Essay Example on Is Aggression at the Heart of Human Nature Sigmund Freud

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Woolf Freud Prompt Is Aggression at the Heart of Human Nature Sigmund Freud claims that we naturally have within us a repository of aggression Men are not gentle creatures who want to be loved who at the most can defend themselves if they are attacked they are on the contrary creatures among whose instinctual endowments is to be reckoned a powerful share of aggressiveness Freud 58 The hypothesis additionally theorizes that releasing aggression should make us less violent in nature an effect called catharsis In other words hostility must be intermittently depleted for fear that we detonate into viciousness To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf seems to refute this Freudian claim As a modernist Woolf divorced traditional storytelling where the plotline is the focal point Instead Woolf concentrates on the psychological evolution of her characters This style of writing allows her readers to observe the psyche of each character As readers we can mimic the work of a psychoanalyst and deduce whether or not Woolf follows Freud's theory of aggression Woolf gives portrayals of occasions in consciousness and bits of knowledge into its tendency 



This leads us to the inquiry what is at the core of human nature Is it our predetermination to have impulses for self safeguarding and animosity or on the most fundamental level would we say we are unselfish in nature There is a constant battle in which each of the characters in To The Lighthouse endure to alleviate the pandemonium of daily life The characters are essentially attempting to outmaneuver violence and aggression For instance the opening scene highlights the complexity of familial relationships and how the human mind seeks cordiality even in the presence of utmost aggression In this scene Woolf portrays James the youngest Ramsay as getting stuck in a double bind whereby he wants to hurt his father who at the same time he desires to emulate Mr Ramsay enters with the unwanted news that it won't be fine 8 Woolf to venture to the lighthouse an inevitability for which he bears no moral obligation James in any case attributes a malevolent aspiration to his dad and wishes that he had within reach the means to hurt him Had there been an axe handy or a poker any weapon that would have gashed a hole in his father s breast and killed him there and then James would have seized it Woolf 8 The nature of James s demeanor uncovers no doubt the conciliatory ramifications of the brutal considerations that he has towards his dad James was prevented from going to the lighthouse something that he longed to do 



Freud claims that when individuals are obstructed from achieving a goal they become frustrated and aggressive Yet during this entire interaction one can infer that James is holding a pair of scissors since the narrator states that James was sitting on the floor cutting out pictures from the illustrated catalogue of the Army and Navy stores Woolf 7 James does in fact have a sharp tool in close proximity but his conscience decides to not acknowledge this Therefore the opening scene of To The Lighthouse does not bear resemblance with the claim It is clearly not easy for man to give up the satisfaction of this inclination to aggression They do not feel comfortable without it Freud 61 Although James has a burst of violent thoughts he is able to remain calm and collected Perhaps Woolf is suggesting that given our capacity for reflection humans do not share the innate uncontrollable aggression that dominates the animal kingdom We have the ability to stop violence in its tracks Aggression is an action it is intended to harm someone It can be a verbal attack threats insults or a physical punishment Aggression can be defined as a consequence of frustration James was merely frustrated with his father In conclusion when we analyze mankind's history we find a disturbing magnitude of forceful conduct We can t get away from the heritage of our transformative progenitors our history is ruled by stories of war and mercilessness To The Lighthouse even takes place in the time period of World War I This may seem to confirm Freud s claim on aggression The existence of this inclination to aggression is the factor which disturbs our relations with our neighbor and which forces civilization into such a high expenditure In consequence of this primary mutual hostility of human beings civilized society is perpetually threatened with disintegration Freud 60 Nevertheless we do not find reason to believe the problem is innate So vital is the role of the environment that talking of a natural propensity to be forceful makes little sense for human beings It is as if we were to attest that because there can be no flames without oxygen and since the Earth is covered by oxygen it is inevitable for houses to burn to the ground Woolf demonstrates that aggression is not a dominating force inside of her characters heads Even if a violent thought is ignited by stimuli such as the entrance of James father we have the capacity to not act upon these aggressive thoughts Works Cited Freud Sigmund and Christopher Hitchens Civilization and Its Discontents W W Norton 2010 Woolf Virginia and Mark Hussey To the Lighthouse Harcourt 2005


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