The first psychoanalytic perspective in this essay is the Freudian perspective psyche model. According to this model of the psyche, there are three provinces of the mind. The id is the first and also instinctive section, which involves sexual, aggressive, and private memories and memories (Quindeau, 2018). It has the superego that is responsible for the human moral conscience. The ego is the last province and it is the mind’s realistic part, which acts as a mediation on the desires of the superego and id (Quindeau, 2018). In the psyche of Josef Breuer, the id was the component of the mind seeking pleasure selfishly. One of the instances that depict this perspective is the Breuer’s obsession with his delusional patient named Bertha Pappenheim. Breuer claims that he had a strong feeling of love towards Bertha and goes on to explain how he had a strong sexual attraction to her. However, Nietzsche assists him in realizing that he had made Bertha his gateway towards a new beginning in an unconscious manner. She was driving him away from his family roles. According to Nietzsche, the love of Breuer is one of the reasons for his dull life and gave him a helpful sexual obsession that enabled him to cope with his unavoidable aging.
Additionally, Breuer’s id had lost its contact with the reality of his family and successful life. Besides, it kept seeking an escape, rebellion, and sexual immorality. He developed primitive urges that surfaced his ego and led to a disconnect between his career, wife, and family. On the other hand, his superego sought that he should live according to a life of high moral standards. Similar to the id, the superego happens to be unrealistic with its demands. In Breuer’s case, the superego ignores the urges of the if and comes up with its ideals. His superego demanded that he live with his Mathilde, his wife, fidelity, and love, despite the challenges that their family is going through. In the whole novel, his superego is depicted in two ways; the ego-ideal and the conscious.
Notably, conscious made Breuer stick to his morals and stay with his family rather than seeking a new life and Bertha’s love. Besides, the ego-ideal instructed him to uphold morals and urged him to be considerate and loving to his wife. Despite him being in so many conflicts with his id and superego, his ego processed and made all things evident. Breuer’s ego was always in contact with reality. It is the brain’s province where all conflicting issues between his ego and superego took place. It maintained both lovely affairs with Bertha and the unhappy life with his family, and due to coordinating all these acts, his ego became so anxious.
The second psychoanalytic perspective is the Jungian perspective. It’s a psychoanalysis approach developed by Carl Gustav Jung to access, integrate, and experience unconscious things into awareness (Waddell, 2018). It’s a method of looking for the meaning of events, behaviors, and events. Firstly, Breuer’s thinking was similar to that of an introvert. Despite him reacting to stimuli, he gave more significance to his perception than facts in getting the meanings of the stimuli. For example, he says that he lived a colorless and mundane life, but in the real sense, he had an impressive career and a luxurious life and a friendly family. He didn’t see the impact of these aspects as part of a good life, and his negative perception towards life led to a middle life crisis. Secondly, he was an introverted, feeling individual. He depended much on the subjective perception when evaluating his ideas than on his objective facts. This is evident in how he handles his love with Bertha by saying that she was influential during his old age.
Additionally, Breuer had a sense of an introvert. His subjective perceptions influenced his senses of sound and sight rather than the reality of the stimuli of sense. Fourthly, Breuer was intuitively introvert. People like him usually have unconscious motives that are not robust to influence decisions with significant effects. This was seen when he sought to run away from his family and roles to settle with Bertha without thinking of the consequences that could befall him.
The third one is the horneyian perspective. Horney argues that the aspect of moving towards individuals is among the three perspectives that build on people when dealing with their anxiety (Waddell, 2018). Since his childhood, Breuer began developing anxiety. For example, his mother’s death led him to go through some detrimental effects. The feelings of grief made him develop underlying anxiety. A significant feature that neurotic people have is helplessness. Breuer felt helpless as a kid when his mother died. However, he could not do anything about it. Breuer had an unconscious, helpless feeling against the wishes of his father and the plans he had for him and developed an obligation of fulfilling them other than making them personal. He was also feeling helpless before his inner conflicts, full life, obsessions, and responsibilities. His forward actions towards neurotic trends helped him protect and combat anxiety as well as helplessness.
These three psychoanalytic perspectives are evident in the book, “When Nietzsche Wept,” which helps the readers understand the motives of the people in the play. These characters also help us to understand how the mind of a human being’s work. The character of Breuer helps us to know how a person’s mind deals with the challenges of family and life.
Quindeau, I. (2018). Seduction and desire: The psychoanalytic theory of sexuality since Freud. Routledge.
Waddell, M. (2018). Inside lives: Psychoanalysis and the growth of the personality. Routledge.