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Title: Dream Psychology - Psychoanalysis for Beginners
Author: Freud, Sigmund, 1856-1939
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Author of "Psychoanalysis, its History, Theory and Practice."
"Psychoanalysis and Behavior" and "Psychoanalysis, Sleep and Dreams"





The medical profession is justly conservative. Human life should not be
considered as the proper material for wild experiments.

Conservatism, however, is too often a welcome excuse for lazy minds,
loath to adapt themselves to fast changing conditions.

Remember the scornful reception which first was accorded to Freud's
discoveries in the domain of the unconscious.

When after years of patient observations, he finally decided to appear
before medical bodies to tell them modestly of some facts which always
recurred in his dream and his patients' dreams, he was first laughed at
and then avoided as a crank.

The words "dream interpretation" were and still are indeed fraught with
unpleasant, unscientific associations. They remind one of all sorts of
childish, superstitious notions, which make up the thread and woof of
dream books, read by none but the ignorant and the primitive.

The wealth of detail, the infinite care never to let anything pass
unexplained, with which he presented to the public the result of his
investigations, are impressing more and more serious-minded scientists,
but the examination of his evidential data demands arduous work and
presupposes an absolutely open mind.

This is why we still encounter men, totally unfamiliar with Freud's
writings, men who were not even interested enough in the subject to
attempt an interpretation of their dreams or their patients' dreams,
deriding Freud's theories and combatting them with the help of
statements which he never made.

Some of them, like Professor Boris Sidis, reach at times conclusions
which are strangely similar to Freud's, but in their ignorance of
psychoanalytic literature, they fail to credit Freud for observations
antedating theirs.

Besides those who sneer at dream study, because they have never looked
into the subject, there are those who do not dare to face the facts
revealed by dream study. Dreams tell us many an unpleasant biological
truth about ourselves and only very free minds can thrive on such a
diet. Self-deception is a plant which withers fast in the pellucid
atmosphere of dream investigation.

The weakling and the neurotic attached to his neurosis are not anxious
to turn such a powerful searchlight upon the dark corners of their

Freud's theories are anything but theoretical.

He was moved by the fact that there always seemed to be a close
connection between his patients' dreams and their mental abnormalities,
to collect thousands of dreams and to compare them with the case
histories in his possession.

He did not start out with a preconceived bias, hoping to find evidence
which might support his views. He looked at facts a thousand times
"until they began to tell him something."

His attitude toward dream study was, in other words, that of a
statistician who does not know, and has no means of foreseeing, what
conclusions will be forced on him by the information he is gathering,
but who is fully prepared to accept those unavoidable conclusions.

This was indeed a novel way in psychology. Psychologists had always been
wont to build, in what Bleuler calls "autistic ways," that is through
methods in no wise supported by evidence, some attractive hypothesis,
which sprung from their brain, like Minerva from Jove's brain, fully

After which, they would stretch upon that unyielding frame the hide of a
reality which they had previously killed.

It is only to minds suffering from the same distortions, to minds also
autistically inclined, that those empty, artificial structures appear
acceptable molds for philosophic thinking.

The pragmatic view that "truth is what works" had not been as yet
expressed when Freud published his revolutionary views on the psychology
of dreams.

Five facts of first magnitude were made obvious to the world by his
interpretation of dreams.

First of all, Freud pointed out a constant connection between some part
of every dream and some detail of the dreamer's life during the previous
waking state. This positively establishes a relation between sleeping
states and waking states and disposes of the widely prevalent view that
dreams are purely nonsensical phenomena coming from nowhere and leading

Secondly, Freud, after studying the dreamer's life and modes of thought,
after noting down all his mannerisms and the apparently insignificant
details of his conduct which reveal his secret thoughts, came to the
conclusion that there was in every dream the attempted or successful
gratification of some wish, conscious or unconscious.

Thirdly, he proved that many of our dream visions are symbolical, which
causes us to consider them as absurd and unintelligible; the
universality of those symbols, however, makes them very transparent to
the trained observer.

Fourthly, Freud showed that sexual desires play an enormous part in our
unconscious, a part which puritanical hypocrisy has always tried to
minimize, if not to ignore entirely.

Finally, Freud established a direct connection between dreams and
insanity, between the symbolic visions of our sleep and the symbolic
actions of the mentally deranged.

There were, of course, many other observations which Freud made while
dissecting the dreams of his patients, but not all of them present as
much interest as the foregoing nor were they as revolutionary or likely
to wield as much influence on modern psychiatry.

Other explorers have struck the path blazed by Freud and leading into
man's unconscious. Jung of Zurich, Adler of Vienna and Kempf of
Washington, D.C., have made to the study of the unconscious,
contributions which have brought that study into fields which Freud
himself never dreamt of invading.

One fact which cannot be too emphatically stated, however, is that but
for Freud's wishfulfillment theory of dreams, neither Jung's "energic
theory," nor Adler's theory of "organ inferiority and compensation,"
nor Kempf's "dynamic mechanism" might have been formulated.

Freud is the father of modern abnormal psychology and he established the
psychoanalytical point of view. No one who is not well grounded in
Freudian lore can hope to achieve any work of value in the field of

On the other hand, let no one repeat the absurd assertion that Freudism
is a sort of religion bounded with dogmas and requiring an act of faith.
Freudism as such was merely a stage in the development of
psychoanalysis, a stage out of which all but a few bigoted camp
followers, totally lacking in originality, have evolved. Thousands of
stones have been added to the structure erected by the Viennese
physician and many more will be added in the course of time.

But the new additions to that structure would collapse like a house of
cards but for the original foundations which are as indestructible as
Harvey's statement as to the circulation of the blood.

Regardless of whatever additions or changes have been made to the
original structure, the analytic point of view remains unchanged.

That point of view is not only revolutionising all the methods of
diagnosis and treatment of mental derangements, but compelling the
intelligent, up-to-date physician to revise entirely his attitude to
almost every kind of disease.

The insane are no longer absurd and pitiable people, to be herded in
asylums till nature either cures them or relieves them, through death,
of their misery. The insane who have not been made so by actual injury
to their brain or nervous system, are the victims of unconscious forces
which cause them to do abnormally things which they might be helped to
do normally.

Insight into one's psychology is replacing victoriously sedatives and
rest cures.

Physicians dealing with "purely" physical cases have begun to take into
serious consideration the "mental" factors which have predisposed a
patient to certain ailments.

Freud's views have also made a revision of all ethical and social values
unavoidable and have thrown an unexpected flood of light upon literary
and artistic accomplishment.

But the Freudian point of view, or more broadly speaking, the
psychoanalytic point of view, shall ever remain a puzzle to those who,
from laziness or indifference, refuse to survey with the great Viennese
the field over which he carefully groped his way. We shall never be
convinced until we repeat under his guidance all his laboratory

We must follow him through the thickets of the unconscious, through the
land which had never been charted because academic philosophers,
following the line of least effort, had decided _a priori_ that it could
not be charted.

Ancient geographers, when exhausting their store of information about
distant lands, yielded to an unscientific craving for romance and,
without any evidence to support their day dreams, filled the blank
spaces left on their maps by unexplored tracts with amusing inserts such
as "Here there are lions."

Thanks to Freud's interpretation of dreams the "royal road" into the
unconscious is now open to all explorers. They shall not find lions,
they shall find man himself, and the record of all his life and of his
struggle with reality.

And it is only after seeing man as his unconscious, revealed by his
dreams, presents him to us that we shall understand him fully. For as
Freud said to Putnam: "We are what we are because we have been what we
have been."

Not a few serious-minded students, however, have been discouraged from
attempting a study of Freud's dream psychology.

The book in which he originally offered to the world his interpretation
of dreams was as circumstantial as a legal record to be pondered over by
scientists at their leisure, not to be assimilated in a few hours by
the average alert reader. In those days, Freud could not leave out any
detail likely to make his extremely novel thesis evidentially acceptable
to those willing to sift data.

Freud himself, however, realized the magnitude of the task which the
reading of his _magnum opus_ imposed upon those who have not been
prepared for it by long psychological and scientific training and he
abstracted from that gigantic work the parts which constitute the
essential of his discoveries.

The publishers of the present book deserve credit for presenting to the
reading public the gist of Freud's psychology in the master's own words,
and in a form which shall neither discourage beginners, nor appear too
elementary to those who are more advanced in psychoanalytic study.

Dream psychology is the key to Freud's works and to all modern
psychology. With a simple, compact manual such as _Dream Psychology_
there shall be no longer any excuse for ignorance of the most
revolutionary psychological system of modern times.

  121 Madison Avenue, New York.
    November, 1920.


CHAPTER                                                             PAGE

   I  DREAMS HAVE A MEANING                                            1

  II  THE DREAM MECHANISM                                             24

 III  WHY THE DREAM DISGUISES THE DESIRES                             57

  IV  DREAM ANALYSIS                                                  78

   V  SEX IN DREAMS                                                  104

  VI  THE WISH IN DREAMS                                             135

 VII  THE FUNCTION OF THE DREAM                                      164






In what we may term "prescientific days" people were in no uncertainty
about the interpretation of dreams. When they were recalled after
awakening they were regarded as either the friendly or hostile
manifestation of some higher powers, demoniacal and Divine. With the
rise of scientific thought the whole of this expressive mythology was
transferred to psychology; to-day there is but a small minority among
educated persons who doubt that the dream is the dreamer's own psychical

But since the downfall of the mythological hypothesis an interpretation
of the dream has been wanting. The conditions of its origin; its
relationship to our psychical life when we are awake; its independence
of disturbances which, during the state of sleep, seem to compel notice;
its many peculiarities repugnant to our waking thought; the incongruence
between its images and the feelings they engender; then the dream's
evanescence, the way in which, on awakening, our thoughts thrust it
aside as something bizarre, and our reminiscences mutilating or
rejecting it--all these and many other problems have for many hundred
years demanded answers which up till now could never have been
satisfactory. Before all there is the question as to the meaning of the
dream, a question which is in itself double-sided. There is, firstly,
the psychical significance of the dream, its position with regard to the
psychical processes, as to a possible biological function; secondly, has
the dream a meaning--can sense be made of each single dream as of other
mental syntheses?

