Sigmund Freud 's Civilization And Its Discontents And Primo Levi 's Survival

Sigmund Freud 's Civilization And Its Discontents And Primo Levi 's Survival

Length: 1322 words (3.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

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 human hostility is intrinsic in nature and responsible for the failures of civilization can be attributed to the after effects of World War I. Freud’s work was written in 1930s when Europe is experiencing a large debt from sustaining World War I. Financial interest rates collapse as world leaders collect their debts (Lecture). As Europe battles extreme poverty and debt, Freud sees that human impulse led to war. He realizes that “the existence of this inclination to aggression…is the factor which disturbs our relations with our neighbour and which forces civilization into such a high expenditure [of energy]” (Freud 69). According to Freud, humans are naturally barbaric and violent. Humans suppress these feelings to create a sense of security. Freud attacks this system, referring to the commandment “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Freud 65). He notes that this rule is impossible to follow because humans are naturally harsh. Mankind is not composed of “gentle creatures who want to be lo...


... middle of paper ...


...ertelet 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 companions.
In Sigmund Freud’s Civilization and Its Discontents and Primo Levi’s Survival in Auschwitz determine the roots of human pugnacity. Freud, possibly reacting to the aftermath of World War I, determines that brutality is a natural. Humans are born with but is subdued by organized living. Primo Levi’s narrative, however, demonstrates how humans become beast-like when their humanity is taken from them. To Sigmund Freud, belligerence is rooted in the natural state of human beings and are detrimental to civilization, while Primo Levi infers from his observations in Auschwitz that violence and aggression come from an individual’s humanity being stripped away.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Primo Levi's Survival in Auschwitz Essay

- Primo Levi's Survival in Auschwitz Reading the novel Survival in Auschwitz by author Primo Levi leads one to wonder whether his survival is attributed to his indefinite will to survive or a very subservient streak of luck. Throughout the novel, he is time and again spared from the fate that supposedly lies ahead of all inhabitants of the death camp at Auschwitz. Whether it was falling ill at the most convenient times or coming in contact with prisoners who had a compassionate, albeit uncommon, disposition, it would seem as though the Gods were always smiling upon him....   [tags: Primo Levi Survival Auschwitz Essays]

Better Essays
1597 words (4.6 pages)

Sigmund Freud Civilization And Civilization Essay

- In Sigmund Freud’s Civilization and Its Discontents, Freud juggles between the civilized and savage human lives in order to show his assessment on civilization, the source of discontent. Civilization is a paradox. According to Freud, civilization, although its purpose would seem to assist the advancement of human misery and suffering, is actually somewhat the cause for that suffering. This explains human’s subliminal hostility toward civilization. His assessment on civilization has relation to his theory of instincts and the individual psyche because that is where the civilization emerges from....   [tags: Human, Sigmund Freud, Agriculture, Civilization]

Better Essays
965 words (2.8 pages)

The Connection between Civilization and Individuals in "Civilization and Its Discontents" by Sigmund Freud

- In Civilization and Its Discontents, Sigmund Freud writes primarily to examine the relationship between the individual and society. Through Freud's examination of the relationship, a deeper understanding of the complexity of mental life is realized. Freud begins to develop the relationship early in the work by depicting the most primitive realizations of self and the most primitive realizations of the external world. He further develops this relationship through the musing of sexual desire and its connections to love, which he claims, lead to the formation of families and then later groups of humanity that came to comprise civilization as a whole....   [tags: Civilization and Its Discontents, Sigmund Freud, ]

Better Essays
584 words (1.7 pages)

Essay on Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi

- Primo Levi, in his novel Survival in Auschwitz (2008), illustrates the atrocities inflicted upon the prisoners of the concentration camp by the Schutzstaffel, through dehumanization. Levi describes “the denial of humanness” constantly forced upon the prisoners through similes, metaphors, and imagery of animalistic and mechanistic dehumanization (“Dehumanization”). He makes his readers aware of the cruel reality in the concentration camp in order to help them examine the psychological effects dehumanization has not only on those dehumanized, but also on those who dehumanize....   [tags: dehumanization, concentration camps]

