.

        At the realization that she had actually been an accomplice to the fulfillment of the prophecy, Jocasta rushed to her room and hung herself. Oedipus cut down her body, tore the broaches from her clothes, and with them, blinded himself. Oedipus is led into exile by Creon, who became king in his stead, and the plague at last came to an end.

        In Oedipus at Colonus, Sophocles tells the story of the tragic hero’s life after years of blindly wandering in exile. Oedipus, the blind and banished King of Thebes, has come in his wanderings, as a mere beggar, to Colonus, an Athenian suburb, led by his daughter Antigone. But he has been transformed form a lowly beggar into a man empowered to grant or withhold great blessings.

        He sits to rest on a rock within a grove sacred to the Eumenides: female spirits who torment the guilty. Oedipus is asked to leave the place by a passing native. But Oedipus, instructed by an oracle that he had reached his final resting place, refuses to leave, and the stranger agrees to consult the Elders of Colonus.

        The Elders arrive, initially pitying the blind beggar and his daughter, but when they discover who he is, they demand that he leave, fearful of the curses that may follow him into their lands. Oedipus appeals to the world-famed hospitality of Athens and hints that if he is permitted to stay and be buried in Athenian soil, blessings, not curses, will be bestowed on Athens. The Elders agree that his request will be put to the Athenian King, Theseus for final decision.

        While awaiting Theseus, Oedipus’ daughter, Ismene, arrives from Thebes with the news that his son Eteocles and his uncle, Creon want Oedipus to return to Thebes in order to secure his blessing and avoid a harsh fate foretold by the oracle. Oedipus refuses to return, and when Theseus arrives, Oedipus promises him a great blessing for the city if he is allowed to stay, die, and be buried at Colonus.

        King Theseus pledges to help and befriends Oedipus, then departs. As soon as the King leaves, Creon enters the grove with an armed guard seizing Antigone and carrying her off ; Ismene, the other daughter, has already been similarly captured. Creon is about to attack Oedipus, when Theseus, who has heard the commotion, confronts Creon and threatens to keep him prisoner unless he releases Oedipus’ daughters from captivity. The daughters are freed and Creon departs.

        King Theseus next informs Oedipus that a stranger who has taken sanctuary at the altar of Poseidon wishes to see him. The stranger is Oedipus’ son, Polyneices, come to ask his father's forgiveness and blessing in support of a war to reclaim the throne from his brother and Creon, knowing by an oracle that victory will fall to the side that Oedipus favors. But Oedipus spurns the hypocrite Polynieces, and invokes a dire curse on both his unnatural sons, prophesying that he and his brother Eteocles will die at one another’s hand.

        Loud continuous thunder claps signal to Oedipus that his time of death has come. He leads Theseus, Ismene, and Antigone into a hidden part of the grove and ritually prepares for death. Only Theseus actually witnesses the end of Oedipus’ life. Since Oedipus’ final resting place is at Colonus, Athens receives his blessing and protection, and Thebes earns his curse.
At the conclusion of the play, Antigone and Ismene return to Thebes, hoping to avert the war and civil strife.
        Before injecting Freud into the mix, I’d like to consider the connections of Sophocles’ tragedy, Oedipus Rex, summarized above, standing alone, to the Sopranos. It still considered to this day to be THE model story of tragedy. It is not surprising then that it’s themes are repeated to this day, and several can be (loosely) found in the unfolding story of Tony Soprano and his families.

        First, Tony Soprano, like Oedipus is destined by fate to his criminal acts: Oedipus by way of prophecy and Tony by way of “familial” example. What does this portend for A.J.?

        Second, Tony, like Oedipus, arrogantly refuses to accept his own guilt for his crimes because of pride. The Monks tell Tony to lose his “arrogance” in “Join the Club” and ask him to accept responsibility for his actions in “Mayahm”, yet he refuses to do so. And, in season 5, Silvio tells Tony that his “deadly sin” is “pride”...that he has a problem with authority, and always did. The Greeks had a distinct word for this: "Hubris," a heroically foolish defiance; the feeling that one is beyond the reaches of authority or convention.

