Sigmund Freud Civilization And Its Discontents And Primo Leli Analysis

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In Sigmund Freud’s Civilization and Its Discontents and Primo Levi’s Survival in Auschwitz, both authors explore the source of human violence and aggression. Sigmund Freud’s book reacts to the state of Europe after World War I, while Primo Levi’s narrative is a first-hand account of his experiences during World War II. International and domestic tensions are high when both works are written; Sigmund Freud adopts a pessimistic tone throughout the work, while Primo Levi evolves from a despairing approach to a more optimistic view during his time at Auschwitz. To Sigmund Freud, savagery comes from the natural state of human beings, while Primo Levi infers violence is rooted in individual’s humanity being stripped away is.
Freud’s opinion that
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It can perhaps be inferred from the title that Freud’s work will have a languished tone. When describing the workings of civilization, Freud chooses words with negative connotations, such as “restriction” and “perversion” (Freud 49, 59). He ends the work by bleakly asking “may we not be justified that under the influence of cultural urges…possibly the whole of mankind—have become neurotic?” (Freud 110). He sees no feasible solution to the conflicts between human tendencies and civilization. In Survival in Auschwitz, Primo Levi outlook is despondent and fatalistic. His anecdotes focus solely on the horrible experiences he and his fellow prisoners must endure at the work camp. This tone changes, however, once he begins to form relationships with other men in the camp; he becomes focused on survival and abandons the forlorn tone to focus on survival. As Auschwitz is abandoned and the prisoners left are striving to survive, he recounts that he gave everyone nasal drops of camphorated oil “for pure propaganda purposes…I assured Sertelet that they would help him; I even tried to convince myself” (Levi 168). Instead of wallowing in their state as Sigmund Freud does, Primo Levi looks for ways to be optimistic and instill hope in his
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