Three tendencies can be observed in the estimation of dreams. Many
philosophers have given currency to one of these tendencies, one which
at the same time preserves something of the dream's former
over-valuation. The foundation of dream life is for them a peculiar
state of psychical activity, which they even celebrate as elevation to
some higher state. Schubert, for instance, claims: "The dream is the
liberation of the spirit from the pressure of external nature, a
detachment of the soul from the fetters of matter." Not all go so far as
this, but many maintain that dreams have their origin in real spiritual
excitations, and are the outward manifestations of spiritual powers
whose free movements have been hampered during the day ("Dream
Phantasies," Scherner, Volkelt). A large number of observers acknowledge
that dream life is capable of extraordinary achievements--at any rate,
in certain fields ("Memory").

In striking contradiction with this the majority of medical writers
hardly admit that the dream is a psychical phenomenon at all. According
to them dreams are provoked and initiated exclusively by stimuli
proceeding from the senses or the body, which either reach the sleeper
from without or are accidental disturbances of his internal organs. The
dream has no greater claim to meaning and importance than the sound
called forth by the ten fingers of a person quite unacquainted with
music running his fingers over the keys of an instrument. The dream is
to be regarded, says Binz, "as a physical process always useless,
frequently morbid." All the peculiarities of dream life are explicable
as the incoherent effort, due to some physiological stimulus, of certain
organs, or of the cortical elements of a brain otherwise asleep.

But slightly affected by scientific opinion and untroubled as to the
origin of dreams, the popular view holds firmly to the belief that
dreams really have got a meaning, in some way they do foretell the
future, whilst the meaning can be unravelled in some way or other from
its oft bizarre and enigmatical content. The reading of dreams consists
in replacing the events of the dream, so far as remembered, by other
events. This is done either scene by scene, _according to some rigid
key_, or the dream as a whole is replaced by something else of which it
was a _symbol_. Serious-minded persons laugh at these efforts--"Dreams
are but sea-foam!"

One day I discovered to my amazement that the popular view grounded in
superstition, and not the medical one, comes nearer to the truth about
dreams. I arrived at new conclusions about dreams by the use of a new
method of psychological investigation, one which had rendered me good
service in the investigation of phobias, obsessions, illusions, and the
like, and which, under the name "psycho-analysis," had found acceptance
by a whole school of investigators. The manifold analogies of dream life
with the most diverse conditions of psychical disease in the waking
state have been rightly insisted upon by a number of medical observers.
It seemed, therefore, _a priori_, hopeful to apply to the interpretation
of dreams methods of investigation which had been tested in
psychopathological processes. Obsessions and those peculiar sensations
of haunting dread remain as strange to normal consciousness as do
dreams to our waking consciousness; their origin is as unknown to
consciousness as is that of dreams. It was practical ends that impelled
us, in these diseases, to fathom their origin and formation. Experience
had shown us that a cure and a consequent mastery of the obsessing ideas
did result when once those thoughts, the connecting links between the
morbid ideas and the rest of the psychical content, were revealed which
were heretofore veiled from consciousness. The procedure I employed for
the interpretation of dreams thus arose from psychotherapy.

This procedure is readily described, although its practice demands
instruction and experience. Suppose the patient is suffering from
intense morbid dread. He is requested to direct his attention to the
idea in question, without, however, as he has so frequently done,
meditating upon it. Every impression about it, without any exception,
which occurs to him should be imparted to the doctor. The statement
which will be perhaps then made, that he cannot concentrate his
attention upon anything at all, is to be countered by assuring him most
positively that such a blank state of mind is utterly impossible. As a
matter of fact, a great number of impressions will soon occur, with
which others will associate themselves. These will be invariably
accompanied by the expression of the observer's opinion that they have
no meaning or are unimportant. It will be at once noticed that it is
this self-criticism which prevented the patient from imparting the
ideas, which had indeed already excluded them from consciousness. If the
patient can be induced to abandon this self-criticism and to pursue the
trains of thought which are yielded by concentrating the attention, most
significant matter will be obtained, matter which will be presently seen
to be clearly linked to the morbid idea in question. Its connection with
other ideas will be manifest, and later on will permit the replacement
of the morbid idea by a fresh one, which is perfectly adapted to
psychical continuity.

This is not the place to examine thoroughly the hypothesis upon which
this experiment rests, or the deductions which follow from its
invariable success. It must suffice to state that we obtain matter
enough for the resolution of every morbid idea if we especially direct
our attention to the _unbidden_ associations _which disturb our
thoughts_--those which are otherwise put aside by the critic as
worthless refuse. If the procedure is exercised on oneself, the best
plan of helping the experiment is to write down at once all one's first
indistinct fancies.

I will now point out where this method leads when I apply it to the
examination of dreams. Any dream could be made use of in this way. From
certain motives I, however, choose a dream of my own, which appears
confused and meaningless to my memory, and one which has the advantage
of brevity. Probably my dream of last night satisfies the requirements.
Its content, fixed immediately after awakening, runs as follows:

_"Company; at table or table d'hôte.... Spinach is served. Mrs. E.L.,
sitting next to me, gives me her undivided attention, and places her
hand familiarly upon my knee. In defence I remove her hand. Then she
says: 'But you have always had such beautiful eyes.'.... I then
distinctly see something like two eyes as a sketch or as the contour of
a spectacle lens...."_

This is the whole dream, or, at all events, all that I can remember. It
appears to me not only obscure and meaningless, but more especially odd.
Mrs. E.L. is a person with whom I am scarcely on visiting terms, nor to
my knowledge have I ever desired any more cordial relationship. I have
not seen her for a long time, and do not think there was any mention of
her recently. No emotion whatever accompanied the dream process.

Reflecting upon this dream does not make it a bit clearer to my mind. I
will now, however, present the ideas, without premeditation and without
criticism, which introspection yielded. I soon notice that it is an
advantage to break up the dream into its elements, and to search out the
ideas which link themselves to each fragment.

_Company; at table or table d'hôte._ The recollection of the slight
event with which the evening of yesterday ended is at once called up. I
left a small party in the company of a friend, who offered to drive me
home in his cab. "I prefer a taxi," he said; "that gives one such a
pleasant occupation; there is always something to look at." When we were
in the cab, and the cab-driver turned the disc so that the first sixty
hellers were visible, I continued the jest. "We have hardly got in and
we already owe sixty hellers. The taxi always reminds me of the table
d'hôte. It makes me avaricious and selfish by continuously reminding me
of my debt. It seems to me to mount up too quickly, and I am always
afraid that I shall be at a disadvantage, just as I cannot resist at
table d'hôte the comical fear that I am getting too little, that I must
look after myself." In far-fetched connection with this I quote:

  "To earth, this weary earth, ye bring us,
  To guilt ye let us heedless go."

Another idea about the table d'hôte. A few weeks ago I was very cross
with my dear wife at the dinner-table at a Tyrolese health resort,
because she was not sufficiently reserved with some neighbors with whom
I wished to have absolutely nothing to do. I begged her to occupy
herself rather with me than with the strangers. That is just as if I had
_been at a disadvantage at the table d'hôte_. The contrast between the
behavior of my wife at the table and that of Mrs. E.L. in the dream now
strikes me: _"Addresses herself entirely to me."_

Further, I now notice that the dream is the reproduction of a little
scene which transpired between my wife and myself when I was secretly
courting her. The caressing under cover of the tablecloth was an answer
to a wooer's passionate letter. In the dream, however, my wife is
replaced by the unfamiliar E.L.

Mrs. E.L. is the daughter of a man to whom I _owed money_! I cannot help
noticing that here there is revealed an unsuspected connection between
the dream content and my thoughts. If the chain of associations be
followed up which proceeds from one element of the dream one is soon led
back to another of its elements. The thoughts evoked by the dream stir
up associations which were not noticeable in the dream itself.

Is it not customary, when some one expects others to look after his
interests without any advantage to themselves, to ask the innocent
question satirically: "Do you think this will be done _for the sake of
your beautiful eyes_?" Hence Mrs. E.L.'s speech in the dream. "You have
always had such beautiful eyes," means nothing but "people always do
everything to you for love of you; you have had _everything for
nothing_." The contrary is, of course, the truth; I have always paid
dearly for whatever kindness others have shown me. Still, the fact that
_I had a ride for nothing_ yesterday when my friend drove me home in his
cab must have made an impression upon me.

In any case, the friend whose guests we were yesterday has often made me
his debtor. Recently I allowed an opportunity of requiting him to go by.
He has had only one present from me, an antique shawl, upon which eyes
are painted all round, a so-called Occhiale, as a _charm_ against the
_Malocchio_. Moreover, he is an _eye specialist_. That same evening I
had asked him after a patient whom I had sent to him for _glasses_.

As I remarked, nearly all parts of the dream have been brought into this
new connection. I still might ask why in the dream it was _spinach_
that was served up. Because spinach called up a little scene which
recently occurred at our table. A child, whose _beautiful eyes_ are
really deserving of praise, refused to eat spinach. As a child I was
just the same; for a long time I loathed _spinach_, until in later life
my tastes altered, and it became one of my favorite dishes. The mention
of this dish brings my own childhood and that of my child's near
together. "You should be glad that you have some spinach," his mother
had said to the little gourmet. "Some children would be very glad to get
spinach." Thus I am reminded of the parents' duties towards their
children. Goethe's words--

  "To earth, this weary earth, ye bring us,
  To guilt ye let us heedless go"--

take on another meaning in this connection.

