Heart of Darkness in the Light of Psychoanalytic Theories.

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Psychoanalytic Criticism Psychoanalytic criticism originated in the work of Austrian psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, who pioneered the technique of psychoanalysis. Freud developed a language that described, a model that explained, and a theory that encompassed human psychology. His theories are directly and indirectly concerned with the nature of the unconscious mind. Through his multiple case studies, Freud managed to find convincing evidence that most of our actions are motivated by psychological forces over which we have very limited control (Guerin 127). One of Freud's most important contributions to the study of the psyche is his theory of repression: the unconscious mind is a repository of repressed desires, feelings,…show more content…
In condensation, several wishes, anxieties or persons may be condensed into a single manifestation or image in dream story; in displacement, a thought or a person may be displaced onto the image of another with which or whom there is an extremely loose and arbitrary association that only an analyst can decode. Psychoanalytic critics treat metaphors as if they were dream condensations; they treat metonyms- figures of speech based on weak connections- as if they were dream displacements. Thus, figures of speech in general are treated as aspects that see the light when the writer's conscious mind resists what the unconscious asks it to depict or describe. Psychoanalytic criticism written before 1950 tended to study the psyche of the individual author. Poems, novels and plays were treated as fantasies that allowed authors to release curbed desires, or to protect themselves from deep- rooted fears, or both. Later, psychoanalytic critics stopped assuming that artists are borderline neurotics or that the characters they fabricate and the figurative language they use can be analyzed to figure out the dark, hidden fancies in the authors' minds. So they moved their focus toward the psychology of the reader, and came to understand that artists are skilled creators of works that appeal to the readers' repressed wishes. As such, psychoanalytic criticism typically attempts to do at least one of the following tasks:
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