        Is there any better description for the mentality and attitude of Tony Soprano than the “Hubris” shared by Oedipus? Oedipus’ Hubris (arrogantly defying cosmic and priestly authority, fate and prophecy) is the same quality that enabled him to earlier confront and defeat the Sphinx and to save an oppressed city. But, pitting that pride against the gods and fate was also his downfall. Can we not see then that Tony’s Hubris, pitted against God, authority and fate will also most likely be his downfall as well?

        Third, Tony is also trying to solve a “riddle”, like Oedipus with the riddle of the Sphinx: only Tony’s riddle is the riddle within himself. When Oedipus did solve the riddle he was empowered to defeat the terrorizing female monster. Tony is, and has been, on a quest, with the help of Dr. Melfi, to confront and solve the riddle of why his relationship with his mother has affected him so deeply as to manifest itself into his panic attacks. The solution, if one is ever to be found, may empower Tony to eventually defeat his own terrorizing female monster and destroy her grip on him.

        Fourth, Tony, like Oedipus seeks an identity. Oedipus seeks the identity of the unknown murderer of the king whose presence in Thebes brings a plague on his people. Ultimately, Oedipus finds that he and the murderer share the same identity. In the coma “experience” Tony is seeking to an identity for himself, either as Tony Soprano or, reluctantly, as Kevin Finnerty. And, the PRIMARY theme of the Sopranos, in general, is an attempt to define Tony Soprano. Perhaps Tony (arrogantly) refuses to accept that it is he who, by his actions, lifestyle and identity as a criminal, himself brings a “plague” of misery on his own family which cannot end until he is exiled (by prison or death).

        Fifth, there is the common plot device used in both tales of an uncle (Junior/Creon) conspiring with the another (Livia/Teiresias) to have Tony/Oedipus supplanted as boss/king.

There are also some very grand connections between the themes of Oedipus at Colonus and the Sopranos.

&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp First, this play begins with Oedipus wandering blindly with a trusted guide, his daughter. This theme has presented itself throughout all of the Soprano’s seasons in the form of Tony wandering blindly through the maze of his own psychic short-wiring with the help of a trusted guide, Dr. Melfi. It is also on display more specifically in “Join the Club” and “Mayahm” in which Tony is wandering blindly through a strange land, looking for a place to rest, like Oedipus in the grove of the Eumenides.

&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Second, like Oedipus Tony has become a man capable of bestowing or withholding great blessings.

&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Third, Tony’s “absence” from the “throne” have allowed ambitious plots to be created to seize control of power. Oedipus had the same problem with the warring factions of his two sons and his uncle.

&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Fourth, and most importantly for me, is Oedipus’ request to the King and Elders that he be permitted to spend his remaining days in the safety of the sacred ground in Colonus, in return for which he will reward them with great blessings. I see a similar request in Tony seeking safety in his remaining days with Carmella in the sacredness of their marriage. And it is here that the Colonna connection in Tony’s coma experience is made, at least for me. Tony’s request to be permitted entrance to see Colonel Colonna is a request for support from Carmella (see my first post on this topic) for a chance to remain with her on earth in a beautiful safe place. His request is refused without identity, that is, until he can demonstrate to Carmella just who he will be if permitted into that sacred place.

        Now let’s add Freud to the mix. If I understand you correctly, you think there may be a connection to the Freudian concept of an oedipal complex in Tony Soprano, by the use of the name “Colonna”, and it’s etymological connection to the story of Oedipus at Colonus. I am not sure that I can make that connection.

        Freud postulated that human behavior was ruled from the time of birth by sexuality through an evolving process of psychosexual development. According to Freud, Sophocles' play, Oedipus Rex, illustrates a formative stage in each individual's psychosexual development, when the young child transfers his love object from the breast (the oral phase) to the mother. At this time, the child desires the love and approval of his mother and resents (even secretly desires the murder of) the father, who competes for her love. Freud noted that such primal desires are quickly repressed in properly developing children but, even among the mentally sane, they can arise again in dreams and may still play out as psychodrama in various displaced, abnormal, and/or exaggerated ways.