Here I will stop in order that I may recapitulate the results of the
analysis of the dream. By following the associations which were linked
to the single elements of the dream torn from their context, I have been
led to a series of thoughts and reminiscences where I am bound to
recognize interesting expressions of my psychical life. The matter
yielded by an analysis of the dream stands in intimate relationship with
the dream content, but this relationship is so special that I should
never have been able to have inferred the new discoveries directly from
the dream itself. The dream was passionless, disconnected, and
unintelligible. During the time that I am unfolding the thoughts at the
back of the dream I feel intense and well-grounded emotions. The
thoughts themselves fit beautifully together into chains logically bound
together with certain central ideas which ever repeat themselves. Such
ideas not represented in the dream itself are in this instance the
antitheses _selfish, unselfish, to be indebted, to work for nothing_. I
could draw closer the threads of the web which analysis has disclosed,
and would then be able to show how they all run together into a single
knot; I am debarred from making this work public by considerations of a
private, not of a scientific, nature. After having cleared up many
things which I do not willingly acknowledge as mine, I should have much
to reveal which had better remain my secret. Why, then, do not I choose
another dream whose analysis would be more suitable for publication, so
that I could awaken a fairer conviction of the sense and cohesion of the
results disclosed by analysis? The answer is, because every dream which
I investigate leads to the same difficulties and places me under the
same need of discretion; nor should I forgo this difficulty any the
more were I to analyze the dream of some one else. That could only be
done when opportunity allowed all concealment to be dropped without
injury to those who trusted me.

The conclusion which is now forced upon me is that the dream is a _sort
of substitution_ for those emotional and intellectual trains of thought
which I attained after complete analysis. I do not yet know the process
by which the dream arose from those thoughts, but I perceive that it is
wrong to regard the dream as psychically unimportant, a purely physical
process which has arisen from the activity of isolated cortical elements
awakened out of sleep.

I must further remark that the dream is far shorter than the thoughts
which I hold it replaces; whilst analysis discovered that the dream was
provoked by an unimportant occurrence the evening before the dream.

Naturally, I would not draw such far-reaching conclusions if only one
analysis were known to me. Experience has shown me that when the
associations of any dream are honestly followed such a chain of thought
is revealed, the constituent parts of the dream reappear correctly and
sensibly linked together; the slight suspicion that this concatenation
was merely an accident of a single first observation must, therefore,
be absolutely relinquished. I regard it, therefore, as my right to
establish this new view by a proper nomenclature. I contrast the dream
which my memory evokes with the dream and other added matter revealed by
analysis: the former I call the dream's _manifest content_; the latter,
without at first further subdivision, its _latent content_. I arrive at
two new problems hitherto unformulated: (1) What is the psychical
process which has transformed the latent content of the dream into its
manifest content? (2) What is the motive or the motives which have made
such transformation exigent? The process by which the change from latent
to manifest content is executed I name the _dream-work_. In contrast
with this is the _work of analysis_, which produces the reverse
transformation. The other problems of the dream--the inquiry as to its
stimuli, as to the source of its materials, as to its possible purpose,
the function of dreaming, the forgetting of dreams--these I will discuss
in connection with the latent dream-content.

I shall take every care to avoid a confusion between the _manifest_ and
the _latent content_, for I ascribe all the contradictory as well as the
incorrect accounts of dream-life to the ignorance of this latent
content, now first laid bare through analysis.

The conversion of the latent dream thoughts into those manifest deserves
our close study as the first known example of the transformation of
psychical stuff from one mode of expression into another. From a mode of
expression which, moreover, is readily intelligible into another which
we can only penetrate by effort and with guidance, although this new
mode must be equally reckoned as an effort of our own psychical
activity. From the standpoint of the relationship of latent to manifest
dream-content, dreams can be divided into three classes. We can, in the
first place, distinguish those dreams which have a _meaning_ and are, at
the same time, _intelligible_, which allow us to penetrate into our
psychical life without further ado. Such dreams are numerous; they are
usually short, and, as a general rule, do not seem very noticeable,
because everything remarkable or exciting surprise is absent. Their
occurrence is, moreover, a strong argument against the doctrine which
derives the dream from the isolated activity of certain cortical
elements. All signs of a lowered or subdivided psychical activity are
wanting. Yet we never raise any objection to characterizing them as
dreams, nor do we confound them with the products of our waking life.

A second group is formed by those dreams which are indeed self-coherent
and have a distinct meaning, but appear strange because we are unable to
reconcile their meaning with our mental life. That is the case when we
dream, for instance, that some dear relative has died of plague when we
know of no ground for expecting, apprehending, or assuming anything of
the sort; we can only ask ourself wonderingly: "What brought that into
my head?" To the third group those dreams belong which are void of both
meaning and intelligibility; they are _incoherent, complicated, and
meaningless_. The overwhelming number of our dreams partake of this
character, and this has given rise to the contemptuous attitude towards
dreams and the medical theory of their limited psychical activity. It is
especially in the longer and more complicated dream-plots that signs of
incoherence are seldom missing.

The contrast between manifest and latent dream-content is clearly only
of value for the dreams of the second and more especially for those of
the third class. Here are problems which are only solved when the
manifest dream is replaced by its latent content; it was an example of
this kind, a complicated and unintelligible dream, that we subjected to
analysis. Against our expectation we, however, struck upon reasons which
prevented a complete cognizance of the latent dream thought. On the
repetition of this same experience we were forced to the supposition
that there is an _intimate bond, with laws of its own, between the
unintelligible and complicated nature of the dream and the difficulties
attending communication of the thoughts connected with the dream_.
Before investigating the nature of this bond, it will be advantageous to
turn our attention to the more readily intelligible dreams of the first
class where, the manifest and latent content being identical, the dream
work seems to be omitted.

The investigation of these dreams is also advisable from another
standpoint. The dreams of _children_ are of this nature; they have a
meaning, and are not bizarre. This, by the way, is a further objection
to reducing dreams to a dissociation of cerebral activity in sleep, for
why should such a lowering of psychical functions belong to the nature
of sleep in adults, but not in children? We are, however, fully
justified in expecting that the explanation of psychical processes in
children, essentially simplified as they may be, should serve as an
indispensable preparation towards the psychology of the adult.

I shall therefore cite some examples of dreams which I have gathered
from children. A girl of nineteen months was made to go without food
for a day because she had been sick in the morning, and, according to
nurse, had made herself ill through eating strawberries. During the
night, after her day of fasting, she was heard calling out her name
during sleep, and adding: "_Tawberry, eggs, pap_." She is dreaming that
she is eating, and selects out of her menu exactly what she supposes she
will not get much of just now.

The same kind of dream about a forbidden dish was that of a little boy
of twenty-two months. The day before he was told to offer his uncle a
present of a small basket of cherries, of which the child was, of
course, only allowed one to taste. He woke up with the joyful news:
"Hermann eaten up all the cherries."

A girl of three and a half years had made during the day a sea trip
which was too short for her, and she cried when she had to get out of
the boat. The next morning her story was that during the night she had
been on the sea, thus continuing the interrupted trip.

A boy of five and a half years was not at all pleased with his party
during a walk in the Dachstein region. Whenever a new peak came into
sight he asked if that were the Dachstein, and, finally, refused to
accompany the party to the waterfall. His behavior was ascribed to
fatigue; but a better explanation was forthcoming when the next morning
he told his dream: _he had ascended the Dachstein_. Obviously he
expected the ascent of the Dachstein to be the object of the excursion,
and was vexed by not getting a glimpse of the mountain. The dream gave
him what the day had withheld. The dream of a girl of six was similar;
her father had cut short the walk before reaching the promised objective
on account of the lateness of the hour. On the way back she noticed a
signpost giving the name of another place for excursions; her father
promised to take her there also some other day. She greeted her father
next day with the news that she had dreamt that _her father had been
with her to both places_.

What is common in all these dreams is obvious. They completely satisfy
wishes excited during the day which remain unrealized. They are simply
and undisguisedly realizations of wishes.

The following child-dream, not quite understandable at first sight, is
nothing else than a wish realized. On account of poliomyelitis a girl,
not quite four years of age, was brought from the country into town, and
remained over night with a childless aunt in a big--for her, naturally,
huge--bed. The next morning she stated that she had dreamt that _the
bed was much too small for her, so that she could find no place in it_.
To explain this dream as a wish is easy when we remember that to be
"big" is a frequently expressed wish of all children. The bigness of the
bed reminded Miss Little-Would-be-Big only too forcibly of her
smallness. This nasty situation became righted in her dream, and she
grew so big that the bed now became too small for her.

Even when children's dreams are complicated and polished, their
comprehension as a realization of desire is fairly evident. A boy of
eight dreamt that he was being driven with Achilles in a war-chariot,
guided by Diomedes. The day before he was assiduously reading about
great heroes. It is easy to show that he took these heroes as his
models, and regretted that he was not living in those days.

From this short collection a further characteristic of the dreams of
children is manifest--_their connection with the life of the day_. The
desires which are realized in these dreams are left over from the day
or, as a rule, the day previous, and the feeling has become intently
emphasized and fixed during the day thoughts. Accidental and indifferent
matters, or what must appear so to the child, find no acceptance in the
contents of the dream.

