Forgetting the Boy in the Box: Mad Men’s Don Draper and Lacan’s Mirror Stage

Myles Logan Sauer


In this paper, I put forth the argument that the protagonist of Mad Men, Donald Draper, goes through his own mirror stage as outlined in Jacques Lacan’s writings on the subject of psychological development. This leads to a construction of a false identity that carries huge psychological significance for Don, and ultimately results in his identity becoming fragmented.  This construction of identity is a thematic thread throughout the show, as the advertising motif becomes analogous to the myriad of characters that are all trying to sell an image in some way, all to aspire to some ideal.

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EISSN  1927-4599
University of Victoria