Sigmund Freud The Uncanny Analysis

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How does Sigmund Freud’s concept of ‘The Uncanny’ assist us in appreciating the psychological neuroses explored in Jekyll and Hyde? The concept of ‘The Uncanny’, as explored by Sigmund Freud, is a theory that can often be found in works of literature intended to scare and unsettle the reader. For instance, the notion of ‘The Uncanny’ is commonplace in 19th century gothic literature due to the ability it has to create a feeling of unease, particularly among the repressive society at the time. ‘The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’ written by Robert Louis Stevenson during that era, makes use of the idea of repression and plays on fears of the repressed being revealed. Throughout his essay ‘The Uncanny’, Freud refers to the german word ‘heimlich’ which means secretive and concealed. He states this as being a condition of the uncanny, that ‘the uncanny is the return of the mark of the repressed’. In this way, gothic stories attempt to highlight truths about ourselves that often stay hidden, such as our dual…show more content…
This idea can manifest itself in mirrors, repetition, interchangeability of one’s self, etc; all of which appear in Jekyll and Hyde. For example, at one point in the story Jekyll describes looking into a mirror as Hyde - ‘I looked upon that ugly idol in the glass. I was conscious of no repugnance, rather of a leap of welcome.’ This shows the duality of Jekyll’s character by highlighting his yearning to embrace the sense of freedom he experiences as Hyde. It shows that Jekyll and Hyde are not separate, but one entity divided into two doubles. This is uncanny to the reader, because it presents the taboo idea of embracing the evil within oneself. Another reason this duality is uncanny is because of the uncontrollable aspect of the situation. After a while of repeatedly changing between Jekyll and Hyde, Jekyll starts to feel Hyde taking
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