Innumerable instances of such dreams of the infantile type can be found
among adults also, but, as mentioned, these are mostly exactly like the
manifest content. Thus, a random selection of persons will generally
respond to thirst at night-time with a dream about drinking, thus
striving to get rid of the sensation and to let sleep continue. Many
persons frequently have these comforting _dreams_ before waking, just
when they are called. They then dream that they are already up, that
they are washing, or already in school, at the office, etc., where they
ought to be at a given time. The night before an intended journey one
not infrequently dreams that one has already arrived at the destination;
before going to a play or to a party the dream not infrequently
anticipates, in impatience, as it were, the expected pleasure. At other
times the dream expresses the realization of the desire somewhat
indirectly; some connection, some sequel must be known--the first step
towards recognizing the desire. Thus, when a husband related to me the
dream of his young wife, that her monthly period had begun, I had to
bethink myself that the young wife would have expected a pregnancy if
the period had been absent. The dream is then a sign of pregnancy. Its
meaning is that it shows the wish realized that pregnancy should not
occur just yet. Under unusual and extreme circumstances, these dreams
of the infantile type become very frequent. The leader of a polar
expedition tells us, for instance, that during the wintering amid the
ice the crew, with their monotonous diet and slight rations, dreamt
regularly, like children, of fine meals, of mountains of tobacco, and of

It is not uncommon that out of some long, complicated and intricate
dream one specially lucid part stands out containing unmistakably the
realization of a desire, but bound up with much unintelligible matter.
On more frequently analyzing the seemingly more transparent dreams of
adults, it is astonishing to discover that these are rarely as simple as
the dreams of children, and that they cover another meaning beyond that
of the realization of a wish.

It would certainly be a simple and convenient solution of the riddle if
the work of analysis made it at all possible for us to trace the
meaningless and intricate dreams of adults back to the infantile type,
to the realization of some intensely experienced desire of the day. But
there is no warrant for such an expectation. Their dreams are generally
full of the most indifferent and bizarre matter, and no trace of the
realization of the wish is to be found in their content.

Before leaving these infantile dreams, which are obviously unrealized
desires, we must not fail to mention another chief characteristic of
dreams, one that has been long noticed, and one which stands out most
clearly in this class. I can replace any of these dreams by a phrase
expressing a desire. If the sea trip had only lasted longer; if I were
only washed and dressed; if I had only been allowed to keep the cherries
instead of giving them to my uncle. But the dream gives something more
than the choice, for here the desire is already realized; its
realization is real and actual. The dream presentations consist chiefly,
if not wholly, of scenes and mainly of visual sense images. Hence a kind
of transformation is not entirely absent in this class of dreams, and
this may be fairly designated as the dream work. _An idea merely
existing in the region of possibility is replaced by a vision of its



We are compelled to assume that such transformation of scene has also
taken place in intricate dreams, though we do not know whether it has
encountered any possible desire. The dream instanced at the
commencement, which we analyzed somewhat thoroughly, did give us
occasion in two places to suspect something of the kind. Analysis
brought out that my wife was occupied with others at table, and that I
did not like it; in the dream itself _exactly the opposite_ occurs, for
the person who replaces my wife gives me her undivided attention. But
can one wish for anything pleasanter after a disagreeable incident than
that the exact contrary should have occurred, just as the dream has it?
The stinging thought in the analysis, that I have never had anything for
nothing, is similarly connected with the woman's remark in the dream:
"You have always had such beautiful eyes." Some portion of the
opposition between the latent and manifest content of the dream must be
therefore derived from the realization of a wish.

Another manifestation of the dream work which all incoherent dreams have
in common is still more noticeable. Choose any instance, and compare the
number of separate elements in it, or the extent of the dream, if
written down, with the dream thoughts yielded by analysis, and of which
but a trace can be refound in the dream itself. There can be no doubt
that the dream working has resulted in an extraordinary compression or
_condensation_. It is not at first easy to form an opinion as to the
extent of the condensation; the more deeply you go into the analysis,
the more deeply you are impressed by it. There will be found no factor
in the dream whence the chains of associations do not lead in two or
more directions, no scene which has not been pieced together out of two
or more impressions and events. For instance, I once dreamt about a kind
of swimming-bath where the bathers suddenly separated in all directions;
at one place on the edge a person stood bending towards one of the
bathers as if to drag him out. The scene was a composite one, made up
out of an event that occurred at the time of puberty, and of two
pictures, one of which I had seen just shortly before the dream. The two
pictures were The Surprise in the Bath, from Schwind's Cycle of the
Melusine (note the bathers suddenly separating), and The Flood, by an
Italian master. The little incident was that I once witnessed a lady,
who had tarried in the swimming-bath until the men's hour, being helped
out of the water by the swimming-master. The scene in the dream which
was selected for analysis led to a whole group of reminiscences, each
one of which had contributed to the dream content. First of all came the
little episode from the time of my courting, of which I have already
spoken; the pressure of a hand under the table gave rise in the dream to
the "under the table," which I had subsequently to find a place for in
my recollection. There was, of course, at the time not a word about
"undivided attention." Analysis taught me that this factor is the
realization of a desire through its contradictory and related to the
behavior of my wife at the table d'hôte. An exactly similar and much
more important episode of our courtship, one which separated us for an
entire day, lies hidden behind this recent recollection. The intimacy,
the hand resting upon the knee, refers to a quite different connection
and to quite other persons. This element in the dream becomes again the
starting-point of two distinct series of reminiscences, and so on.

The stuff of the dream thoughts which has been accumulated for the
formation of the dream scene must be naturally fit for this application.
There must be one or more common factors. The dream work proceeds like
Francis Galton with his family photographs. The different elements are
put one on top of the other; what is common to the composite picture
stands out clearly, the opposing details cancel each other. This process
of reproduction partly explains the wavering statements, of a peculiar
vagueness, in so many elements of the dream. For the interpretation of
dreams this rule holds good: When analysis discloses _uncertainty_, as
to _either_--_or_ read _and_, _taking_ each section of the apparent
alternatives as a separate outlet for a series of impressions.

When there is nothing in common between the dream thoughts, the dream
work takes the trouble to create a something, in order to make a common
presentation feasible in the dream. The simplest way to approximate two
dream thoughts, which have as yet nothing in common, consists in making
such a change in the actual expression of one idea as will meet a slight
responsive recasting in the form of the other idea. The process is
analogous to that of rhyme, when consonance supplies the desired common
factor. A good deal of the dream work consists in the creation of those
frequently very witty, but often exaggerated, digressions. These vary
from the common presentation in the dream content to dream thoughts
which are as varied as are the causes in form and essence which give
rise to them. In the analysis of our example of a dream, I find a like
case of the transformation of a thought in order that it might agree
with another essentially foreign one. In following out the analysis I
struck upon the thought: _I should like to have something for nothing_.
But this formula is not serviceable to the dream. Hence it is replaced
by another one: "I should like to enjoy something free of cost."[1] The
word "kost" (taste), with its double meaning, is appropriate to a table
d'hôte; it, moreover, is in place through the special sense in the
dream. At home if there is a dish which the children decline, their
mother first tries gentle persuasion, with a "Just taste it." That the
dream work should unhesitatingly use the double meaning of the word is
certainly remarkable; ample experience has shown, however, that the
occurrence is quite usual.

Through condensation of the dream certain constituent parts of its
content are explicable which are peculiar to the dream life alone, and
which are not found in the waking state. Such are the composite and
mixed persons, the extraordinary mixed figures, creations comparable
with the fantastic animal compositions of Orientals; a moment's thought
and these are reduced to unity, whilst the fancies of the dream are ever
formed anew in an inexhaustible profusion. Every one knows such images
in his own dreams; manifold are their origins. I can build up a person
by borrowing one feature from one person and one from another, or by
giving to the form of one the name of another in my dream. I can also
visualize one person, but place him in a position which has occurred to
another. There is a meaning in all these cases when different persons
are amalgamated into one substitute. Such cases denote an "and," a "just
like," a comparison of the original person from a certain point of view,
a comparison which can be also realized in the dream itself. As a rule,
however, the identity of the blended persons is only discoverable by
analysis, and is only indicated in the dream content by the formation of
the "combined" person.

The same diversity in their ways of formation and the same rules for its
solution hold good also for the innumerable medley of dream contents,
examples of which I need scarcely adduce. Their strangeness quite
disappears when we resolve not to place them on a level with the objects
of perception as known to us when awake, but to remember that they
represent the art of dream condensation by an exclusion of unnecessary
detail. Prominence is given to the common character of the combination.
Analysis must also generally supply the common features. The dream says
simply: _All these things have an "x" in common_. The decomposition of
these mixed images by analysis is often the quickest way to an
interpretation of the dream. Thus I once dreamt that I was sitting with
one of my former university tutors on a bench, which was undergoing a
rapid continuous movement amidst other benches. This was a combination
of lecture-room and moving staircase. I will not pursue the further
result of the thought. Another time I was sitting in a carriage, and on
my lap an object in shape like a top-hat, which, however, was made of
transparent glass. The scene at once brought to my mind the proverb: "He
who keeps his hat in his hand will travel safely through the land." By a
slight turn the _glass hat_ reminded me of _Auer's light_, and I knew
that I was about to invent something which was to make me as rich and
independent as his invention had made my countryman, Dr. Auer, of
Welsbach; then I should be able to travel instead of remaining in
Vienna. In the dream I was traveling with my invention, with the, it is
true, rather awkward glass top-hat. The dream work is peculiarly adept
at representing two contradictory conceptions by means of the same mixed
image. Thus, for instance, a woman dreamt of herself carrying a tall
flower-stalk, as in the picture of the Annunciation (Chastity-Mary is
her own name), but the stalk was bedecked with thick white blossoms
resembling camellias (contrast with chastity: La dame aux Camelias).

A great deal of what we have called "dream condensation" can be thus
formulated. Each one of the elements of the dream content is
_overdetermined_ by the matter of the dream thoughts; it is not derived
from one element of these thoughts, but from a whole series. These are
not necessarily interconnected in any way, but may belong to the most
diverse spheres of thought. The dream element truly represents all this
disparate matter in the dream content. Analysis, moreover, discloses
another side of the relationship between dream content and dream
thoughts. Just as one element of the dream leads to associations with
several dream thoughts, so, as a rule, the _one dream thought represents
more than one dream element_. The threads of the association do not
simply converge from the dream thoughts to the dream content, but on the
way they overlap and interweave in every way.

Next to the transformation of one thought in the scene (its
"dramatization"), condensation is the most important and most
characteristic feature of the dream work. We have as yet no clue as to
the motive calling for such compression of the content.

