Tag Archive: Freud


Victor’s dream highlights the blurred relationship labels that he has placed on the people in his life. His mother and his future wife, Elizabeth, seem to hold a similar place in his mind. This could partially be attributed to the fact that once Victor’s mother dies, it seems that Elizabeth takes the place of Caroline Frankenstein in the household. She in some ways becomes Victor’s mother and so when Victor dreams of Elizabeth he is of course dreaming of his mother in actuality. Elizabeth as his sister is symbolic of life as he sees her “in the bloom of health” and as he moves to “[embrace] her [and imprint] the first kiss on her lips” she morphs into his mother, Caroline, who is symbolic of death. This suggests that as Victor blurs the lines between his relationship with his sister and attempts to change her role to that of his wife, he essentially kills her and the relationship because it is unnatural. He ends up with the rotting corpse of his dead mother which was the first woman Victor surely felt affection for that he could not have because his mother belonged to his father and not him. So any attempt to change certain relationships in unnatural ways ends in something final like death because his sister should not be his wife. His mother who he may have latched onto as a child should also not be the object of his affections. Elizabeth and Caroline blending into one person for Victor as highlighted in his dream suggests that he has attempted to alter his relationships unnaturally and that is his problem. He cannot separate the women in his life and latch himself to the right women that will help him live a normal life.

As for the corpse he reanimated into his Creature we can see Victor trying to create another unnatural relationship. He is trying to establish a new race of humans and trying to establish him as their father figure. However, when his “child” asks for its own female figure to latch onto Victor like the typical father does not allow it and removes the female figure from his “child’s” life. His “child”, the Creature, reacts as Freud expected, and drastically makes the decision that if he can’t have the mother then no one can because he kills Elizabeth. While the Creature was not especially fixated on Elizabeth, she is Victor’s wife at this point in the narrative and essentially the “mother” for all intents and purposes because of her relationship to Victor. The cycle that Victor and all other men supposedly go through is also experienced by the Creature. Perhaps Victor strove to reanimate a corpse in some unconscious effort to break the cycle but failed to do so when he did not provide his corpse with the wife it desired.

This psychological state reveals themes of the natural versus the unnatural which is consistent with the entire novel because the constant reinforcement of nature makes the reader aware of the lack of production within the novel, which would have been prevalent during that time. It also reveals that Victor’s relationships are part of what makes certain things unnatural throughout the story because he is trying to make things work together that should not work together. Which ties together with the theme of horror throughout the novel that consistently reminds the reader ugly wrong things are terrifying while beauty is not. None of Victor’s relationships are beautiful and therefore are ugly and terrifying.

By Diana Lara

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Samantha Shapiro

Victor’s “wildest dream” invokes a connotation of disgust and repression from a long-held desire to “infuse life into an inanimate body,” which is seen with the usage of a “double” and a sort of “return of the repressed.” This dream, where Victor embraces and kisses Elizabeth, his cousin/sister figure, only for her to turn into “the corpse of [his] dead mother,” highlights this Oedipal desire for a mother-like substitute, but in a markedly different manner—in his own awareness from his dreams, he brings to light something meant to stay unconscious and ends up rejecting and repressing it. This repression establishes the theme of Victor’s horrible treatment of his creation, as he uses it as a “double,” and his dread from “repression into morbid anxiety” establishes the uncanny within Frankenstein (The Uncanny 429).

The burial “shroud”

The readers are able to interpret Victor Frankenstein’s repression from his own view of his dreams. Frankenstein had dedicated two years to “the sole purpose of infusing life into an inanimate body,” but after having finished, the “beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled [his] heart” (Frankenstein 60). This begins to establish the obsessive nature Victor had originally created, and later goes to become connected to his mother to his dreams, through establishing a “double.” A double, in this instance, refers to an individual “doubling, dividing, and interchanging the self” through the substitution of the foreign, identical self with the individual’s own self (TU 425).