        According to Freud the “oedipal” urges transcend time and place, as proven, to him, by the classic play Oedipus Rex and its ability to move both ancient and modern audiences. But the use of Oedipus Rex as support for his theory is suspect. Freud takes the play out of context. Oedipus’ actions of killing his father and marrying his mother are accidental and unknowing, not the product of universal and timeless psychosexual desire.

        Perhaps Chase and company have injected “oedipal” themes (intentionally or otherwise) as the genesis of Tony’s panic attacks and/or as a root cause of some of Tony’s more displaced, abnormal and exaggerated behaviors. I am not sold on this idea completely. If they exist, they certainly have not been flagrantly advertised by any known desire that Tony has (or had) to kill his father or “marry” his mother (or to engage in an incestuous sexual relationship with her). And there is no indication that Tony has not, from a purely Freudian developmental analysis, failed to properly develop psychosexually.

        I grant you that Tony has “mother” issues, I just don’t find them to be of the classic “oedipal” nature. As far as I can tell, the more substantial connection between Oedipus Rex and the Sopranos lies not in the relationship between Tony and Livia, but between Tony and his Hubris, as discussed above.

        Alright’s now your turn to let me know what I have missed.

</p>Edited by: <A HREF= ... ac72261</A>
at: 4/2/06 1:51 pm

Re: The "Colonel Colonna Connection"

Very good stuff here. I might suggest, just on simple terms regarding the Freudian/Oedipal angle - there may be some latent need in Tony to kill what his father has wrought, both in himself and his mother. Notice that in recent seasons, we have seen more and more that Melfi is helping him come to more realistic terms re: what his father's life has meant for both himself and Livia (see Camelot for one example.) Further, though not a sexual desire, Tony certainly has a need to have love for and from his mother that truly was not there, at least from her end. This could also be the result, in some fashion, of his father's actions. Though just as easily, it can be attributed to Livia's nature unto itself.

I think there is certainly some kind of connection. And further, though I think there is some sense in Tony that he would like to find a form of peace (either with his wife or with his own soul), his denoument is destined to be of a tragic nature. I do agree with CT that the end result will be less than satisfactory (and unlike Chase as he has shown Tony thus far) if Tony does not meet the end that he deserves. That's my two boxes of ziti for this subject. Glad you started this, billymac, as the Colonna reference was always a slight niggle in my mind.


Re: The "Colonel Colonna Connection"

billymac, your cooperation SCARES me! I love it!

I want to keep this short & sweet for the moment and will say that due to commitments elsewhere, I cannot show a response (in the manner that I'd like to and one (or more) deservedly befitting your irresistible reaction to my slender encouragement) at this juncture.
I try to avoid all interplay within the forums from the Sunday onwards and until I have the latest chapter of The Sopranos safely 'loaded' and witnessed, usually around the Tuesday, for me a backseat must be taken.
Become relaxed in the knowledge that even before I offer any thoughts on 'The Fleshy...', I will respond to your overwhelming engagement with this thread/topic - (Oedipus).
Once again, your dedication is without reserve.


Re: The "Colonel Colonna Connection"

billymac, my apologies. I really couldn't respond in a timely fashion and would like to point out that if I agree to do something then I always keep my word. Sorry again and I hope you hadn't considered that I'd just abandoned this thread.

At the risk of posting a non sequitur here if I focus primarily on feelings regarding Freud's impingement on popular culture, and averting the very real risk that if endeavored I may still be here typing when The Sopranos reaches terminal-point, I should just point-out that for me, Freud (in-general) has always been deeply embedded in what I perceive to be the causation of Tony Soprano's true psychopathy et-al and the backbone if you like, for Chase & Co. to actuate the deconstruction of The Sopranos' (in-general) probative undertones and subjacent agglomerated themes that are (arguably) the crux of his composition.

