Gérard Bonnet : the trouvère, when the rivalry between doubles turns into an attack on one’s own body

The adolescent who turns against his own body is often imprisoned in a logic of doubles from which he tries to protect himself and which he tries to escape. This has the advantage of maintaining the illusion of omnipotence he experienced as a child, of projecting it onto the other with accompanying violence, and of stabilizing the latter by turning it back upon itself in a targeted, limited way. The mutilations that he inflicts on himself are thus real witnesses to the illusion that he needs to construct. What is interesting about a work like Verdi’s Le Trouvère is that it gives us access to the mythic scenario underlying this type of behavior and opens it up to analysis. In it we discover, notably, how self-mutilation is for some adolescents a rite of passage allowing them to confront a mythical double, to their detriment at first, but with the possibility of unmasking it later.