The wedding “shroud,” the “bloom of health” and the “miserable monster whom I had created”

 This double is established seemingly in both Elizabeth, “in the bloom of health,” and his mother’s corpse to attempting to make his desires come to fruition with the creation—in the process of his dream conflating the two with intimate touch, something desired in infants at a young age from their mothers, and lost to Victor with his mother’s death, he associates it with the creation. This is seen with his realization leading to “breathless horror and disgust fill[ing his] heart,” with the knowledge that his desire for his mother was the very “aspect of the being [he] had created” (F 60). The comparison and substitution of Elizabeth, his mother, and the creation highlight his disgust with himself in having this come to light, quite literally, with the “dim and yellow light of the moon” illuminating his repression with the creature staring him down, something that shouldn’t have been desired (F 60). This state begins to highlight his own mentality behind the creature, as he projects onto the creature an uncanniness due to his own repression—the monster’s develops into a return of the things that should remain repressed. 

Unconscious Desires

necrophilia

Freud describes hidden or “repressed” primitive desires that arise from infancy. Such that a male or female, experiences stages of the Odepius complex. This complex is understood as: a child after going through castration anxiety, from which they develop sexual desire towards their mother, and as rivalry arises from the father. The child (male) refrains from those desires and as such sides with the father in hopes of taking his place. However, as time passes the super-ego develops creating a differing path that leads to substituting desires froth the mother to another female. The repressed feelings are then a state of the unconscious desires. These desires are repressed and sometimes are unlocked by dreams from which they surface.

Thus, an example that can be interpreted from repression is Victor Frankenstein. The setting is taken place in Victor’s chambers. In hopes of giving life to a corpse of his own dreams, his expectations are destroyed once he has completed his task. From seeing his rather aesthetically failed attempt of creating his creature, he was filled with disgust and horror. So, he went to sleep in his bed and had “the wildest dreams” (page 60). Victor dreams of seeing Elizabeth to his delight he kisses her she became a “vivid hue of death…” then her features transformed into his dead mother. From this wild dream, he had a cold dew that covered his forehead, chattering teeth, and convulsing limbs.

Taking into account Freud’s interpretation of repressed desires and Odepius complex, Elizabeth is a substitute of Victor Frankenstein’s dead mother. The dream in which reveals his repressed desires of his mother. His dreams and “actions” such as teeth chattering, dewed forehead, and convulsing limbs indicate a certain sexual aspect. Thus, Victor’s dream and “actions”  can be interpreted in a psychoanalysis.

Moreover, the idea can also be obtained from the animation of a corpse, whom Victor created as the Creature. The idea of giving life to a corpse and implementing ideas of perfection caused Victor to move from the bounds of “normalcy” to “abnormality.” We can infer that the death of his mother may have unconsciously set off his repressed desires which led him to create a version of his mother into his creation. When he sees the fruits of his creation he realizes the “uncanny” from which he had  first set off as “canny.”

  • Karla Garcia Barrera

The Uncanny Desire

Freud is very known for his theory Oedipus Complex, the development that describes a child’s desire toward their mother or father and develops a sense of jealousy and anger toward the opposite sex. According to Freud it was normal for Victor to become sexually fond of his mother. In his “wildest dream”, the dream shifts from being about Elizabeth who not only is his sister but becomes his lover later in the story which is incest, shifts to being about his mother. “I imprinted the first kiss on her lips, they became livid with the hue of death; her features appeared to change, and I thought that I held the corpse of my dead mother in my arms,”(Shelley 60). Victor is an example of the theory Oedipus Complex. In the novel Mary Shelley is making it seem as if Victor is falling for Elizabeth when in reality he’s falling for his mother. freud

Victor compels himself to fall in love with Elizabeth not only because she’s a representation of his mother, but because in his mind he actually wanted to love her. Knowing she was the only other woman who loved him as much as his mother, Elizabeth was merely a substitute for Victor’s mother. Obsessing over his mother’s corpse may explain why he created the creature as it being part of her, and ending up abandoning the creature the same way his mother did to him when she died.