Better Essays
916 words (2.6 pages)

Essay on Civilization And Its Discontents By Sigmund Freud

- Civilization and Its Discontents Sigmund Freud is known for his theories and works in the field of psychology, mainly, the subject of psychoanalysis. Nonetheless, some of his works became important in other social science fields such as his work entitled “Civilization and its Discontents,” which had a significant contribution in other fields like political theory, sociology, and anthropology. This contribution is mainly because of the ideas invoked by the book with regard to the permanent conflict between the individual and the social institutions that surround him....   [tags: Sigmund Freud, Psychoanalysis, Psychology]

Better Essays
1370 words (3.9 pages)

Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi Essays

- In Primo Levi’s Survival In Auschwitz, an autobiographical account of the author’s holocaust experience, the concept of home takes on various forms and meanings. Levi writes about his experience as an Italian Jew in the holocaust. We learn about his journey to Auschwitz, his captivity and ultimate return home. This paper explores the idea of home throughout the work. As a concept, it symbolizes the past, future and a part of Levi’s identity. I also respond to the concept of home in Survival In Auschwitz by comparing it to my own idea and what home means to me – a place of stability and reflection that remains a constant in my changing life....   [tags: holocaust, experience, jew]

Better Essays
544 words (1.6 pages)

Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi Essay

- Hitler believed that life was all about struggle; in order to live a full life you must struggle and overcoming this struggle is the true meaning of life. Hitler believes that only the strongest will survive, and the weak will succumb and cease to exist, which ultimately will better the country as a whole. Hitler carried out many projects to weed out the weak, and build his strong ‘perfect’ nation; this included Action T4, concentration and death camps. Auschwitz is Hitler’s creation; it is his constructed society to exterminate the Jewish population through immense struggle, by not only killing them, but he also attempts to strip them of every single shred of humanity until there is nothin...   [tags: Jewish genocide, memoir review]

Better Essays
1143 words (3.3 pages)

Survival In Auschwitz by Primo Levi Essay

- There moments when people just look back in time how situation drastically changed to modern time. But it wouldn’t have become a lesson if no one looked at the issues people had affected society to present and future. According to the well known book in 20th century written by Primo Levi, Survival In Auschwitz, he explained about the time of his experience as a young 24 year old man being placed in German camp since he was considered as “Italian citizen and Jewish raced”. During the holocaust, it is one of the most horrible case of position to be part of because it is a matter of fact that there are unfair controversy based on race, and how people were severely treated....   [tags: literary analysis, modern time, Hitler]

Better Essays
1510 words (4.3 pages)

Essay about The Holocaust, By Primo Levi

- The Holocaust was one of the most atrocious genocides we have seen in human history, an atrocity where the Jewish people were persecuted through intense torture, murder, and unspeakable injustices. Through the holocaust, many writers were able to express their experience as survivors so that people would never forget this tragic event. Personally, there are three stories that helped me transport myself into the moment and understand the pain, suffering, and fears of the survivor. The three different authors mentioned in this paper will demonstrate vivid imagery, metaphors, and allusions that express their own personal experiences....   [tags: Jews, Nazi Germany, The Holocaust, Primo Levi]

Better Essays
1321 words (3.8 pages)

Survival In Auschwitz Essay

- Levi, Primo. Survival in Auschwitz; The Nazi Assault on Humanity. 1st edition. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1996. I. Survival in Auschwitz is the unique autobiographical account of how a young man endured the atrocities of a Nazi death camp and lived to tell the tale. Primo Levi, a 24-year-old Jewish chemist from Turin Italy, was captured by the fascist militia in December 1943 and deported to Camp Buna-Monowitz in Auschwitz. The trip by train took 4 long days in a jam-packed boxcar without food or water....   [tags: Primo Levi]

Better Essays
1693 words (4.8 pages)