All About Id, Ego, & Super Ego
All About Id, Ego, & Super Ego
Freud in Modern Literature: The Lord of the Flies
Freudian thought is commonplace in literature, although it might not be obvious at first. While not my favorite book, Lord of the Flies is a great example of the Freudian division of the psyche. I will highlight the three main characters and how they represent the Id, Ego, and Superego. First, a basic recap of the three parts of our psyche according to Freud: The Id- Instinctual desires. The Id refuses to wait for things it wants. When the Id wants something the Id will not listen to any objections. The Ego- The middleman. The Ego listens to both the Id and the Superego and acts in a way that satisfies the Id's needs as well as the Superego's conscience. The Superego- The collection of every rule or more that you have been taught by society. The Superego is the opposite of the Id. Now how does this manifest in Lord of the Flies? The Id: Jack After the group of young boys divide into two camps, Jack takes control of the wilder tribe. He heads the battles against the dreaded "beast" and slaughters a pig with no remorse. He does not consider any long-term plans, and acts quickly and thoughtlessly. Caring only of himself, he quickly becomes the number one opponent to Ralph, the rational voice on the island. The Ego: Ralph Ralph is the golden child. He is strong, smart, and able to lead the group of stranded young boys with integrity. While he is not without flaws, he is able to balance the self-centered rashness of Jack with the worrisome, paralyzed nature of Piggy. He acts as the (un)happy medium between the Id and the Super Ego, making him Freud's Ego. He has a bitter sweet ending, because even though he survived the ordeal, he has come to realize the horrors of human nature as shown by Jack and his followers. The Superego: Piggy Piggy is painted as pathetic, with thick glasses, sensitive skin, and a long list of fears and worries. He constantly recalls advice or warnings from his grandmother and acts as if a teacher or police officer were watching over his shoulder. He is sheltered and scared of thinking for himself. Piggy is killed before the boys are rescued, and dies without his own name, without a real identity. Simon, on the other hand, is a character that is unlike any other boy on the island. He is pure and good, unattached from the pull of desires or pressures of society like Jack, Ralph, or Piggy. He comes to a tragic end in which he is murdered by the other boys, showing that completely pure people like this can't exist. That human nature will always have the desires and pressures shown in the other boys. We cannot escape the Id, Superego, and Ego in this sense. This is only the tip of the iceberg, so if you have any more questions feel free to ask them!
How an Artist is Made - Exploring Id, Ego, & Super Ego
Tony Woodcock gives an interesting explanation of the Id and Super Ego's effect on creating art. The struggle between the two mental urges creates something between organized structure and wild imagination. First, he explains the differences between the three and then shows how the disharmony has created our art, literature, and architecture. I have taken my favorite parts of the article and gathered them here for you. If you wish to read the entire piece I have included the link. "You will recall that Freud identified three parts of the psyche: First of all, there is the Id -- our most authentic childlike self, creative, passionate, artistic, full of desires and impulses all driven by the pleasure principle. If you've ever been with a three year old or a famous orchestral conductor for an afternoon that is sheer Id. Then, there's the Super-Ego: the absolute opposite of the Id. It deals with right/wrong. it's irrational in its choices, realistic, guilt-driven and intent upon controlling the excesses of the Id. The Super-Ego promotes the tyrannical imperatives of the "should." And then there's the poor old Ego, caught between the powers and opposition of the Id and Super-Ego, and trying really, really hard to find a balance. It converts sex and aggression into a more acceptable expression of the Id, and modifies the Id into artistic expression. With its desire for reason and common sense, and some sort of equilibrium, the Ego prompts us to create: • Education • Schools • Universities • the architecture of our cityscapes, green spaces, tree-lined boulevards The Super Ego creates: • our social structures • our governments • the buildings where we house our governments from the Parthenon in Athens to the White House • our police • our armies • our rules and our laws • our religions and churches • our penitentiaries • our inflexibilities and our social conflicts And then our Id -- well it has fun darting between and taunting the Ego and Super-Ego helping to create and challenge our society and the cities we live in by making them more extraordinary but only with the balancing influence of the Ego. Only the creativity of the Id and the Ego could have conceived of the amazing glass structure that now announces the Louvre in Paris, appealing to thousands of other psyches that flock to see it. It is the Id and the Ego that stimulate the desire to perform, to paint, to act, to design, to dance, to dream, to write, to return to the imagination that made childhood a distant country where everything was done differently. It is the Id making an accomplice of the Ego that results in the artists, designers, architects, composers, writers, dancers, choreographers, film makers, thinkers, philosophers whose works change our lives, make our lives worth living, give us a handle on infinity and death and birth. It is the Id and Ego that create great institutions that serve the highest goals of our civilization -- drama companies, theaters, orchestras, museums, concert halls, dance companies. The arts do not make a city. The arts are the city and without them we are left with the drab, dead monstrosities of East Germany and communist Russia where the soul of our Id and Ego have been crushed between the huge intersecting powers of an all dominating Super Ego."