I see a little of Freud, and I see a lot of Freud.
For example: take Tony and his 'little hands' - an obscure reference for sure but one that screams out to me Chase knows his Freud (or Chase & Co. do etc.) I'm not exactly sure but I think it's S5 'Where's Johnny' and Tony is present at Sunday dinner at Uncle Junior's place. Someone remarks that Tony couldn't excel in a particular sport because of his 'small hands' - Tony is well aware of this. Janice then points out that 'Daddy always said that about you (Tony)' and Junior goes on to offend Tony with his whole 'never had the makings of' reproval etc.

'Little Hans' was a notable subject of Freud's studies and one of the youngest (if not the youngest) patients he ever tried to help.
You can find out all about 'Little Hans' fairly easily I'm sure if you search around for the 'analysis of a phobia in a five year old boy' - it's very interesting and I find somewhat germane to Tony and the reverberation of his sister/mother/father's relationship with him. (Oh, and his fear of horses is just a killer and reminds me of Tony atop the horse in the Test-Dream showing-off his concealed dingus to an apathetic (regarding the weapon) dream-carmela).

In essence - Little Hans was a boy who had (in-part) Oedipal issues and after a few words from his father (and Freud), arguably grew up just fine.
I remember watching the scene and how I found it to be quite pertinent (at least, the way it was played and every reaction contained) to Freud, his little patient, and The Sopranos' opera in-general.
It's hardly a big-deal I know, but it does aspire to lucubrate even the most minutia of happenstance into something altogether more suggestive.

I really want to stay focussed on the matter at hand here but if I could just point-out another latent 'interpretation/misinterpretation' (depending), this time using Freud (in-part) on a broader scale okay...

Mayham and Tony is looking in the doorway of the Inn at the Oaks.
On their second-date, Tony buys Carmela a dozen red-roses and ditto for her Mother (he also supplies Carmela's Father with an expensive power-drill). The vague semblance in Tony's collective unconscious of said red-roses glistened almost transfiguringly moments before he decided not to enter that house with someone else's case-history 'that night'. Maybe.

Phallic symbolism aside (the male gets the drill, the females (both mother and daughter) get the rose), Tony did have a near panic-attack when he remembered that he loaned Carmela's cousin Brian his very own power-drill back in S5.
If the roses at the Oaks and what looks like some sort of timepiece in between both sets do have anything to do with Freudian associated priapic significance, then it's interesting that directly through this breathtaking light that coruscated via said roses (Tony's very last image perceived in coma-state), is the image of two other females (both mother and daughter), two other sets of roses separated by time.
This seems to tie-in nicely with my thoughts regarding coma-state, Tony, and Carmela specifically. I'll explain exactly what I mean, further down the line.

Colonna. billymac, you pretty much summed-up my considered thoughts regarding Colonus (Colonel Colonna) as a place where, if granted access to, will render Tony (like the exiled Father killer and incestuous, already blinded Oedipus) unsighted with regards to it's surroundings. Oedipus arrives at Colonus, a lonely, troubled old man, in order to die. Tony wouldn't be able to function correctly if access was gained (he doesn't know anything about his newfound profession here) thus, he would be in the dark, unable to exist by-rights at this meeting with Colonel Colonna. Imagine it as a sort of Oblivion if Tony manages to get in there. Forever dark. Total forgetfulness.

I actually PREFER your first and second posts/thoughts on the Colonna connection but think, regarding your Carmela angle, that by now, like Oedipus, Tony has already excluded the Father (here he is a salesman, not a Mobster by hereditary association) and has already 'had unwitting sexual relations with his mother.' Again, I'll explain this in a moment.

