Collapse of the Conscience Essay

Collapse of the Conscience Essay

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In normal society, people expect adults to know what is right and wrong, but the can trick the mind. According to Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic principles, one’s conscious is the ego that “experiences the external world through the sense, plays referee between the id and superego” (Tyson 25). The id pertains to one’s deep desires that society forbids and the idea of lacking fear of consequences, whereas the superego is the moral rules taught by society and family. In Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis’s short story, “The Fortune-Teller”, Camillo is the ego that is conflicted between his id and ego when he encounters himself in an immoral act that includes his best friend, Villela, and Villa’s wife, Rita. Through Camillo’s struggle with his id and superego, Machado emphasizes that one must make logical decisions or else there will be consequences.
When Camillo left the adolescent stage, he also left behind “his superstitions and his religious [which had both been inculcated by his mother]... “ he was content simply to deny everything” (Machado 128). What he discarded was the belief of the inconceivable and gained the knowledge to deny what he can identity as false. Camillo seemed to live in neutrality until he slowly brings himself to demise as he allows himself to live with his ego being manipulated by the id. The ego should have a harmonized id and superego but Camillo fails to maintain the balance. Villela and Rita had an immense emotional impact on Camillo’s ego when it was weaken from when “Camillo’s mother died, and in this catastrophe, for such it was, the other two showed themselves to be genuine friends of his” (Machado 129). The proximity of their friendship was good for comforting Camillo’s ego but his state of ...


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... Krstovic. Vol. 118. Detroit: Gale, 2009. Literature Resource Center. Web. 6 Mar. 2014.
Douglass, Ellen H. "Machado de Assis's 'A cartomante': Modern Parody and the Making of a
'Brazilian' Text." MLN 113.5 (Dec. 1998): 1036-1055. Rpt. in Short Story Criticism. Ed.
Jelena O. Krstovic. Vol. 118. Detroit: Gale, 2009. Literature Resource Center. Web. 13 Mar. 2014.
Goldberg, Isaac. "Machado de Assis." Brazilian Literature (1922). Rpt. in Twentieth-Century
Literary Criticism. Ed. Dennis Poupard. Vol. 10. Detroit: Gale Research, 1983. Literature Resource Center. Web. 6 Mar. 2014.
Tyson, Lois. Critical Theory Today a User-Friendly Guide, Second Edition. Hoboken: Routledge, 2006. Print.
Weiner, Lauren. "Rediscovering the "Espirito" of Machado." New Criterion. Oct. 1997: 18-25. SIRS Renaissance. Web. 13 Mar. 2014.

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