In the complicated and intricate dreams with which we are now concerned,
condensation and dramatization do not wholly account for the difference
between dream contents and dream thoughts. There is evidence of a third
factor, which deserves careful consideration.

When I have arrived at an understanding of the dream thoughts by my
analysis I notice, above all, that the matter of the manifest is very
different from that of the latent dream content. That is, I admit, only
an apparent difference which vanishes on closer investigation, for in
the end I find the whole dream content carried out in the dream
thoughts, nearly all the dream thoughts again represented in the dream
content. Nevertheless, there does remain a certain amount of difference.

The essential content which stood out clearly and broadly in the dream
must, after analysis, rest satisfied with a very subordinate rôle among
the dream thoughts. These very dream thoughts which, going by my
feelings, have a claim to the greatest importance are either not present
at all in the dream content, or are represented by some remote allusion
in some obscure region of the dream. I can thus describe these
phenomena: _During the dream work the psychical intensity of those
thoughts and conceptions to which it properly pertains flows to others
which, in my judgment, have no claim to such emphasis_. There is no
other process which contributes so much to concealment of the dream's
meaning and to make the connection between the dream content and dream
ideas irrecognizable. During this process, which I will call _the dream
displacement_, I notice also the psychical intensity, significance, or
emotional nature of the thoughts become transposed in sensory vividness.
What was clearest in the dream seems to me, without further
consideration, the most important; but often in some obscure element of
the dream I can recognize the most direct offspring of the principal
dream thought.

I could only designate this dream displacement as the _transvaluation of
psychical values_. The phenomena will not have been considered in all
its bearings unless I add that this displacement or transvaluation is
shared by different dreams in extremely varying degrees. There are
dreams which take place almost without any displacement. These have the
same time, meaning, and intelligibility as we found in the dreams which
recorded a desire. In other dreams not a bit of the dream idea has
retained its own psychical value, or everything essential in these dream
ideas has been replaced by unessentials, whilst every kind of transition
between these conditions can be found. The more obscure and intricate a
dream is, the greater is the part to be ascribed to the impetus of
displacement in its formation.

The example that we chose for analysis shows, at least, this much of
displacement--that its content has a different center of interest from
that of the dream ideas. In the forefront of the dream content the main
scene appears as if a woman wished to make advances to me; in the dream
idea the chief interest rests on the desire to enjoy disinterested love
which shall "cost nothing"; this idea lies at the back of the talk about
the beautiful eyes and the far-fetched allusion to "spinach."

If we abolish the dream displacement, we attain through analysis quite
certain conclusions regarding two problems of the dream which are most
disputed--as to what provokes a dream at all, and as to the connection
of the dream with our waking life. There are dreams which at once expose
their links with the events of the day; in others no trace of such a
connection can be found. By the aid of analysis it can be shown that
every dream, without any exception, is linked up with our impression of
the day, or perhaps it would be more correct to say of the day previous
to the dream. The impressions which have incited the dream may be so
important that we are not surprised at our being occupied with them
whilst awake; in this case we are right in saying that the dream carries
on the chief interest of our waking life. More usually, however, when
the dream contains anything relating to the impressions of the day, it
is so trivial, unimportant, and so deserving of oblivion, that we can
only recall it with an effort. The dream content appears, then, even
when coherent and intelligible, to be concerned with those indifferent
trifles of thought undeserving of our waking interest. The depreciation
of dreams is largely due to the predominance of the indifferent and the
worthless in their content.

Analysis destroys the appearance upon which this derogatory judgment is
based. When the dream content discloses nothing but some indifferent
impression as instigating the dream, analysis ever indicates some
significant event, which has been replaced by something indifferent
with which it has entered into abundant associations. Where the dream is
concerned with uninteresting and unimportant conceptions, analysis
reveals the numerous associative paths which connect the trivial with
the momentous in the psychical estimation of the individual. _It is only
the action of displacement if what is indifferent obtains recognition in
the dream content instead of those impressions which are really the
stimulus, or instead of the things of real interest_. In answering the
question as to what provokes the dream, as to the connection of the
dream, in the daily troubles, we must say, in terms of the insight given
us by replacing the manifest latent dream content: _The dream does never
trouble itself about things which are not deserving of our concern
during the day, and trivialities which do not trouble us during the day
have no power to pursue us whilst asleep_.

What provoked the dream in the example which we have analyzed? The
really unimportant event, that a friend invited me to a _free ride in
his cab_. The table d'hôte scene in the dream contains an allusion to
this indifferent motive, for in conversation I had brought the taxi
parallel with the table d'hôte. But I can indicate the important event
which has as its substitute the trivial one. A few days before I had
disbursed a large sum of money for a member of my family who is very
dear to me. Small wonder, says the dream thought, if this person is
grateful to me for this--this love is not cost-free. But love that shall
cost nothing is one of the prime thoughts of the dream. The fact that
shortly before this I had had several _drives_ with the relative in
question puts the one drive with my friend in a position to recall the
connection with the other person. The indifferent impression which, by
such ramifications, provokes the dream is subservient to another
condition which is not true of the real source of the dream--the
impression must be a recent one, everything arising from the day of the

I cannot leave the question of dream displacement without the
consideration of a remarkable process in the formation of dreams in
which condensation and displacement work together towards one end. In
condensation we have already considered the case where two conceptions
in the dream having something in common, some point of contact, are
replaced in the dream content by a mixed image, where the distinct germ
corresponds to what is common, and the indistinct secondary
modifications to what is distinctive. If displacement is added to
condensation, there is no formation of a mixed image, but a _common
mean_ which bears the same relationship to the individual elements as
does the resultant in the parallelogram of forces to its components. In
one of my dreams, for instance, there is talk of an injection with
_propyl_. On first analysis I discovered an indifferent but true
incident where _amyl_ played a part as the excitant of the dream. I
cannot yet vindicate the exchange of amyl for propyl. To the round of
ideas of the same dream, however, there belongs the recollection of my
first visit to Munich, when the _Propyloea_ struck me. The attendant
circumstances of the analysis render it admissible that the influence of
this second group of conceptions caused the displacement of amyl to
propyl. _Propyl_ is, so to say, the mean idea between _amyl_ and
_propyloea_; it got into the dream as a kind of _compromise_ by
simultaneous condensation and displacement.

The need of discovering some motive for this bewildering work of the
dream is even more called for in the case of displacement than in

Although the work of displacement must be held mainly responsible if the
dream thoughts are not refound or recognized in the dream content
(unless the motive of the changes be guessed), it is another and milder
kind of transformation which will be considered with the dream thoughts
which leads to the discovery of a new but readily understood act of the
dream work. The first dream thoughts which are unravelled by analysis
frequently strike one by their unusual wording. They do not appear to be
expressed in the sober form which our thinking prefers; rather are they
expressed symbolically by allegories and metaphors like the figurative
language of the poets. It is not difficult to find the motives for this
degree of constraint in the expression of dream ideas. The dream content
consists chiefly of visual scenes; hence the dream ideas must, in the
first place, be prepared to make use of these forms of presentation.
Conceive that a political leader's or a barrister's address had to be
transposed into pantomime, and it will be easy to understand the
transformations to which the dream work is constrained by regard for
this _dramatization of the dream content_.

Around the psychical stuff of dream thoughts there are ever found
reminiscences of impressions, not infrequently of early
childhood--scenes which, as a rule, have been visually grasped. Whenever
possible, this portion of the dream ideas exercises a definite influence
upon the modelling of the dream content; it works like a center of
crystallization, by attracting and rearranging the stuff of the dream
thoughts. The scene of the dream is not infrequently nothing but a
modified repetition, complicated by interpolations of events that have
left such an impression; the dream but very seldom reproduces accurate
and unmixed reproductions of real scenes.

The dream content does not, however, consist exclusively of scenes, but
it also includes scattered fragments of visual images, conversations,
and even bits of unchanged thoughts. It will be perhaps to the point if
we instance in the briefest way the means of dramatization which are at
the disposal of the dream work for the repetition of the dream thoughts
in the peculiar language of the dream.

The dream thoughts which we learn from the analysis exhibit themselves
as a psychical complex of the most complicated superstructure. Their
parts stand in the most diverse relationship to each other; they form
backgrounds and foregrounds, stipulations, digressions, illustrations,
demonstrations, and protestations. It may be said to be almost the rule
that one train of thought is followed by its contradictory. No feature
known to our reason whilst awake is absent. If a dream is to grow out of
all this, the psychical matter is submitted to a pressure which
condenses it extremely, to an inner shrinking and displacement, creating
at the same time fresh surfaces, to a selective interweaving among the
constituents best adapted for the construction of these scenes. Having
regard to the origin of this stuff, the term _regression_ can be fairly
applied to this process. The logical chains which hitherto held the
psychical stuff together become lost in this transformation to the dream
content. The dream work takes on, as it were, only the essential content
of the dream thoughts for elaboration. It is left to analysis to restore
the connection which the dream work has destroyed.

The dream's means of expression must therefore be regarded as meager in
comparison with those of our imagination, though the dream does not
renounce all claims to the restitution of logical relation to the dream
thoughts. It rather succeeds with tolerable frequency in replacing these
by formal characters of its own.

By reason of the undoubted connection existing between all the parts of
dream thoughts, the dream is able to embody this matter into a single
scene. It upholds a _logical connection_ as _approximation in time and
space_, just as the painter, who groups all the poets for his picture of
Parnassus who, though they have never been all together on a mountain
peak, yet form ideally a community. The dream continues this method of
presentation in individual dreams, and often when it displays two
elements close together in the dream content it warrants some special
inner connection between what they represent in the dream thoughts. It
should be, moreover, observed that all the dreams of one night prove on
analysis to originate from the same sphere of thought.

