Theme Of Psychology In The Scarlet Letter

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"No man for any considerable period can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true."(Hawthorne, 211) The Scarlet Letter, based in the 1600s, is said to be “America’s first physiological novel” because it represents the true facets of sin and guilt of Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale.(PBS) The main subject, Mr. Dimmesdale, holds the principal conflict in the novel and is the true meaning of “human frailty and sorrow”.(Haw., 46) Author Nathaniel Hawthorne incorporates many psychological aspects relating to the bewildering character of Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale and the repression of sin he holds throughout the novel. The basic underlying psychology is related to “Freud’s psychological apparatus” and how these aspects undermine what Reverend Dimmesdale is truly thinking in the Scarlet Letter. Sigmund Freud, a famous psychologist, whose philosophy of psychology is an abundant contribution to the Scarlet Letter and literature, says the mental processes of Dimmesdale can be assigned to three psychic zones: the id, the ego, and the superego. The id is where the personality component made up of unconscious psychic energy that works to satisfy basic urges, needs, and desires of a character and demands the immediate gratification of needs. When unable to satisfy needs, the id relies on the primary process to relieve the tension by creating a mental image through hallucinating, fantasizing, or daydreaming.
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