Repression as a Defense Mechanism
By: Saliou Seye
Over the course of this paper, I will be using the conflict between Prospero and other main characters in The Tempest by William Shakespeare to help develop and expand the major concept and idea discussed in The Denial of Death by Ernest Becker. The major concept in this story is the idea of using repression as a defense mechanism. Prospero uses repression as a defense mechanism when trying to regain his political power.
Sigmund Freud was an Austrian neurologist who explored the human mind more thoroughly than any other before him. His contributions to psychology are immense and he is commonly known as the founding father of psychoanalysis. Freud was one of the most influential people of the twentieth century and his enduring legacy has influenced not only psychology, but also art and literature.
In Freudian psychoanalytic theory, defense mechanisms are psychological strategies brought up by the unconscious mind to manipulate and deny reality in order to defend one’s self against feelings of anxiety. According to dictionary.com, repression or the act of repression in other words, is the “the rejection from consciousness of painful or disagreeable ideas, memories, feelings, or impulses.” These processes that manipulates and denies reality may include repression, or the disguising of an excruciating feeling or thought from one’s awareness even though that feeling may reappear in some form.
During the early 1900s Freud developed a topographical model of the mind. In this model the conscious mind (everything we are aware of) is seen as the tip of the iceberg. You can verbalize about your conscious experience and you can think about it in a logical way. With the unconscious mind though it is difficult to retrieve information and is well below the surface of awareness. The feelings and ideas that happen in this stage are tied to anxiety, conflict and pain. These feelings and thoughts have not disappeared and...