Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


The purpose of this paper is to examine the portrayal of the demoniacs in specific pre-Freudian English novels, in order to prove that the "demon" by which each of these personalities is controlled is his id, as Freud conceived of it within his theory of personality structure. The specific demoniacs used in this investigation are Richard Lovelace of Samuel Richardson’s Clarissa (1747-48); Edward Rochester of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre (1847); Heathcliff and Catherine (Earnshaw) Linton of Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights (1847); and James Steerforth, Rosa Dartle, and Uriah Heep of Charles Dickens' David Copperfield (1849-50). In Chapter I, the nature of Freud’s conception of id and the nature of the demoniac are described and compared. The description end subsequent definition of demoniac are supported by Paul Tillich’s discussion of demonic in The Courage To Be. For Further clarification, Freud's conception of the personality structure and the principles of behavior on which this structure is based are described briefly. In Chapter II of this paper, Lovelace is described as a demoniac, whose behavior is motivated by his desire for revenge and whose methods for satisfying this desire are sadistic. Lovelace's death instinct is revealed through its derivatives, the instinct to aggression and the instinct for mastery, which are harbored by the id. Lovelace’s selfish pride (self-love) drives him inevitably toward the negation of his own being as a result of an over-indulgent upbringing. Moreover, once denied something, Lovelace's pride drives him toward nonbeing in order to prove being. The third chapter reveals that Rochester's "demon" is an id-corrupted super-ego. This super-ego becomes perverted into a sadistic agency bent upon punishing the ego through a “sense of guilt." Remorse is a self-punishment that satisfies the id's destructive instinct. Moreover, the super-ego internalizes itself, Rochester's remorse becomes internalized permanently end inescapably. Chapter IV shows that Heathcliff employs the id-dominated personality's methods of aggression, revenge primarily. Catherine, on the other hand, regresses to the instinctual passions of the id in hysteria. In Chapter V, the demoniacs, Steerforth, Rosa Dartle, and Heep, are discussed as id-dominated personalities. Steerforth, first, is shown as being compelled to gratify his every impulse by his nurtured id. He is driven by the passion of the moment, without thought of consequences other than his own immediate gratification. Second, Rosa Dartle has been denied all her desires, which center in Steerforth. Feeling that she has been robbed of what Steerforth could have been by what his mother’s indulgence made him, Rosa Dartle craves revenge (aggression in the id) against Steerforth's mother. This revenge becomes the motivating force of Rosa’s life. Last, Uriah Heap’s id has been bred from the beginning in hatred of being "umble" and of seeing himself beneath those who were not born "umble." Consequently, he seeks to destroy those above him in order to elevate himself and save his pride. Heap, thus is controlled by his id. There are three primary conclusions drawn in Chapter VI of this paper. First, Chapter VI concludes that the demoniac's pattern of behavior, like the nature of the id, is unchangingly irrational, selfish, impulsive, and dynamic. The inference made from this conclusion is that the demonic personality controlled by the id will reflect the nature of the id. A second conclusion drawn in Chapter VI is that the demoniac's conscious modes of expression are corrupted by the id or used for the purposes of gaining satisfaction for the impulses of the id. Third, this chapter concludes that the instincts, which control the demoniac, are those of aggression and destruction, which are derivative. Of the meet primal instinct in the id: the Death Instinct.


Verna Parish

Date of Award

Fall 1970

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


© 1970 Delores M. Lewis


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