The Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud
VI. THE DREAM-WORK
ALL other previous attempts to solve the
problems of dreams have concerned themselves directly with the manifest
dream-content as it is retained in the memory. They have sought to
obtain an interpretation of the dream from this content, or, if they
dispensed with an interpretation, to base their conclusions concerning
the dream on the evidence provided by this content. We, however, are
confronted by a different set of data; for us a new psychic material
interposes itself between the dream-content and the results of our
investigations: the latent dream-content, or dream-thoughts, which are
obtained only by our method. We develop the solution of the dream from
this latent content, and not from the manifest dream-content. We are
thus confronted with a new problem, an entirely novel task- that of
examining and tracing the relations between the latent dream-thoughts
and the manifest dream-content, and the processes by which the latter
has grown out of the former.
The dream-thoughts and the dream-content
present themselves as two descriptions of the same content in two
different languages; or, to put it more clearly, the dream-content
appears to us as a translation of the dream-thoughts into another mode
of expression, whose symbols and laws of composition we must learn by
comparing the origin with the translation. The dream-thoughts we can
understand without further trouble the moment we have ascertained them.
The dream-content is, as it were, presented in hieroglyphics, whose
symbols must be translated, one by one, into the language of the
dream-thoughts. It would of course, be incorrect to attempt to read
these symbols in accordance with their values as pictures, instead of in
accordance with their meaning as symbols. For instance, I have before me
a picture- puzzle (rebus)- a house, upon whose roof there is a boat;
then a single letter; then a running figure, whose head has been
omitted, and so on. As a critic I might be tempted to judge this
composition and its elements to be nonsensical. A boat is out of place
on the roof of a house, and a headless man cannot run; the man, too, is
larger than the house, and if the whole thing is meant to represent a
landscape the single letters have no right in it, since they do not
occur in nature. A correct judgment of the picture-puzzle is possible
only if I make no such objections to the whole and its parts, and if, on
the contrary, I take the trouble to replace each image by a syllable or
word which it may represent by virtue of some allusion or relation. The
words thus put together are no longer meaningless, but might constitute
the most beautiful and pregnant aphorism. Now a dream is such a
picture-puzzle, and our predecessors in the art of dream- interpretation
have made the mistake of judging the rebus as an artistic composition.
As such, of course, it appears nonsensical and worthless.
II. "A Beautiful Dream"
B. The Work of Displacement
C. The Means of Representation in Dreams
D. Regard for Representability
E. Representation in Dreams by Symbols: Some
Further Typical Dreams
The hat as the symbol of a man (of the male
The little one as the genital organ. Being run
over as a symbol of sexual intercourse.
Representation of the genitals by buildings,
stairs, and shafts.
The male organ symbolized by persons and the
female by a landscape.
Castration dreams of children.
A modified staircase dream.
The sensation of reality and the
representation of repetition.
The question of symbolism in the dreams of
Dream of a chemist.
Examples- Arithmetic and Speech in Dreams
Absurd Dreams- Intellectual Performances in
The Affects in Dreams
The Secondary Elaboration