-Alexuz Bejarano

Mahealani LaRosa

Everyone knows about Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, for his radical and controversial theories about sexuality, dreams, and unconsciousness. One of his most well-known and fought-over theories is the Oedipus Complex, which basically says that as a young child we desire our parent of the opposite sex because of envy or fear or disgust we have of or for the other parent. Freud proposes “the infant boy feels an attraction to his mother” and “look[s] at the father as a rival for the mother and thus as feeling an unconscious desire to kill the father, so as to have the mother to himself” (119). Now focus on that word ‘unconscious’. Freud believes that everyone has unconscious drives and desires, and that the repression of these urges is necessary to function properly and sanely in society. These ideas are expressed in his essay “The Uncanny”, where he says that the uncanny is something that “is not known and familiar” and uses the term uncanny when “discussing things that appear to slip outside of normal perceptions or normal assumptions” (418). If we psychoanalyze Victor Frankenstein, we can immediately see that he is has not fully repressed nor is unconscious of his illicit desires.

Incestuous thoughts are not uncanny to Freud, so Victor loving his cousin Elizabeth whom he affectionately calls ‘sister’ does not come as a surprise. However, Victor does have an uncanny dream where he “saw Elizabeth… imprinted a kiss on her lips, [but] they became livid with the hue of death; her features began to change and… [he] held the corpse of [his] dead mother in [his] arms” (60). Right away we can see signs of Oedipal desire, which once again, Freud does not find uncanny. What is wrong with this dream is that Frankenstein is conscious of it. His desire for his lover turned into a desire for his mother, and his dead mother at that. It makes sense that he would seek adoration from someone like Elizabeth, someone who is similar to his mother in not only her appearance but also in her habits and mannerisms, but it does not make sense that he knows he is doing this because of his desire for his dead mother. The final nail in the coffin is how Victor reacts to his dream, in which he says “a cold dew covered my forehead, my teeth chattered, and and ever limb became convulsed” (60). After a very close reading, one can come to the conclusion that all of these actions have very sexual connotations. Victor is explaining how he has become aroused by the idea of kissing his dead mother. It is obvious this is also causing him some anxiety as well, as he spirals downwards as the novel progresses. However this dream explains a lot about why Victor created the monster. His scientific drive is actually the repressed desire to bring his mom back to life. If he could bring something else perfect and beautiful back to life, then perhaps he could do the same with his mother. When his creature is not seamless and gorgeous as he had hoped, panic overtakes Frankenstein and his defeat and hopelessness are expressed through his dream. Victor knows he has failed, and he knows his maternal desire is wrong. It is like his unconscious is glitching. Parts of it are replaced by Elizabeth and science, but he is conscious that these are just replacements.

Image result for mom in a coffin

 

Young Sigmund Freud.jpg

Victor Frankenstein is an individual with uncanny desires. From the determination of creating “the perfect specimen”, to the extent of his sexual desires, undefinable to say the least. Sigmund Freud’s, The Uncanny, posits that the memories since childhood influences the adults’ artistic expression. It intertwines with the themes of the connection between early childhood development and ones’ artistic expression, the psychological mechanisms that are deployed to preserve one knowing too much, and the ramification of the psychic repressions. To connect this with Victor Frankenstein, we analyze promptly with Victor’s “wildest dreams” [60], within the novel.

Victor Frankenstein.JPG

As Victor’s love for Elizabeth is undeniable throughout the novel, we must come the realization that their love is one of an ‘Un-genetic Sexual Attraction’ (uGSA). A term that describes the phenomenon of sexual attraction between close relatives, such as siblings, first and second cousins or a parent and offspring, who first meet as adults. Although the relationship between Victor and Elizabeth in un-genetical, one must know that their interaction amongst one another is of between a brother and a sister. To further expand the incest between the Frankenstein family, his desire for sexual inter-relationship is masked with the marriage between Elizabeth and Victor. Although the wedding was cut short due to the expected actions of the monster; one must realize that the companionship between Elizabeth was solely to hide away similarity of desires Oedipus and Victor share; to have a sexual relationship with their mother.

