Fergus Caulfield's "Unleashing the beast". A psychoanalysis

Term Paper 2017 9 Pages

English Language and Literature Studies - Literature



1. Introduction

2. Literature Review
2.1 Personality structure
2.2 Defence Mechanisms
2.3 Rationalization
2.4 Reaction Formation

3. Research Questions

4. Analysis


The paper explains the reasons behind the aggressive and revengeful action of the Unleashing the Beast’s protagonist. The protagonist, who once appears as a peaceful person waiting for another to sale his bike suddenly changes into a killer. I assume that every motivation to act violently comes from unconscious and is activated by the external event (injury, injustice). In order to prove this assumption, I take evidence from Freud’s theory of ego, superego and id that is source of aggression and death instinct. Unconscious aggression is unleashed in the story as revengeful hatred long after the injury was done.

Key words:Unleashing the Beast revenge, aggression, violence, Freud, Id, Ego, Superego

1. Introduction

People who have been hurt or betrayed seem to believe without any doubt that if the other party suffers, then they will feel better--their emotional pain will lessen. This sense of revenge comes from the inside of human unconscious in the form of aggression where its gratification becomes the only source of pleasure for the prickling soul.

Webster's online dictionary defines revenge as ‘’to avenge (as oneself) usually by retaliating in kind or degree or to inflict injury in return for something, such as to revenge an insult’’. This instinct is hardwired in human personality. Dan Ariely studies revenge experiments in which the brains of participants were scanned by positron emission tomography (PET) while they were contemplating about taking revenge. The results showed increased activity in the reward centre of the brain. The greater the activation, the more the participants punished the offenders. Ariely suggests that this punishing betrayal or perceived betrayal has a biological basis and feels pleasurable. At least the decision to get revenge does. Through this paper I tried to explain how injustice or injury experienced at one point in time can remain with a person long after the injury and can constitute the driving force for later act of vengeance by the protagonist of Unleashing the Beast.

Unleashing the Beast is a short crime story by Fergus Caulfield - currently living in Essex, UK, but originally from Ireland. Fergus has had short stories and articles published in Ireland's Own and in an anthology by First Bus.

2. Literature Review

The literary text can be interpreted in the light of Psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysis is a theory founded by Sigmund Freud, an Austrian neurologist. is the of personality organization and the dynamics of personality development that guides

2.1 Personality structure

Freud divided human personality into three structural components translated as id, superego and ego of which id represents the basic inborn drives such as sex, hunger and aggressive human impulses (Batman 35). Aggression is one of these basic biological drives of human beings. Id demands the gratification of such impulses and works on pleasure principle. It is the inborn and unconscious faculty of human psyche.

The ego and superego work on reality principle by regulating the conscience of human being and tell them the logical and reasonable rules of human life (Rivkin 391).

2.2 Defence Mechanisms

Defence mechanisms are psychological schemes that are unconsciously used to keep a person from anxiety arising from objectionable thoughts or feelings. There are multiple types of defence mechanisms. Two of them are rationalization and reaction formation that fit to the short story ‘’Unleashing the Beast’’.



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Title: Fergus Caulfield's "Unleashing the beast". A psychoanalysis