Freud's Theory of Dreaming and Repression Essay

Freud's Theory of Dreaming and Repression Essay

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The relationship between dreaming and repression is complex and requires thorough understanding of Freud’s theory thus it is better to get to know some of the terms and concepts Freud raises in study of dreams. As all the information is gathered, it is believed that the wish as fulfilled is shown only in a state of repression during sleep.
It is universally known that dreams are full of meanings and emotions. In Freud’s theory, all dreams are wish fulfillments or at least attempts at wish fulfillment. The dreams are usually presented in an unrecognizable form because the wishes are repressed. Freud proposes there are two levels in the structure of dreams, the manifest contents and the latent dream-thoughts. The manifest dream, a dream with understandable contents, is a substitute-formation that hides latent dream-thoughts, which are the abstract ideas in dreams. This translation of latent dream-thoughts to the manifest dream-content is defined by Freud as “dream-work”. Dream-work consists of certain types of transformation.
Condensation and displacement are two types of transformation, which connect to the different structure level of the dreams (the manifest contents and the latent dream-thoughts). They are used to “encode” the dreams and “repress” the consciousness. Condensation is one or more common elements that are packed together forming a composite picture with contradictory details when constructing a dream-situation. Condensation, as Freud describes, “is the most important and peculiar characteristics of the dream-work” (154). Besides condensation, displacement has its own significance. The dream content seems to have a different centre from its dream-thoughts (155) within displacement. The latent dream-thoughts are pr...


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... one sleeps, but nevertheless experiences the removing of a wish. Freud spent a lot of time in the analysis of children’s dreams. Since the content of children’s dreams are more obvious, Freud drew conclusions on the essential nature of dreams from it. Based on what he observed and collected from children’s dreams, he concluded that the dreams are undisguised wish fulfillments. He then applied this conclusion to all the dreams. Children’s dreams give a most feasible approach to understanding the function of dreams. Their dreams are usually the experience of the previous day without any dream-distortion. The manifest contents and the latent dream-thoughts coincide. The content is direct and simple. Freud assumed that the fulfillment of the wish is the content of the dream, while what instigates a dream is a wish. This is one of the chief characteristics of dreams.

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