The causal connection between two ideas is either left without
presentation, or replaced by two different long portions of dreams one
after the other. This presentation is frequently a reversed one, the
beginning of the dream being the deduction, and its end the hypothesis.
The direct _transformation_ of one thing into another in the dream seems
to serve the relationship of _cause_ and _effect_.

The dream never utters the _alternative "either-or,"_ but accepts both
as having equal rights in the same connection. When "either-or" is used
in the reproduction of dreams, it is, as I have already mentioned, to be
replaced by "_and_."

Conceptions which stand in opposition to one another are preferably
expressed in dreams by the same element.[2] There seems no "not" in
dreams. Opposition between two ideas, the relation of conversion, is
represented in dreams in a very remarkable way. It is expressed by the
reversal of another part of the dream content just as if by way of
appendix. We shall later on deal with another form of expressing
disagreement. The common dream sensation of _movement checked_ serves
the purpose of representing disagreement of impulses--a _conflict of the

Only one of the logical relationships--that of _similarity, identity,
agreement_--is found highly developed in the mechanism of dream
formation. Dream work makes use of these cases as a starting-point for
condensation, drawing together everything which shows such agreement to
a _fresh unity_.

These short, crude observations naturally do not suffice as an estimate
of the abundance of the dream's formal means of presenting the logical
relationships of the dream thoughts. In this respect, individual dreams
are worked up more nicely or more carelessly, our text will have been
followed more or less closely, auxiliaries of the dream work will have
been taken more or less into consideration. In the latter case they
appear obscure, intricate, incoherent. When the dream appears openly
absurd, when it contains an obvious paradox in its content, it is so of
purpose. Through its apparent disregard of all logical claims, it
expresses a part of the intellectual content of the dream ideas.
Absurdity in the dream denotes _disagreement, scorn, disdain_ in the
dream thoughts. As this explanation is in entire disagreement with the
view that the dream owes its origin to dissociated, uncritical cerebral
activity, I will emphasize my view by an example:

_"One of my acquaintances, Mr. M----, has been attacked by no less a
person than Goethe in an essay with, we all maintain, unwarrantable
violence. Mr. M---- has naturally been ruined by this attack. He
complains very bitterly of this at a dinner-party, but his respect for
Goethe has not diminished through this personal experience. I now
attempt to clear up the chronological relations which strike me as
improbable. Goethe died in 1832. As his attack upon Mr. M---- must, of
course, have taken place before, Mr. M---- must have been then a very
young man. It seems to me plausible that he was eighteen. I am not
certain, however, what year we are actually in, and the whole
calculation falls into obscurity. The attack was, moreover, contained
in Goethe's well-known essay on 'Nature.'"_

The absurdity of the dream becomes the more glaring when I state that
Mr. M---- is a young business man without any poetical or literary
interests. My analysis of the dream will show what method there is in
this madness. The dream has derived its material from three sources:

1. Mr. M----, to whom I was introduced at a dinner-party, begged me one
day to examine his elder brother, who showed signs of mental trouble. In
conversation with the patient, an unpleasant episode occurred. Without
the slightest occasion he disclosed one of his brother's _youthful
escapades_. I had asked the patient the _year of his birth_ (_year of
death_ in dream), and led him to various calculations which might show
up his want of memory.

2. A medical journal which displayed my name among others on the cover
had published a _ruinous_ review of a book by my friend F---- of Berlin,
from the pen of a very _juvenile_ reviewer. I communicated with the
editor, who, indeed, expressed his regret, but would not promise any
redress. Thereupon I broke off my connection with the paper; in my
letter of resignation I expressed the hope that our _personal relations
would not suffer from this_. Here is the real source of the dream. The
derogatory reception of my friend's work had made a deep impression upon
me. In my judgment, it contained a fundamental biological discovery
which only now, several years later, commences to find favor among the

3. A little while before, a patient gave me the medical history of her
brother, who, exclaiming "_Nature, Nature!_" had gone out of his mind.
The doctors considered that the exclamation arose from a study of
_Goethe's_ beautiful essay, and indicated that the patient had been
overworking. I expressed the opinion that it seemed more _plausible_ to
me that the exclamation "Nature!" was to be taken in that sexual meaning
known also to the less educated in our country. It seemed to me that
this view had something in it, because the unfortunate youth afterwards
mutilated his genital organs. The patient was eighteen years old when
the attack occurred.

The first person in the dream-thoughts behind the ego was my friend who
had been so scandalously treated. _"I now attempted to clear up the
chronological relation."_ My friend's book deals with the chronological
relations of life, and, amongst other things, correlates _Goethe's_
duration of life with a number of days in many ways important to
biology. The ego is, however, represented as a general paralytic (_"I
am not certain what year we are actually in"_). The dream exhibits my
friend as behaving like a general paralytic, and thus riots in
absurdity. But the dream thoughts run ironically. "Of course he is a
madman, a fool, and you are the genius who understands all about it. But
shouldn't it be the _other way round_?" This inversion obviously took
place in the dream when Goethe attacked the young man, which is absurd,
whilst any one, however young, can to-day easily attack the great

I am prepared to maintain that no dream is inspired by other than
egoistic emotions. The ego in the dream does not, indeed, represent only
my friend, but stands for myself also. I identify myself with him
because the fate of his discovery appears to me typical of the
acceptance of _my own_. If I were to publish my own theory, which gives
sexuality predominance in the ætiology of psychoneurotic disorders (see
the allusion to the eighteen-year-old patient--_"Nature, Nature!"_), the
same criticism would be leveled at me, and it would even now meet with
the same contempt.

When I follow out the dream thoughts closely, I ever find only _scorn_
and _contempt_ as _correlated with the dream's absurdity_. It is well
known that the discovery of a cracked sheep's skull on the Lido in
Venice gave Goethe the hint for the so-called vertebral theory of the
skull. My friend plumes himself on having as a student raised a hubbub
for the resignation of an aged professor who had done good work
(including some in this very subject of comparative anatomy), but who,
on account of _decrepitude_, had become quite incapable of teaching. The
agitation my friend inspired was so successful because in the German
Universities an _age limit_ is not demanded for academic work. _Age is
no protection against folly._ In the hospital here I had for years the
honor to serve under a chief who, long fossilized, was for decades
notoriously _feebleminded_, and was yet permitted to continue in his
responsible office. A trait, after the manner of the find in the Lido,
forces itself upon me here. It was to this man that some youthful
colleagues in the hospital adapted the then popular slang of that day:
"No Goethe has written that," "No Schiller composed that," etc.

We have not exhausted our valuation of the dream work. In addition to
condensation, displacement, and definite arrangement of the psychical
matter, we must ascribe to it yet another activity--one which is,
indeed, not shared by every dream. I shall not treat this position of
the dream work exhaustively; I will only point out that the readiest
way to arrive at a conception of it is to take for granted, probably
unfairly, that it _only subsequently influences the dream content which
has already been built up_. Its mode of action thus consists in so
coördinating the parts of the dream that these coalesce to a coherent
whole, to a dream composition. The dream gets a kind of façade which, it
is true, does not conceal the whole of its content. There is a sort of
preliminary explanation to be strengthened by interpolations and slight
alterations. Such elaboration of the dream content must not be too
pronounced; the misconception of the dream thoughts to which it gives
rise is merely superficial, and our first piece of work in analyzing a
dream is to get rid of these early attempts at interpretation.

The motives for this part of the dream work are easily gauged. This
final elaboration of the dream is due to a _regard for
intelligibility_--a fact at once betraying the origin of an action which
behaves towards the actual dream content just as our normal psychical
action behaves towards some proffered perception that is to our liking.
The dream content is thus secured under the pretense of certain
expectations, is perceptually classified by the supposition of its
intelligibility, thereby risking its falsification, whilst, in fact, the
most extraordinary misconceptions arise if the dream can be correlated
with nothing familiar. Every one is aware that we are unable to look at
any series of unfamiliar signs, or to listen to a discussion of unknown
words, without at once making perpetual changes through _our regard for
intelligibility_, through our falling back upon what is familiar.

We can call those dreams _properly made up_ which are the result of an
elaboration in every way analogous to the psychical action of our waking
life. In other dreams there is no such action; not even an attempt is
made to bring about order and meaning. We regard the dream as "quite
mad," because on awaking it is with this last-named part of the dream
work, the dream elaboration, that we identify ourselves. So far,
however, as our analysis is concerned, the dream, which resembles a
medley of disconnected fragments, is of as much value as the one with a
smooth and beautifully polished surface. In the former case we are
spared, to some extent, the trouble of breaking down the
super-elaboration of the dream content.

All the same, it would be an error to see in the dream façade nothing
but the misunderstood and somewhat arbitrary elaboration of the dream
carried out at the instance of our psychical life. Wishes and phantasies
are not infrequently employed in the erection of this façade, which
were already fashioned in the dream thoughts; they are akin to those of
our waking life--"day-dreams," as they are very properly called. These
wishes and phantasies, which analysis discloses in our dreams at night,
often present themselves as repetitions and refashionings of the scenes
of infancy. Thus the dream façade may show us directly the true core of
the dream, distorted through admixture with other matter.

Beyond these four activities there is nothing else to be discovered in
the dream work. If we keep closely to the definition that dream work
denotes the transference of dream thoughts to dream content, we are
compelled to say that the dream work is not creative; it develops no
fancies of its own, it judges nothing, decides nothing. It does nothing
but prepare the matter for condensation and displacement, and refashions
it for dramatization, to which must be added the inconstant last-named
mechanism--that of explanatory elaboration. It is true that a good deal
is found in the dream content which might be understood as the result of
another and more intellectual performance; but analysis shows
conclusively every time that these _intellectual operations were already
present in the dream thoughts, and have only been taken over by the
dream content_. A syllogism in the dream is nothing other than the
repetition of a syllogism in the dream thoughts; it seems inoffensive if
it has been transferred to the dream without alteration; it becomes
absurd if in the dream work it has been transferred to other matter. A
calculation in the dream content simply means that there was a
calculation in the dream thoughts; whilst this is always correct, the
calculation in the dream can furnish the silliest results by the
condensation of its factors and the displacement of the same operations
to other things. Even speeches which are found in the dream content are
not new compositions; they prove to be pieced together out of speeches
which have been made or heard or read; the words are faithfully copied,
but the occasion of their utterance is quite overlooked, and their
meaning is most violently changed.

