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"Man is driven in total by his insecurities": Tony Soprano's Castration

Faculty Advisor




Freudian psychoanalysis, The Sopranos

Abstract (summary)

HBO’s massively successful and influential crime drama series The Sopranos helped to usher in a new wave of complex, boundary-pushing narratives by confronting audiences with a fresh and subversive portrait of crime, family, and the legacy of Freud in American culture at the turn of the 21st century. The series centers around the daily life of mobster Tony Soprano as he navigates the challenges posed to his business by the RICO Act, to his family and marriage by his double life, and to his mental health by his deteriorating sense of power and identity. Previous analyses of the series have recognized that Freudian psychoanalysis is a major theme in the series as Tony visits psychiatrist Dr. Jennifer Melfi to find the root causes of his depression and anxiety, but few have produced psychoanalytic readings of the series itself. Through a scene-by-scene analysis of the series pilot through a Freudian lens, this essay examines how the characterization of Tony (and others) engages with the Freudian themes of castration anxiety and the Oedipus complex in a self-conscious manner and comes to the conclusion that Tony’s neurosis is driven by an unconscious resentment of his mother.

Publication Information

Martens, K. (2022). "Man is driven in total by his insecurities": Tony Soprano’s Castration. MacEwan University Student EJournal, 6(1).


Item Type

Student Article



Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC)