Dr. Billy Budd, And Captain Vere And Their Psychological State

1297 Words Oct 18th, 2016 6 Pages
The human psyche has long been a mystery to scholars and philosophers alike. Long working to analyze the cognitive process, scholars strive to make sense of human actions. Psychoanalytic theory, popularized by Sigmund Freud through his works, The Uncanny and Beyond the Pleasure Principle, focuses on gaining deeper understanding of human behavior on the psychological level. In terms of literary criticism, psychoanalysis provides a way to analyze where a character’s actions stem from and thus allowing readers to gain a profounder understanding of their psychological state. Applying Freud’s psychoanalytic to an analysis of Herman Melville’s novella, Billy Budd, will shed light on certain aspects of the story. In particular, looking closely at the three main characters in the novella, John Claggart, Billy Budd, and Captain Vere and their psychological state in the novel provides an interesting glimpse into the minds of these three complicated characters. Using Freud’s analysis of the psyche and terminology, it will further elucidate the inner workings of the greater society aboard the ship and how this affects these characters individually. Ultimately, I argue that Claggart represents Freud’s id, Billy represents the ego, and Vere represents the superego. With this in mind, the deep psychoanalytic analysis of these characters will make the reasoning behind their actions and the events of the story clear.

The first step in understanding the psychological aspects of Claggart,…

Related Documents