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Freud vs. Sophocles

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  • Essay length: 1809 words
  • Submitted: 28/01/2005
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AS and A Level Classics

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Freud vs. Sophocles

Sun-Tzu said in his Art of War: '"'If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.'"' Every decision and action made is the result of unseen battles between the unconscious and consciousness; man battles against himself as his unconscious tries to make itself the conscious. How much self-knowledge is required to ensure victory when the enemy is one"'"s own unconscious? Or is it wiser to seek knowledge of neither the enemy nor self, but succumb to the battle? The duty of unraveling the struggle between the two psychical forces is fulfilled by Sigmund Freud in his seminal work, The Interpretation of Dreams. By examining the dreams of his patients, Freud identified a comprehensive system that describes the entering of the unconscious into the conscious through the stages of censorship, distortion, displacement, and the preconscious. Sophocles applies Freud"'"s theory to life by adopting the myth of '"'Oedipus the King'"', an exaggerated model that illustrates the workings of the unconscious on everyday life. When information in a man"'"s unconscious threatens his conscious well-being, he will battle then submit to his unconscious due to the inaccessibility of knowledge of

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