It is, perhaps, not superfluous to support these assertions by examples:

1. _A seemingly inoffensive, well-made dream of a patient. She was going
to market with her cook, who carried the basket. The butcher said to her
when she asked him for something: "That is all gone," and wished to give
her something else, remarking; "That's very good." She declines, and
goes to the greengrocer, who wants to sell her a peculiar vegetable
which is bound up in bundles and of a black color. She says: "I don't
know that; I won't take it."_

The remark "That is all gone" arose from the treatment. A few days
before I said myself to the patient that the earliest reminiscences of
childhood _are all gone_ as such, but are replaced by transferences and
dreams. Thus I am the butcher.

The second remark, _"I don't know that"_ arose in a very different
connection. The day before she had herself called out in rebuke to the
cook (who, moreover, also appears in the dream): "_Behave yourself
properly_; I don't know _that_"--that is, "I don't know this kind of
behavior; I won't have it." The more harmless portion of this speech was
arrived at by a displacement of the dream content; in the dream thoughts
only the other portion of the speech played a part, because the dream
work changed an imaginary situation into utter irrecognizability and
complete inoffensiveness (while in a certain sense I behave in an
unseemly way to the lady). The situation resulting in this phantasy is,
however, nothing but a new edition of one that actually took place.

2. A dream apparently meaningless relates to figures. _"She wants to pay
something; her daughter takes three florins sixty-five kreuzers out of
her purse; but she says: 'What are you doing? It only cost twenty-one

The dreamer was a stranger who had placed her child at school in Vienna,
and who was able to continue under my treatment so long as her daughter
remained at Vienna. The day before the dream the directress of the
school had recommended her to keep the child another year at school. In
this case she would have been able to prolong her treatment by one year.
The figures in the dream become important if it be remembered that time
is money. One year equals 365 days, or, expressed in kreuzers, 365
kreuzers, which is three florins sixty-five kreuzers. The twenty-one
kreuzers correspond with the three weeks which remained from the day of
the dream to the end of the school term, and thus to the end of the
treatment. It was obviously financial considerations which had moved the
lady to refuse the proposal of the directress, and which were answerable
for the triviality of the amount in the dream.

3. A lady, young, but already ten years married, heard that a friend of
hers, Miss Elise L----, of about the same age, had become engaged. This
gave rise to the following dream:

_She was sitting with her husband in the theater; the one side of the
stalls was quite empty. Her husband tells her, Elise L---- and her
fiancé had intended coming, but could only get some cheap seats, three
for one florin fifty kreuzers, and these they would not take. In her
opinion, that would not have mattered very much._

The origin of the figures from the matter of the dream thoughts and the
changes the figures underwent are of interest. Whence came the one
florin fifty kreuzers? From a trifling occurrence of the previous day.
Her sister-in-law had received 150 florins as a present from her
husband, and had quickly got rid of it by buying some ornament. Note
that 150 florins is one hundred times one florin fifty kreuzers. For the
_three_ concerned with the tickets, the only link is that Elise L---- is
exactly three months younger than the dreamer. The scene in the dream is
the repetition of a little adventure for which she has often been teased
by her husband. She was once in a great hurry to get tickets in time for
a piece, and when she came to the theater _one side of the stalls was
almost empty_. It was therefore quite unnecessary for her to have been
in _such a hurry_. Nor must we overlook the absurdity of the dream that
two persons should take three tickets for the theater.

Now for the dream ideas. It was _stupid_ to have married so early; I
_need not_ have been _in so great a hurry_. Elise L----'s example shows
me that I should have been able to get a husband later; indeed, one a
_hundred times better_ if I had but waited. I could have bought _three_
such men with the money (dowry).

[1] "Ich möchte gerne etwas geniessen ohne 'Kosten' zu haben." A a pun
upon the word "kosten," which has two meanings--"taste" and "cost." In
"Die Traumdeutung," third edition, p. 71 footnote, Professor Freud
remarks that "the finest example of dream interpretation left us by the
ancients is based upon a pun" (from "The Interpretation of Dreams," by
Artemidorus Daldianus). "Moreover, dreams are so intimately bound up
with language that Ferenczi truly points out that every tongue has its
own language of dreams. A dream is as a rule untranslatable into other

[2] It is worthy of remark that eminent philologists maintain that the
oldest languages used the same word for expressing quite general
antitheses. In C. Abel's essay, "Ueber den Gegensinn der Urworter"
(1884, the following examples of such words in England are given:
"gleam--gloom"; "to lock--loch"; "down--The Downs"; "to step--to stop."
In his essay on "The Origin of Language" ("Linguistic Essays," p. 240),
Abel says: "When the Englishman says 'without,' is not his judgment
based upon the comparative juxtaposition of two opposites, 'with' and
'out'; 'with' itself originally meant 'without,' as may still be seen in
'withdraw.' 'Bid' includes the opposite sense of giving and of
proffering." Abel, "The English Verbs of Command," "Linguistic Essays,"
p. 104; see also Freud, "Ueber den Gegensinn der Urworte"; _Jahrbuch für
Psychoanalytische und Psychopathologische Forschungen_, Band II., part
i., p. 179).--TRANSLATOR.



In the foregoing exposition we have now learnt something of the dream
work; we must regard it as a quite special psychical process, which, so
far as we are aware, resembles nothing else. To the dream work has been
transferred that bewilderment which its product, the dream, has aroused
in us. In truth, the dream work is only the first recognition of a group
of psychical processes to which must be referred the origin of
hysterical symptoms, the ideas of morbid dread, obsession, and illusion.
Condensation, and especially displacement, are never-failing features in
these other processes. The regard for appearance remains, on the other
hand, peculiar to the dream work. If this explanation brings the dream
into line with the formation of psychical disease, it becomes the more
important to fathom the essential conditions of processes like dream
building. It will be probably a surprise to hear that neither the state
of sleep nor illness is among the indispensable conditions. A whole
number of phenomena of the everyday life of healthy persons,
forgetfulness, slips in speaking and in holding things, together with a
certain class of mistakes, are due to a psychical mechanism analogous to
that of the dream and the other members of this group.

Displacement is the core of the problem, and the most striking of all
the dream performances. A thorough investigation of the subject shows
that the essential condition of displacement is purely psychological; it
is in the nature of a motive. We get on the track by thrashing out
experiences which one cannot avoid in the analysis of dreams. I had to
break off the relations of my dream thoughts in the analysis of my dream
on p. 8 because I found some experiences which I do not wish strangers
to know, and which I could not relate without serious damage to
important considerations. I added, it would be no use were I to select
another instead of that particular dream; in every dream where the
content is obscure or intricate, I should hit upon dream thoughts which
call for secrecy. If, however, I continue the analysis for myself,
without regard to those others, for whom, indeed, so personal an event
as my dream cannot matter, I arrive finally at ideas which surprise me,
which I have not known to be mine, which not only appear _foreign_ to
me, but which are _unpleasant_, and which I would like to oppose
vehemently, whilst the chain of ideas running through the analysis
intrudes upon me inexorably. I can only take these circumstances into
account by admitting that these thoughts are actually part of my
psychical life, possessing a certain psychical intensity or energy.
However, by virtue of a particular psychological condition, the
_thoughts could not become conscious to me_. I call this particular
condition "_Repression_." It is therefore impossible for me not to
recognize some casual relationship between the obscurity of the dream
content and this state of repression--this _incapacity of
consciousness_. Whence I conclude that the cause of the obscurity is
_the desire to conceal these thoughts_. Thus I arrive at the conception
of the _dream distortion_ as the deed of the dream work, and of
_displacement_ serving to disguise this object.

I will test this in my own dream, and ask myself, What is the thought
which, quite innocuous in its distorted form, provokes my liveliest
opposition in its real form? I remember that the free drive reminded me
of the last expensive drive with a member of my family, the
interpretation of the dream being: I should for once like to experience
affection for which I should not have to pay, and that shortly before
the dream I had to make a heavy disbursement for this very person. In
this connection, I cannot get away from the thought _that I regret this
disbursement_. It is only when I acknowledge this feeling that there is
any sense in my wishing in the dream for an affection that should entail
no outlay. And yet I can state on my honor that I did not hesitate for a
moment when it became necessary to expend that sum. The regret, the
counter-current, was unconscious to me. Why it was unconscious is quite
another question which would lead us far away from the answer which,
though within my knowledge, belongs elsewhere.

If I subject the dream of another person instead of one of my own to
analysis, the result is the same; the motives for convincing others is,
however, changed. In the dream of a healthy person the only way for me
to enable him to accept this repressed idea is the coherence of the
dream thoughts. He is at liberty to reject this explanation. But if we
are dealing with a person suffering from any neurosis--say from
hysteria--the recognition of these repressed ideas is compulsory by
reason of their connection with the symptoms of his illness and of the
improvement resulting from exchanging the symptoms for the repressed
ideas. Take the patient from whom I got the last dream about the three
tickets for one florin fifty kreuzers. Analysis shows that she does not
think highly of her husband, that she regrets having married him, that
she would be glad to change him for some one else. It is true that she
maintains that she loves her husband, that her emotional life knows
nothing about this depreciation (a hundred times better!), but all her
symptoms lead to the same conclusion as this dream. When her repressed
memories had rewakened a certain period when she was conscious that she
did not love her husband, her symptoms disappeared, and therewith
disappeared her resistance to the interpretation of the dream.

