The Sandman

1102 Words5 Pages
E.T.A. Hoffmann's "The Sandman" illuminates Freud's theory of the Uncanny. Freud’s understanding of Nathaniel in E.T.A. Hoffmann’s “The Sandman” is that the Nathaniel’s “madman” like actions are the result of the return of his suppressed juvenile material. Nathaniel is the protagonist and is convinced that a frightful destiny awaits him. His fear focuses on a threatening old man whom he has understood since infantile to be the “Sandman”, a monster who takes away the eyes of children who are awake at night. He connects the “sandman” with Coppelius, a colleague of his father and he incriminates Coppelius in his father's death. As an adult, Nathaniel madness is triggered after having a visitor from what he believes to be the “sandman” whom…show more content…
In the Uncanny Freud states “everything that ought to have remained hidden and secret, and yet comes to light,” (7) Whenever something reminds Nathaniel of the sandman it triggers him to turn into a “madman” and he gets lost in his own world. There are different causes that trigger one to go mad. Freud believes that one of the main sources of “uncanny” has to do with the idea of one being robbed of their eyes. “ Oedipus that mythical-lawbreaker was simply carrying out a mitigated for of punishment of castration.” Freud believes Nathaniel was afraid of castration not just loosing his eyes since many cherish both. Oedipus links with Nathanael, both were afraid of loosing a part of them that they both treasure. Nathanael also treasures his mother. Nathaniel seems to only see his mother as “good”, she is the one who protects them and the one that does not want the sandman in the house. “my mother, kissing and cuddling her darling boy who was thus restored to life.” (91) Nathanael has an attachment to his mother. Nathaniel appears to not like his father and see him as the “bad” parent. “I was comforted by the realization that his alliance with the devilish Coppelius could not have plunged him into eternal perdition.” (92) It could be because the father continues to allow the sandman in their

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