Essay about Freud and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

Essay about Freud and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

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Monsters embody brutality, twisted morality, and irrationality—the banes of human existence, yet the children of man’s inner demons. Monsters are, in short, projections of man’s wicked id. The term creature may suggest monstrosity, and Frankenstein’s creation in Mary Shelley’s novel may be perceived as a personification of the Freudian id. In this case, however, the creature also mediates between its neurotic creator and societal values, just as the Freudian ego, conditioned by the reality principle, mediates between external reality and inner turmoil through practicality. The ego is the psyche’s driving force and, arguably, the real protagonist of Frankenstein. But in the fierce tug-of-war within the ego between the id and its law-abiding opposite—the superego—lies the true battlefield of Shelley’s novel. For ironically the man of science embodies an ego-ridden id, a man-monster, but creates a monster-man that embodies his counterpart: an id-ridden ego. In the wake of his mother’s death, Frankenstein’s tinkering with reanimation unconsciously shapes a symbiosis between himself and his creation—between two tortured halves of one neurotic mind. In fact, Shelley’s novel sinks deep into the crevices of Freud’s psychoanalytic theory, oozing into pits of neurosis, repression, parapraxes, dream symbolism, and the Oedipus complex.
Freud developed his theory from interactions with his neurotic patients and his own psychological experiences. He classifies an obsessional neurotic is classified as one who if “aware of impulses in [himself] which appear very strange,” is “led to actions, the performance of which, give him no enjoyment, but which it is quite impossible for [him] to omit” (Freud Abstracts 2). In Frankenstein’s ...

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...ll Stories. New York: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2004.

Freud, Sigmund. New Introductory Lectures on Psycho-Analysis. Ed. James Strachey. Trans. James Strachey. Standard. Vol. 22. London: Hogarth Press, 1964.

—. From the Individual to Society. Ed. Library of Congress Staff. 23 July 2010. Library of Congress. 06 February 2013.

—. The Essentials of Psychoanalysis. Ed. Anna Freud. Penguin, 1986.

—. The Freud Abstracts. Ed. Carrie Lee Rothgeb. n.d. 06 February 2013.

—. The Interpretation of Dreams. Trans. James Strachey. London: Lowe and Brydone, 1954.

Gilmore, David D. "Why Study Monsters?" Gilmore, David D. Monsters: Evil Beings, Mythical Beasts, and All Manner of Imaginary Terrors. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003. 210.

Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. Ed. J. Paul Hunter. 2nd. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1818.

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