Understanding Freud's Drive Theory: Eros And Thanatos

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Background Knowledge In order to fully understand Freud's drive theory and therefore Eros and Thanatos, one has to be familiar with the basis of Freud's work. This paper will heavily deal with his drive theory, therefore the term drive itself must be defined so as to be able to comprehend it. Michelle Demir describes drives as “an organism's automatic response to the biological 'needs' basic to life.”1 Indeed, this is the most fitting and most commonly used definition, especially in regards to Thanatos and Eros. The most important aspect of Freud's theories is the notion, that everything we do as human beings stems from the unconscious and our impulses that drive us to act.2 Another theory, deeply related to the unconscious and our impulses,…show more content…
Freud's belief is that, creativity and sexuality are deeply linked and he goes as far as saying that the goal of creativity is sexual gratification.8 However, Freud has a different definition of sexuality than the one that is most commonly used. The English Oxford Dictionary, for example, describes sexuality as “the capacity for sexual feelings”, “a person's sexual orientation or preference” and “sexual activity”.9 Freud follows the notion of the ancient Greek philosopher Plato, for whom Eros and sexuality had two different sides. One of these sides is generally linked to the word sexuality: lustful attraction. The other side, however, displays a more innocent variation: love that has nothing to do with physical attraction but operates on a more internal level.10 This is often also called “platonic…show more content…
Many compare Freud's symbolism in dreams to the symbolism in texts27 and one could argue that many aspects of literature are indeed a representation of the author's unconscious, for according to Freud, authors are not always fully conscious of what they write.28 Nonetheless, the psychoanalytical approach in literature is not only inspired by Freud, but began with him. Freud used his own theories to analyze works of art in The Relation to a Poet in Daydreaming and The Uncanny.29 One is able to approach literature in many ways with the help of psychoanalysis. Ross C. Murfin describes the function of psychoanalytic criticism in his essay “Psychoanalytic Criticism and Jane Eyre” as followed: Psychological criticism [ . . . ] typically attempts to do at least one of the following: provide a psychological study of an individual writer; explore the nature of the creative process; generalize about 'types and laws present within works of literature'; or theorize about the psychological 'effects of literature upon its

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