Tony can't get in here because, unlike Oedipus, he isn't ready to die, to enter the unknown Oblivion.
I can't imagine Tony being familiar with Oedipus at Colonus in the slightest therefore, if anything, it's all Chase here.
ObservingEgo posted thoughts on the military/support angle earlier and I think on the surface, Chase could be communicating similar thoughts on purely 'Tony's level of awareness' regarding how he thinks, in and out of his coma. Ostensibly, it sits well for many I would think.

Add to the mix some Chase on '11, Oedipus and Freud, and what I take from it is that Chase could be saying (based on my inference that Freud and the gang have been forever (little or large) throughout The Sopranos since day 1) that if Tony can make it (he can't) in to see/hear Colonel Colonna, he will ultimately enter into the realm of the unknown, the hereafter even; a place where science and psychoanalysis et-al have yet to go.

Or (and yet maybe in conjunction with this), Chase could be directly saying (through Tony and his "nothing" comment at seeing Colonna walk out of the conference having missed the lecture - he does seem more perturbed at losing his belongings than missing what Colonna had to say, doesn't he?) that Freud and his psychoanalytic-theory regarding the Oedipus-conflict has everything to do with Tony and The Sopranos and is indeed at the core of his real anxieties.

Let me explain. Otto 'Son of Freud' Rank, or 'little Rank', as his once venerable sage (Freud) prognosticated, was born Otto Rosenfeld in 1884. He became one of 'Freud's closest aides and later colleagues and (arguably) finally critic'.

'During the 1930s Rank developed a concept of the will as the guiding force in personality development. The will could be a positive force for controlling and using a person's instinctual drives, which were seen by Freud as the motivating factors in human behaviour. Thus, in Rank's view, resistance by a patient during psychoanalysis was a manifestation of this will and not inherently a negative factor; instead of wearing down such resistance, as a Freudian analyst would attempt, Rank would use it to direct self-discovery and development.

(Another interesting idea Rank introduced was the contest between life and death. He felt we have a "life instinct" that pushes us to become individuals, competent and independent, and a "death instinct" that pushes us to be part of a family, community, or humanity. We also feel a certain fear of these two. The "fear of life" is the fear of separation, loneliness, and alienation; the "fear of death" is the fear of getting lost in the whole, stagnating, being no-one.') Very interesting.

Rank coined the term - 'pre-Oedipal', one that dared to suggest the Oedipus complex might not be the 'supreme casual factor in psychoanalysis.' He wrote about birth trauma 'which argued that the transition from the womb to the outside world causes tremendous anxiety in the infant that may persist as anxiety neurosis into adulthood.' It was seen by many as conflicting with the concepts of psychoanalysis.

Why Colonel Colonna? Anyone 'familiar' might tend to try and link Colonna with Colunus therefore Oedipus. Why a 'Colonel'...? The rank of a Colonel is that of a subordinate to a Brigadier General - the Father of Psychoanalysis perhaps? Freud?

Is this lowly rank here that Tony can't listen to meant to represent Otto Rank and his ideas that the anxiety experienced during birth is the model for all anxiety experienced afterwards? Is Tony's arguable lack of any real interest in not being granted audience with the Colonel and central focus on the loss of his ID indicative of a character that Chase wishes to portray as being fundamentally obsessed with neurosis solely resultant of Freud's Oedipal-complex and one that never did exercise any free will regarding his life choices?

Otto Rank has very interesting ideas that I find to have crucial relevance to Tony throughout the seasons therefore I cannot conclude (if Chase be so familiar) that he is in-fact dismissing anything Rank has to say. If anything, and only if this has any relevance to Chase and his intent here, then he could be implying (although not discounting Rank) that he truly wants the viewer to subscribe to Tony and his possible Oedipus-complex within.

When we speak of Oedipus and the fate he could not escape, of course it's easy to surmise that through Tony's upbringing, he was destined to follow in his father's footsteps. And we are fully aware the Tony we know would never even consider sleeping with Livia.

Where I see Tony's fate coming into play here is that through what he witnessed growing-up (his mother's love for that meat), his ideas associated with 'bringing home the bacon' etc., signals that to (not become his father but to) feel that he could become someone worthy enough to at-least emulate his idol therefore vicariously arouse the 'love' his mother had for his father and what he could accomplish by his felonious deeds, Tony had to marry someone just like his mother.