– Stephen Muñoz

By Steven Gonzalez

Sigmund Freud’s iceberg model of the human psyche attempts to categorize an individual’s thoughts, actions, and desires as being a product of one of three states in the mind: the ego, the superego, and the id. The id, residing deep within one’s unconscious mind, is a person’s instinctual/biological desires and feelings, the superego, residing both in the deep unconscious as well as the subconscious mind, is a person’s moral barometer, and the ego, lying right beyond the conscious in the subconscious mind, acts as a person’s mediator between one’s desires and one’s moral objectives. Freud uses this model of the psyche as well as what he refers to as the “Oedipal Complex” in order to describe the development of a child’s personality throughout childhood and adolescence. The oedipal complex refers to a group of a person’s feelings which result from their underlying desire to form a romantic relationship with their parent of the opposite sex and a desire to eliminate their parent of the same sex. Freud believed that we all had these primal oedipal desires within us and that most of us merely repressed these desires deep into our unconscious, the id.  In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Victor Frankenstein exhibits the Oedipal Complex in a dream-which Freud says is where the disguised id manifests itself- where Elizabeth appears and as he leans in to kiss her, his dead mother appears.

This wild dream that represents Victor’s oedipal complex occurs following Frankenstein’s creation of the monster, Victor is repulsed at the sight of his new creation and states “The different accidents of life are not so changeable as the feelings of human nature.”(Shelley 60). This, while not directly referring to Victor’s Oedipal desires, hint at Freud’s description of the id being the biological and instinctive desires which lie deep underneath of a person’s psyche. Next, Victor describes going to sleep in an attempt to forget that which he has just created only to be “disturbed” by Elizabeth within his dream. Victor describes the following events saying, “Delighted and surprised, I embraced her, but as I imprinted the first kiss on her lips, they became livid with the hue of death; her features appeared to change, and I thought that I held the corpse of my dead mother in my arms.” (Shelley 60). This quote serves as an exemplar for Freud’s solution to the Oedipal complex where the boy- in this case, Victor- still holds affection for his mother but no longer holds a libidinal attraction for her and instead bestows his libidinal affection upon another woman who would act as a substitute to his mother. Victor then describes how he felt great despair and agitation following the animation of his monster, saying, “I remained during the rest of the night walking up and down in the greatest agitation, listening attentively catching and fearing each sound as if it were to announce  the approach of the demoniacal corpse to which I had so miserably given life.”(Shelley 61). This great agitation perhaps symbolizing the internal struggle of the ego within Victor’s psyche attempting to create order between his primal desires-the id-  and his moral objectives-the superego.

This analysis of Victor’s character through the Freud’s psychoanalytic lens and as an exemplar of the Oedipal Complex that resides within all of us, while being unorthodox and outlandish, does allow us to better understand Victor’s internal conflicts more clearly and in a more concrete manner. Moreover, using Freud’s model of the psyche to analyze allows the reader -through seeing Victor’s internal struggles- to empathize with Victor and in turn see the novel from a different perspective rather than see it from the typical point of view: “The creature is more human than Victor, Victor is the real monster of the story.” Ultimately, the novel is much more nuanced than that and reading the novel using different lenses allows us to capture more of that nuance which we so often simplify.

