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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 46 (2004) 6, 379 - 387


About a love affair that is doomed

S. de Maat, F. de Jonghe

summary Until they meet, Maurice and Sarah, the two main characters in Graham Greene's novel 'The end of the Affair', have led promiscuous and unhappy lives for may years. They begin a long drawn-out love affair in which moments of sheer ecstasy alternate with moments of deepest anguish. Their love is doomed. We put forward a psychological explanation for this in our essay. We interpret the story of Maurice and Sarah from a psychoanalytical perspective. We discuss the realistic, transference and primary aspects of their relationship. From our analysis we conclude that the inability of Maurice and Sarah to have a lasting relationship stems much more from their lack of self-esteem and their precarious attachment than from forbidden oedipal desires.


keywords attachment, hate, jealousy, love, self-esteem