I think what Tony is truly searching for is not out of a literal desire to become someone else (ie crime-free etc.), he wants to know that Carmela truly fell in love and maintains this love for him, that someone, a woman, his wife, truly can love him as Tony Soprano - that she can love him for love alone, and not because of his inherent desire to elicit the love of his mother by taking the dominant male's place therefore becoming the father - in this case, a gangster.

Carmela even goes on to say that she 'knew who he was the minute she met him.' Tony supplies her with a dozen roses, something he gives to another mother figure (Carmela's mother). Does Tony equate this similar act of courtship with a desire to subconsciously woo the mother figure with obvious (to Carmela here/then at-least) gifts obtained through criminal misdeeds? - (therefore aspiring to show aptitude to replicate his father's prowess.) Do the roses that almost transfigure into Carmela and Meadow say that Tony can recognise there is love there, true love from Meadow, yet born out of the ambition to seek acceptance from his mother by proving himself to be of equal worth to that of the father?

I don't know yet. What I do know is that Carmela has hinted at a misguided sense of loyalty recently. Loyalty to her love for her husband and his safety? Or loyalty (as a result of perhaps feeling Tony is vulnerable at the moment therefore not of financially sound mind) to the dealings solely of The Business?
When Vito & Paulie begin to descend, when she looks right at them, does she know right there that if anything ever happens to her husband, she's finished? Without Tony, there will never be enough money. Tony has survived we know, the Colonel Colonna Connection might never be uncovered, but maybe I'm right about Tony's feelings regarding his wife as perhaps a Livia substitute...?

I still maintain Tony does not want to 'leave the Mafia' - how could he? - what he truly seeks is the knowledge that his wife fell in love with him and stays in love with him, not because of what he can 'get' for her etc., but because he needs to feel that someone can give him love without him having to prove himself to his mother.

(Didn't one of the men coming out of the conference at the same time as Colonna remind you of Sigmund Freud?) <img src= ALT=":eek">


Re: The "Colonel Colonna Connection"

CT: I never doubted that you would provide your thoughts. Since it took me the better part of 2 days to formulate my post, I knew that it would take a lot of dedicated time for you to respond.

Now that you have, I am overwhelmed! LOL. I will need some time to digest it all. And, of course, since we are to be treated to a new episode tonight, my focus on this thread must necessarily be interrupted by the task of watching the new developments, taking them in, savoring them and lapping up the insights of the board about them. After that I will return to your post and reply. Who knows, maybe the new episode will also help inform our further discussion of this fascinating topic as well.

Thanks for making this ongoing analysis and discussion so fascinating! <img src= ALT=";)">


Re: The "Colonel Colonna Connection"

Catherine, took me a few days to digest your post and a few more to think about your points, so I have only now been able to put together a response. You make some excellent points, none of which I can wholly dismiss, even though I might not be in complete agreement with any or all of them.

&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp I was most consumed with reviewing your “Little Hans” thoughts. As you suggested I probed the net for some illumination about the subject. The connections you make here are fabulous. And, I agree that the Freudian and oedipal shadings, if any truly exist in the collective submerged context of the show or the characters, are by Chase’s design, not Tony. However, it’s hard for me to conceive that Chase would be using the characters, and their words and actions, especially in the coma experience, to give voice to a disagreement between Freud and Otto Rank.

&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp I do however like your conclusion. I agree that Tony’s goal is to confirm Carmella’s love. If he can accomplish this, although he may certainly remain in the mafia, it may also allow him the ability to finally come to a final peace at Colonus, outside of the mafia.

&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Like you I will be eager to see how this plays out in the coming episodes as the crescendo builds. And, although I have never really before given great thought to the Freudian or oedipal subtext, I am now, thanks to your posts, committed to filtering the story through this prism as well.

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