 

Freud's Couch 2
By Amber Loper
Putting Doctor Frankenstein on the couch is complex, to say the least. It’s difficult to psychoanalyze a fictional character who is entirely the product of another persons imaginings.  It would be more appropriate to use the novel to psychoanalyze Mary Shelley, however fragments of Freud’s methods can be used to pick apart Victor Frankenstein’s dream in the beginning of the novel. His dream is the epitome of what Freud finds “uncanny”. By taking the woman he loves, Elizabeth, and changing her into his dead mothers corpse, there is a frightening reveal from his unconscious. His unconscious is sending him a message at a time in his life when his psyche is really taking a beating. Elizabeth represent the familiar, and comfortable life that he is used to, but when he kisses her and she transforms into his dead mother the comfort turns to fear because it has just been revealed to him what should be kept in his unconscious, secret.

It all leads back to men unconsciously having the desire to sleep with their mothers. Elizabeth reminds Frankenstein of his mother, hence his desire to be with her because it is socially unacceptable to sleep with one’s mother. The dream reveals to him this desire, and he’s frightened by it, because having the unconscious revealed drives men crazy, and once it is revealed, it is impossible to cure the psyche because they have gone mad. Such is the case for Frankenstein who spirals into madness as the novel continues.

Rigo Garcia

 

Sigmund Freud’s theory was very weird and uncomfortable to say the very least. He believed that kids had penis envy etc… Also, Oedipus Complex, the “influencer” of this all was the “complex of emotions aroused in a young child, typically around the age of four, by an unconscious sexual desire for the parent of the opposite sex and a wish to exclude the parent of the same sex”. In the Uncanny, it pretty much states that when an individual imagines things during their state of unconsciousness , it is actually something they wish to eventually do.

In Frankenstein, Victor dreams and said: “… I embraced her, but as I imprinted the first kiss on her lips, they became livid with the hue of death; her features appeared to change, and I thought that I held the corpse of my dead mother in my arms” . This quote or his dream can be interpreted as follows. Victor was kissing Elizabeth, his cousin, which was already incest. Which is already out of the ordinary, but it got worse when he mentioned his mother. “I held the corpse of my dead mother”. This made this whole dream even more worse and weird. According to Freud, what an Individual was thinking while unconscious, was something he actually wanted to do, so this made this whole thing even more different. Freud’s theory is easily correlated and connects to Victor’s dreams for that reason.

By: Sandra Tzoc

According to Freud’s dream theory, the images that play in the human mind during sleep depict repressed ideas or desires. In Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”, Victor has an apparent incestuous dream that can possibly say more of him than his conscious does. Victor says: “… I embraced her, but as I imprinted the first kiss on her lips, they became livid with the hue of death; her features appeared to change, and I thought that I held the corpse of my dead mother in my arms” (60). However, it is important to note that Victor leaned in to kiss Elizabeth not his mother. It is also significant that he didn’t dream of kissing his live mother, he dreamt of kissing his mother’s corpse. Moreover, this can represent his great admiration towards death but more importantly his deep love towards his mother, so much that he brought a corpse back to life in order to see if he could bring his mother back to life. However, since he failed to make the “perfect” creation- this failure was symbolized as his dead mother in his dream.o-STEPHEN-MANGAN-570

To Victor, his mother was very important just like a mother figure is to any other human being. In addition, it is possible the loss of his mother prompted him to become a birth giver himself. Freud presented the idea of penis envy however, he didn’t quite include the opposite concept. In contrast to penis envy, womb envy describes a man who is jealous of a female because she has what it takes to give birth. The man doesn’t like feeling weak or inferior due to the fact that he doesn’t have the power to birth a kid therefore, creating womb envy. Furthermore, it is possible that Victor Frankenstein suffered of womb envy and decided to take matters into his own hands. Perhaps Victor could not physically push a baby out but he’s experimental capacity allowed him to produce his own baby- the creature. He wanted to know how it felt to give life therefore, he took different pieces of corpses and put them together to bring back the dead. In the end, Victor’s mother died when he was young and didn’t get to show him the way through life. Perhaps, this explains why Victor abandoned the creature, history was simply repeating itself.