Oral fixation Armitage

In my ongoing discussion of Armitage’s performances of drinking, I’ve turned to this ABSOLUTELY INTRIGUING moment from episode one of The Impressionists.


Richard Armitage as Claude Monet. Source: Richard Armitage Central Mail Gallery

and here:

Richard Armitage as Claude Monet. Source: Richard Armitage Central Main Gallery

After careful consideration, I’ve concluded that by having Monet drink directly from this bottle, Armitage is hinting to us that his preparatory character study and biography of the artist includes the information Monet was orally fixated with a particular propensity towards an attraction toward bottles. Note the overly casual, deceptively gentle grip of his left hand on the bottle, and the tension in the cuff around his wrists. All of these signal a true maladjustment in infancy that point us toward an erotogenic connection to the subsequent death of his mother and the replacement relationship with his aunt that was to sustain him during his teen years. In particular, the possibility that the contents of the bottle are cidre point to a further connection between Monet’s mother and that mother of humanity, Eve. By placing Monet’s mouth on the mouth of the bottle, Armitage is indicating to us a secret but intense chain of connections between Monet’s simultaneous attraction and ability to commit to Camille Doncieux as a parallel to his concurrent love and fear of the das ewig Weibliche, a force with the potential to drive him as man and artist both to the fullest realization of his art, but also to pull him to the lowest possible execution of his basest desires. He both wants to swallow femininity by pulling back his ferocious teeth, but wishes to transgress against femininity by breaking the bourgeois canon of manners as distinction by omitting to use a glass. The open eyelids as he brings the bottle to his mouth signal both excitement and horror before the inevitable contact with the sublime as represented by the cidre and its yonic receptacle. His half-closed eyelids in the second frame as he savors the drink and pours it forcefully down his own throat similarly indicate both enjoyment and wariness, fear of the simultaneous gratification and embarrassment of the inevitable eructation that follows the sensual pleasure of the liquid stimulation of the throat — and Armitage gives –perforce– Monet a very long one that mimetically performs his eager submission to the female role of being penetrated by the liquid. Moreover, by closing his eyes like a Betsy Wetsy doll as he drinks, a natural human reflex, Armitage points us toward a greater awareness of the commodification of the oral complex and the culturally mandated attempts –always already in place– to make corporal but discipline the experiences of oral maladjustment as they were rooted in the avant-garde art movements of the later nineteenth century.

Of course, a truly deep examination of this topic will be reserved for the refereed journal of Armitage Studies that we will be putting out soon — as soon as I can get it past the referees.

~ by Servetus on June 29, 2011.

22 Responses to “Oral fixation Armitage”

  1. I really think you need to send this insightful monograph re Monet’s oral fixation to Mr. Armitage. I think he would be highly impressed . . .

    Are you feeling better?


    • Yeah, I’m sure he’ll be incredibly interested and read EVERY SINGLE WORD with bated breath. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I’ve decided what to do anyway. Will write about it soon. Tomorrow=many doctors appointments with my father.


      • Teehee. I think he would certainly decide he had some very–interesting–fans out there . . . ๐Ÿ˜‰

        Hope the appointments go well for your dad. Few things more tiring than sitting in doctor’s offices. Even though you are just sitting, it’s exhausting. Hope you both get some good rest tonight.

        Will look forward to hearing more . . .


  2. Errr. Uhhhmmmm. Getting my dictionary out so I can translate this. Not sure I can pass this class. ๐Ÿ˜‰


    • I had much the same reaction as you NB. Seriously though, our Servetus is indeed pretty special! That is why we love this blog. This is one of those times when I wish RA DID read the blogs. He would be pretty chuffed I think with some of the things written about his acting abilities and subtleties!! ๐Ÿ˜€


  3. Once again I am totally floored by your powers of analysis. I doubt many of us would have been able to achieve anything close to what you have written there. Personally I’m loving the pictures especially the one with his eyes half closed which beautifully reveals those amazingly long lashes ๐Ÿ˜‰ I know – a very shallow comment after such a scholarly message.


  4. Yes, it takes a very *special* intellect to write *this* kind of prose. Not everyone sees this level of detail, and not just anyone can do it ๐Ÿ™‚


    • May I ask if there is another actor who would tempt you to write such prose though? He is SUCH an interesting subject to scrutinize to say the least!


  5. !!!


  6. Great analysis, Servetus!
    I’m loving these Armitage studies of yours. They make me laugh but at the same time, I’m looking at Mr. Armitage with completely different eyes, trying to draw the same kind of conclusions from what he’s doing in whatever scene I’m watching. You see, I’m a good student ๐Ÿ™‚
    Can I get a PhD in Armitage studies, please? School was never this much fun before! ๐Ÿ™‚


    • Yes, sure. Our John Porter Chair seems to have disappeared, so we’ll have to run a search to fill the position soon. Then you can proceed to coursework, exams, and of course, the dissertation, which will require you to watch thousands of hours of Richard Armitage in slow motion!


  7. It seems like our Dr Servetus is ready to launch “The New Wisconsin Journal of Psycho-Armitage-Characters Clinical Studies”.


  8. Nice! It also helps explain both Monet’s push-pull relationship with Camille, and the later relationship with Alice Hoschede, the older woman and his patron.


  9. Now would he do this on a conscious level, I wonder ๐Ÿ™‚
    I am really in awe of this analysis.

    I also hope that tomorrow’s appointment goes well for your father.


  10. I am fascinated with his eating.


  11. Servetus, you always bring me to pay much more attention to details and RA really gets it right up into the last tiny detail. He is so worth your close examination. Thank you for sharing your insights with us, Servetus!!!


  12. Girl, I don’t know whatcha are talkin’ about, but I enjoy reading it none the less.


  13. OK, so I am saying equally to everyone, this was actually a bit of a joke. I hesitated about how to comment on this since I didn’t want to make anyone feel bad. In fact Monet may have been orally fixated (didn’t Freud think most men were?) but it’s inconceivable to me that Mr. Armitage would have really included that abstruse of a detail into his performance. I was mostly trying to parody bad lit-crit writing, and myself. In case of doubt, the “self-parody” tag should clue everyone in. Hope there are no hurt feelings.


  14. I did think it was interesting that Armitage chose to drink straight from the bottle, though ๐Ÿ™‚


    • That astonished me, too. I also think, I must re-watch the scene, that he held the bottle in a bit of an awkward position. If I tried it that way, I would spill the whole content of the bottle over me, but I must admit it looked great to watch. Perhaps it is good that actors normally get a specially prepared bottle. Though, your “das ewig Weibliche” made me laugh ;o) Men and women, what an endless story of ‘who did it’.


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