A Freudian Analysis of Ode to the Death of a Favorite Cat (Favourite)


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A Freudian Analysis of Ode to the Death of a Favorite Cat (Favourite)  


"Ode to the Death of a Favorite Cat" can be a poem that represents a sexist view of women while identifying the three psychological entities; the id, ego, and superego.

The cat in the poem represents the human female. Throughout the poem it is referred to as a "she", and identified with similar, sexist traits that women have. These traits are laziness, the need for shiny, pretty objects, and an unquenchable desire for material goods. Just as the cat is drawn by the gold fish so is a woman's attention drawn to this glimmering metal. Just as line 24 says "What female heart can gold despise." The cat's desire for the glistening fish ultimately ends in its death. This is similar to what will happen to a woman if left to her desires unchecked. This cat has nothing in its life to prevent it from its folly. A woman needs a man to set her on the right path. If left to her own devices it will mean her end, or so that's what the poem implies of women. I the end a universal moral is introduced that can be applied to the human world, "Not all that tempts your wand'ring eyes, and heedless hearts is lawful prize, nor all that glisters gold." (lines 40-42)

This then leads into a perfect comparison of women and men as two psychological entities, the id and superego. Since the cat in the poem is so consumed by its desire that it impulsively acts on its greed and is a representation of the human female then obviously women can be considered representations of the Id. They impulsively act on their desires and ultimately, like the cat, are consumed by these desires if left unchecked. This is where man comes in. Men must be there and act as the superego holding back a woman's natural desire for material gain. Since both represent a different entity respectively then obviously the union of man and woman must be the ego. A balance between the two. A woman's desire for material gains and a man's natural inclination for law and order. This then does bring in the idea that certain human traits can be identified not only as manlike and womanlike but also things that are naturally inclined towards the superego and the id.

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Using common religious thought, women as themselves are sinful. They are lazy, greedy, crave their material goods, and are sexually driven. Thus identifying these traits not only as part of the id but as feminine. Conversely traits of the superego, the need for a structured society and law and order, are also considered ideas that are masculine. The need to order society and create law and order in society are commonly held as masculine ideas.

This, of course, are considered Christian and sexist ideas, but given the time period that Thomas Gray exists and the society he lives in these are certainly ideas he probably shared, and if not him then most of the society. A woman cannot be left to run her life because she can never hope to manage it like a man so she must have a husband to curtail her desires.

 


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