Freud and guilt
in Literature and psychoanalysis
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In 'Some Characters Met With in Psychoanalytic Work', Sigmund Freud discusses some 'surprising traits of character' which he has detected in his patients. Freud's speculation on woman's childlessness evokes the third character, Rebecca West, the free-thinking woman in Ibsen's play Rosmersholm , partly complicit in the suicide of Beata, Johannes Rosmer's first wife. Freud writes a third section, 'Criminals from a Sense of Guilt', whose argument, while short, is fascinating: criminal deeds attempt to mitigate a sense of guilt. Freud continues to work with guilt in essays published in the 1920s. They include 'The Ego and the Id' and 'Inhibitions, Symptoms and Anxiety'. Freud introduces another distinction, in referring to a differentiation within the ego by which it narcissistically looks at itself. He had considered narcissism when discussing the artist and creativity, in 'Leonardo da Vinci and a Memory of His Childhood', and further in 'On Narcissism, an Introduction'.

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