The ID, Ego and Superego of The Wizard of Oz
According to Freud the ID, ego and Super Ego are division of psyche that described the divisions in human conscious and unconscious. The ID is the source of all human drives and Freud considered it the reservoir of libido. The libido is basically sexual energy that Freud equated with instinct and often results in aggressiveness. The drives of ID are inborn and are determined through the pleasure principal
Freud believes that it’s the Ego that mediates between the ID, super ego and external world. Its main aim is to create a balance between human primitive or natural needs; however it is also concerned with an individual safety. In order to achieve this Ego has defense mechanisms that are used when ID conflicts with society. While the super Ego is the symbolic internalization of cultural regulations. It formation takes place during the dissolution of Oedipus complex.
The story of Dorothy’s journey to Oz is about Dorothy’s learning lessons and her new friends’ search of something they (thought) didn’t have. In her journey from Munchkin land to Kansas, Dorothy befriended with The Scarecrow, The Tin Man and The Cowardly Lion. All of her new friends thought that in order to solve their problems, they had to find something that missing in them. Brainless Scarecrow, heartless Tin Man, and the Lion who complained didn’t have any courage, decided to accompany Dorothy on her journey, hoping they will find what they thought to be the resolve of their problems. What they didn’t know–as told by the Wizard of Oz—each of them were in search of something they already have; but what they didn’t have was faith of good qualities, which they possessed inside them- all along, but they did not realize.
Being published in 1900, the book; The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, written by L. Frank Baum, had been interpreted as a political allegory by many experts. Scarecrow represented the American Midwestern farmers in those days. Baum’s creation of this particular character is to refute a general understanding that farmers were only traditional workers who don’t have brains. Influenced by such notion, Scarecrow doubt grows about his own intelligence. Along the journey with Dorothy, Tin Man, Lion and Toto, Scarecrow eventually proves that he was the most intelligent in their group. with the highest level of consciousness.
“Brain” that Scarecrow longed to have is actually a symbol of Freud’s Superego. Yet it doesn’t mean how much clever one is, The Superego on the hand provides moral judgments, and the absorption of the external rules. Scarecrow’s doubts his own virtue due to the people’s generalization of farmers (farmers have no brain). Scarecrow had a high ability of absorbing the ‘world’s standard’ as it causes doubts to his intelligent. This ability is what Superego “do”. Superego is part of the whole personality, grown by the external world. The external worlds stand for morality, rules, and regulations, which prohibits people from things they wish to do.
Superego is equal with consciousness, as Scarecrow grows a belief that he doesn’t have a brain; he consciously develops community’s standard of understanding of what farmers are like.
Tin Man’s longing for heart resemble a heartless machine. He is ‘made of tin’ which is interpreted as industrial workers who worked hard in long hours, but lowly paid. The industrial workers image in Tin Man pictured as heartless people who spend their time working with objects without involving feelings. Being made from tin and heartless, the Tin Man lacked emotions. He didn’t show a suitable reaction when The Lion struck at him with his sharp claws; he just lay still without any passion.
By the time the group arrived at the Emerald City, they must wear special spectacles in order to avoid the city’s brilliance from making them blind. Once they wear special spectacles, every one of them can see the Wizard of Oz in a different way. The Tin Man sees The Wizard of Oz as a ravenous beast that triggers Tin Man’s sense of fright. Such sense of fright controls a person in his/her actions inside the society. Whether someone should fight, or defend or run from such frightening stimulus. It was in fact act the portrayal of Ego that acts as a ‘judge in all human actions’. It is the Ego that makes decisions in an individual life to fulfill his wishes and dreams.
The Cowardly Lion says that if he roar loudly, every living thing would be frightened. Whenever he finally meets a man, Lion is awfully scared; and he runs away despite roaring. This cowardly roaring suggests that the lion has no control over his life, and despite being big, bulky and lion was in search of bravery. What he needs is to find a way to control his roar because such roaring meant that he is wanted; yet despite being wanted, he could not make a wise decision. The depiction of the lion portrays the individuals with uncontrolled desires and wishes standing from ID, which is the part of every human being. ID is the natural human drive that is not connected to the outer world; instead it focuses us on wish fulfillment or pleasure seeking. And it is for this reason that ID needs to be controlled via Ego that acts a balance what is essential and what is not essential in human life.
Dorothy is portrayed as an innocent girl who lacks knowledge and experience. However she didn’t realize that just by fulfilling needs; she would be only chasing her wishes and would not reach the peace which all-human needs. She kept on chasing the dog which basically stood for as chasing her wild dreams and wishes; which fulfillment she thought would make her happy, but it didn’t happen.
Even though Dorothy temporarily escapes the dusty life of Kansas and discovers the world of wizard of Oz, which is exciting and wonderful. This world has sharp contrast with her own world; which is not as enchanting as the magical world. In her own world she has socially powerful Individuals such as Mrs Gluch who wish to hold the Toto, her dog representing her wishes or desire being dampened by elders. Dorothy discovers that adult social order cannot help in fulfilling her deepest desire; but its only in the OZ world she can have all this fulfillment; and where she can learn the difference between right and wrong; again showing that children wish to learn through experimentations. And once they learn they apply the rules in their world. Dorothy despite her journey of Oz returns to the real world as she realizes that there is no escape from reality.
Sigmund Freud , (1962). The Ego and the Id.