Definition of primal scene in English:

primal scene


  • (in Freudian theory) the occasion on which a child becomes aware of its parents' sexual intercourse, the timing of which is thought to be crucial in determining predisposition to future neuroses.

    • ‘The feeling that we have been caught looking is both perversely pleasurable and intolerable, and suggests shades of the primal scene with all of its ambivalence, guilt and pathos.’
    • ‘The context - in this case, a novel of artistic development - is more extensive than the short story and underlines the importance of reading the episode as a symptom of a repressed primal scene of cultural amalgamation.’
    • ‘Rolfe insists that the story (a Freudian primal scene in which the father is displeased by the son who watches his mother bathing) was told to him by his brother as a cautionary tale.’
    • ‘Freud clearly believed that the patient's apparent cure after his first period of analysis was the result of making conscious his presumed infantile observation of the primal scene.’
    • ‘Cure comes through the reproduction of the primal scene of trauma, which creates an opportunity for revision of the psychic events that cause hysterical symptoms.’