Psychoanalysis in 'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock'

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  • Created by: ellieg313
  • Created on: 11-05-16 15:59



  • 'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock' - T. S. Eliot.
  • Freudian psychoanalytical ideas show personality split into Id, ego + super-ego.
  • Depth + personality to character from using Freud's theory.
  • Essay will cover: Freudian psychoanalysis- Oedipus complex, the unconscious, Id, ego + super-ego.
  • Lois Tyson.
  • Analysing how psychoanalysis can be applied to extract
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Theory 1

Theory 1:

  • The unconscious = dynamic. Repression + unconscious = processes. Return of repressed- dreams, Freudian slips, neurosis + psychosis. All reveal unconscious fears + desires.
  • Oedipus Complex: mother = love object- ****** desire. Father = competition- destructive desire. Resolution: boy- identifies with father, castration anxiety. Compensation = inherits paternal power. Girl- identifies with mother, penis envy. Compensation = has a baby. 
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Theory 2

Theory 2:

  • Sigmund Freud 'The Ego and the Id'.
  • Idnew born child- no sense of self in relation to world. Mass of undefined, undifferentiated desires. Primitive biological needs- pleasure + avoid pain. Pleasure principle- Id wants fulfilment of desires, incapable of depriving itself.
  • Ego = sense of self- Id meets real world. Conscious awareness. Reality principle- self-preservation. Wants pleasure- able to defer pleasure. Psychic functions- organising thoughts, interpreting out relation to the external, anxiety. 
  • Super-ego = self control. Judgements of society- parents, teachers, church, law, etc. Formed through Oedipus complex- represents father figure, voice of authority. Partly conscious, partly escapes during sleep.
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Key Individuals

Key Individuals:

  • Sigmund Freud.
  • Lois Tyson 'Critical Theory Today': defences break down, experience anxiety. Anxiety reveals core issues, eg fear of intimacy, fear of betrayal and low self-esteem.
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Text Quotes

Text Quotes:

  • "Do I dare?" - Freud's idea of super-ego. Debates whether to do something but has control not to. Id would just do it without consideration.
  • "I have measured out my life with coffee spoons" - Freud's Id, ego and super-ego. Feels he has been too measured- relates to Tyson's core issues. Fear of intimacy or abandonment- means he was too careful/measured in order to avoid these things.
  • "They will say: 'How his hair is growing thin!'" - Tyson: defences breaking down + core issue of low self-esteem revealed through his anxiety.
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