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Collapse Of The Conscience Essay

1417 words - 6 pages

In normal society, people expect adults to know what is right and wrong, but the can trick the mind. According to Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic principles, one’s conscious is the ego that “experiences the external world through the sense, plays referee between the id and superego” (Tyson 25). The id pertains to one’s deep desires that society forbids and the idea of lacking fear of consequences, whereas the superego is the moral rules taught by society and family. In Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis’s short story, “The Fortune-Teller”, Camillo is the ego that is conflicted between his id and ego when he encounters himself in an immoral act that includes his best friend, Villela, and Villa’s wife, Rita. Through Camillo’s struggle with his id and superego, Machado emphasizes that one must make logical decisions or else there will be consequences.
When Camillo left the adolescent stage, he also left behind “his superstitions and his religious [which had both been inculcated by his mother]... “ he was content simply to deny everything” (Machado 128). What he discarded was the belief of the inconceivable and gained the knowledge to deny what he can identity as false. Camillo seemed to live in neutrality until he slowly brings himself to demise as he allows himself to live with his ego being manipulated by the id. The ego should have a harmonized id and superego but Camillo fails to maintain the balance. Villela and Rita had an immense emotional impact on Camillo’s ego when it was weaken from when “Camillo’s mother died, and in this catastrophe, for such it was, the other two showed themselves to be genuine friends of his” (Machado 129). The proximity of their friendship was good for comforting Camillo’s ego but his state of mental instability would take the friendship to the ground. When his enticement with Rita begins to take place, one can notice how weak Camillo’s ego is. The ego is supposed to be able to suppress the id and superego, but the Camillo’s ego could not uphold the overpowering id. Despite efforts to hide his id appropriately, his mentality is too unstable to recognize his wrongdoing. Because his ego is deeply weakened, he is left with an irrational state of mind that will consequently cause more trouble.
As Camillo’s id dominates, it allows him to act upon desires and instincts while ignoring consequences. Camillo exemplified the rebellion the id was creating against societal norms when he involved himself in an adulterous scandal with Rita. Unfortunately, Camillo is unaware of the extent of how immoral his actions are because of the emotions from Rita’s friendliness and motherly care. This maternal influence tricks Camillo’s ego to desire her because he wishes to substitute her in place of his missing motherly figure. Having a woman close to Camillo is troublesome because “Camillo has had a life-long dependency on women to give him a sense of direction” (Daniel). The id takes advantage of what Rita represents to Camillo...

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