Analysis Of Sigmund Freud's Three Essays On The Theory Of Sexuality

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Sigmund Freud’s Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality was first published in 1905 and is still recognized today as one his most important psychoanalytical works on human sexuality. The essays were a much debated topic, and also a source of controversy, due in part to the second essay, “Infantile Sexualities,” which explores the notion that infants and young children are in fact sexual beings. This notion was especially disruptive to the larger society, because up until that point, and even still today, children were thought as asexual beings, which did not develop sexuality until the age of puberty. Before Freud’s Three Essays were published, the actor, poet and playwright Frank Wedekind wrote his controversial piece of theatre, Frühlings Erwachen: eine Kindertragödie in 1891 (Wedekind 6). Thirteen years later, the Berliner Kammerspiel performed the first world premiere of the play. Although hailed as a success, it was and remains to this day, a controversial work of literature due to its vivid and uncensored depictions of teenage sexuality. The play was subsequently banned or censored due to these debated themes. In a manner similar to each other, both works deal with one of the most contentious issues of their day. The idea of sexuality was something to be ashamed of, and according to Michel Foucault’s History of Sexuality, was a topic only suitable to discuss in the bedroom (Foucault 3). The themes touched upon in the two pieces of literature include those of homosexuality desire, the sexuality of children and young adults, and a commentary on the puritanical society an its blatant avoidance and demonization of sexuality. Freud explores infant sexuality and puberty of young adults, subjects that had never before been touche... ... middle of paper ... ... – Die Tugend kleidet nicht schlecht, aber es gehören imposante Figuren hinein. E: Uns schlottert sie noch um die Glieder. – Ich wäre nicht ruhig geworden, wenn ich dich nicht getroffen hätte. – Ich liebe dich, Hänschen, wie ich nie eine Seele geliebt habe... H: Laß uns nicht traurig sein! – Wenn wir in dreißig Jahren zurückdenken, spotten wir ja vielleicht! – Und jetzt ist alles so schön! (Wedekind 68; act III, sc. VI).” Sigmund Freud and Frank Wedekind were active during the turn of the century in Germany. Wedekind’s criticisms of the moralist cultural attitude tAs the examples above illustrate the audience of the day reacted with shock and appall. Granted, to some extent these stubborn reactions towards the themes of the play persist today. The subtitle Kindertragödie serves as a criticism on society for its puritanical attitudes and actions towards sexuality.

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