‘Tony Montana, a case study of the effectiveness of Sigmund Freud’s Psychoanalytic approach to personality’
Personality is a distinct and important feature in all human behaviour. Sigmund Freud is seen by most as the founding father of personality theory and I’ am going to evaluate his psychoanalytic approach to personality by looking at a case study, ‘Tony Montana’ from the movie Scarface. In doing so I will evaluate Freud’s topographic and structural models. I will also look at the defence mechanisms and stages of development theories, all with regards to the life and behaviour of the fictional character Tony Montana.
Tony Montana is the lead character in the movie Scarface. He arrives in Miami as an immigrant from his native Cuba and along with his friends is sent to a detention camp. Tony however has big plans and it is not long before he begins killing his way to the top of Miami’s cocaine underworld in an attempt to get “the world, and everything in it”.
Sigmund Freud was born on the 6th may 1856 in what is know the Czech Republic and his family finally settled in Vienna, Austria when he was 4 years old. From an early age it seemed that Freud was distend for great things entering high school early and learning a number of language including French, English and Greek. He himself wanted to become famous and believed researching medicine could help him to achieve this. However Freud could not afford to continue in research so established a private practice as a clinical neurologist. From this he realised he could make great discoveries and perhaps fame through his revolutionary ideas on human personality. All subsequent theories of personality use Freud as a reference point to compare and contrast their own such theories (Liebert & Langenbach 2007).
To understand Freud’s theory of personality we must start by looking at how he divides personality into three categories; the conscious, the preconscious, and the unconscious. This is often described as the Topographic Model. The conscious is what you are currently aware of such as reading this essay and the preconscious is information which readily available such as what you done on Saturday night. Freud described these two as just the tip of the iceberg and believed the unconscious was where most thoughts occurred and was important for psychoanalysis (Burger 2008).This information can not be accessed readily and is responsible for most of your actions and behaviour. Information from the unconscious can not be brought into the consciousness apart from under extreme conditions. The actions and behaviour of Tony Montana may be easier to understand and except if there is an unconscious process at play. Freud’s theory suggests that within the unconscious lies 2 types of instincts; life and death. These instincts are the driving force of personality and we are always under an instinctual tension which makes us act in under to reduce this. This is often referred to as maintaining a physiological equilibrium for example the sex drive could be restored by performing a sexual act (Schultz & Schultz 2001). Life instincts make us act in a way which promotes survival such as the need for air, water and sex. This may explain why Tony Montana has a desire to become rich, also could explain his continued attempts to make advancements to his boss’s wife. On the other hand Freud believed that people had an unconscious desire for death. The death instinct and in particular the aggressive drive makes us want to harm, conquer and kill. In the case of Tony Montana this may explain why he constantly flirts with death and will kill anyone who stops him from rising to they top.