This conception of repression once fixed, together with the distortion
of the dream in relation to repressed psychical matter, we are in a
position to give a general exposition of the principal results which the
analysis of dreams supplies. We learnt that the most intelligible and
meaningful dreams are unrealized desires; the desires they pictured as
realized are known to consciousness, have been held over from the
daytime, and are of absorbing interest. The analysis of obscure and
intricate dreams discloses something very similar; the dream scene again
pictures as realized some desire which regularly proceeds from the dream
ideas, but the picture is unrecognizable, and is only cleared up in the
analysis. The desire itself is either one repressed, foreign to
consciousness, or it is closely bound up with repressed ideas. The
formula for these dreams may be thus stated: _They are concealed
realizations of repressed desires_. It is interesting to note that they
are right who regard the dream as foretelling the future. Although the
future which the dream shows us is not that which will occur, but that
which we would like to occur. Folk psychology proceeds here according to
its wont; it believes what it wishes to believe.

Dreams can be divided into three classes according to their relation
towards the realization of desire. Firstly come those which exhibit a
_non-repressed, non-concealed desire_; these are dreams of the infantile
type, becoming ever rarer among adults. Secondly, dreams which express
in _veiled_ form some _repressed desire_; these constitute by far the
larger number of our dreams, and they require analysis for their
understanding. Thirdly, these dreams where repression exists, but
_without_ or with but slight concealment. These dreams are invariably
accompanied by a feeling of dread which brings the dream to an end. This
feeling of dread here replaces dream displacement; I regarded the dream
work as having prevented this in the dream of the second class. It is
not very difficult to prove that what is now present as intense dread in
the dream was once desire, and is now secondary to the repression.

There are also definite dreams with a painful content, without the
presence of any anxiety in the dream. These cannot be reckoned among
dreams of dread; they have, however, always been used to prove the
unimportance and the psychical futility of dreams. An analysis of such
an example will show that it belongs to our second class of dreams--a
_perfectly concealed_ realization of repressed desires. Analysis will
demonstrate at the same time how excellently adapted is the work of
displacement to the concealment of desires.

A girl dreamt that she saw lying dead before her the only surviving
child of her sister amid the same surroundings as a few years before she
saw the first child lying dead. She was not sensible of any pain, but
naturally combatted the view that the scene represented a desire of
hers. Nor was that view necessary. Years ago it was at the funeral of
the child that she had last seen and spoken to the man she loved. Were
the second child to die, she would be sure to meet this man again in her
sister's house. She is longing to meet him, but struggles against this
feeling. The day of the dream she had taken a ticket for a lecture,
which announced the presence of the man she always loved. The dream is
simply a dream of impatience common to those which happen before a
journey, theater, or simply anticipated pleasures. The longing is
concealed by the shifting of the scene to the occasion when any joyous
feeling were out of place, and yet where it did once exist. Note,
further, that the emotional behavior in the dream is adapted, not to the
displaced, but to the real but suppressed dream ideas. The scene
anticipates the long-hoped-for meeting; there is here no call for
painful emotions.

There has hitherto been no occasion for philosophers to bestir
themselves with a psychology of repression. We must be allowed to
construct some clear conception as to the origin of dreams as the first
steps in this unknown territory. The scheme which we have formulated not
only from a study of dreams is, it is true, already somewhat
complicated, but we cannot find any simpler one that will suffice. We
hold that our psychical apparatus contains two procedures for the
construction of thoughts. The second one has the advantage that its
products find an open path to consciousness, whilst the activity of the
first procedure is unknown to itself, and can only arrive at
consciousness through the second one. At the borderland of these two
procedures, where the first passes over into the second, a censorship
is established which only passes what pleases it, keeping back
everything else. That which is rejected by the censorship is, according
to our definition, in a state of repression. Under certain conditions,
one of which is the sleeping state, the balance of power between the two
procedures is so changed that what is repressed can no longer be kept
back. In the sleeping state this may possibly occur through the
negligence of the censor; what has been hitherto repressed will now
succeed in finding its way to consciousness. But as the censorship is
never absent, but merely off guard, certain alterations must be conceded
so as to placate it. It is a compromise which becomes conscious in this
case--a compromise between what one procedure has in view and the
demands of the other. _Repression, laxity of the censor,
compromise_--this is the foundation for the origin of many another
psychological process, just as it is for the dream. In such compromises
we can observe the processes of condensation, of displacement, the
acceptance of superficial associations, which we have found in the dream

It is not for us to deny the demonic element which has played a part in
constructing our explanation of dream work. The impression left is that
the formation of obscure dreams proceeds as if a person had something
to say which must be agreeable for another person upon whom he is
dependent to hear. It is by the use of this image that we figure to
ourselves the conception of the _dream distortion_ and of the
censorship, and ventured to crystallize our impression in a rather
crude, but at least definite, psychological theory. Whatever explanation
the future may offer of these first and second procedures, we shall
expect a confirmation of our correlate that the second procedure
commands the entrance to consciousness, and can exclude the first from

Once the sleeping state overcome, the censorship resumes complete sway,
and is now able to revoke that which was granted in a moment of
weakness. That the _forgetting_ of dreams explains this in part, at
least, we are convinced by our experience, confirmed again and again.
During the relation of a dream, or during analysis of one, it not
infrequently happens that some fragment of the dream is suddenly
forgotten. This fragment so forgotten invariably contains the best and
readiest approach to an understanding of the dream. Probably that is why
it sinks into oblivion--_i.e._, into a renewed suppression.

Viewing the dream content as the representation of a realized desire,
and referring its vagueness to the changes made by the censor in the
repressed matter, it is no longer difficult to grasp the function of
dreams. In fundamental contrast with those saws which assume that sleep
is disturbed by dreams, we hold the _dream as the guardian of sleep_. So
far as children's dreams are concerned, our view should find ready

The sleeping state or the psychical change to sleep, whatsoever it be,
is brought about by the child being sent to sleep or compelled thereto
by fatigue, only assisted by the removal of all stimuli which might open
other objects to the psychical apparatus. The means which serve to keep
external stimuli distant are known; but what are the means we can employ
to depress the internal psychical stimuli which frustrate sleep? Look at
a mother getting her child to sleep. The child is full of beseeching; he
wants another kiss; he wants to play yet awhile. His requirements are in
part met, in part drastically put off till the following day. Clearly
these desires and needs, which agitate him, are hindrances to sleep.
Every one knows the charming story of the bad boy (Baldwin Groller's)
who awoke at night bellowing out, "_I want the rhinoceros_." A really
good boy, instead of bellowing, would have _dreamt_ that he was playing
with the rhinoceros. Because the dream which realizes his desire is
believed during sleep, it removes the desire and makes sleep possible.
It cannot be denied that this belief accords with the dream image,
because it is arrayed in the psychical appearance of probability; the
child is without the capacity which it will acquire later to distinguish
hallucinations or phantasies from reality.

The adult has learnt this differentiation; he has also learnt the
futility of desire, and by continuous practice manages to postpone his
aspirations, until they can be granted in some roundabout method by a
change in the external world. For this reason it is rare for him to have
his wishes realized during sleep in the short psychical way. It is even
possible that this never happens, and that everything which appears to
us like a child's dream demands a much more elaborate explanation. Thus
it is that for adults--for every sane person without exception--a
differentiation of the psychical matter has been fashioned which the
child knew not. A psychical procedure has been reached which, informed
by the experience of life, exercises with jealous power a dominating and
restraining influence upon psychical emotions; by its relation to
consciousness, and by its spontaneous mobility, it is endowed with the
greatest means of psychical power. A portion of the infantile emotions
has been withheld from this procedure as useless to life, and all the
thoughts which flow from these are found in the state of repression.

Whilst the procedure in which we recognize our normal ego reposes upon
the desire for sleep, it appears compelled by the psycho-physiological
conditions of sleep to abandon some of the energy with which it was wont
during the day to keep down what was repressed. This neglect is really
harmless; however much the emotions of the child's spirit may be
stirred, they find the approach to consciousness rendered difficult, and
that to movement blocked in consequence of the state of sleep. The
danger of their disturbing sleep must, however, be avoided. Moreover, we
must admit that even in deep sleep some amount of free attention is
exerted as a protection against sense-stimuli which might, perchance,
make an awakening seem wiser than the continuance of sleep. Otherwise we
could not explain the fact of our being always awakened by stimuli of
certain quality. As the old physiologist Burdach pointed out, the mother
is awakened by the whimpering of her child, the miller by the cessation
of his mill, most people by gently calling out their names. This
attention, thus on the alert, makes use of the internal stimuli arising
from repressed desires, and fuses them into the dream, which as a
compromise satisfies both procedures at the same time. The dream creates
a form of psychical release for the wish which is either suppressed or
formed by the aid of repression, inasmuch as it presents it as realized.
The other procedure is also satisfied, since the continuance of the
sleep is assured. Our ego here gladly behaves like a child; it makes the
dream pictures believable, saying, as it were, "Quite right, but let me
sleep." The contempt which, once awakened, we bear the dream, and which
rests upon the absurdity and apparent illogicality of the dream, is
probably nothing but the reasoning of our sleeping ego on the feelings
about what was repressed; with greater right it should rest upon the
incompetency of this disturber of our sleep. In sleep we are now and
then aware of this contempt; the dream content transcends the censorship
rather too much, we think, "It's only a dream," and sleep on.

It is no objection to this view if there are borderlines for the dream
where its function, to preserve sleep from interruption, can no longer
be maintained--as in the dreams of impending dread. It is here changed
for another function--to suspend the sleep at the proper time. It acts
like a conscientious night-watchman, who first does his duty by quelling
disturbances so as not to waken the citizen, but equally does his duty
quite properly when he awakens the street should the causes of the
trouble seem to him serious and himself unable to cope with them alone.

This function of dreams becomes especially well marked when there arises
some incentive for the sense perception. That the senses aroused during
sleep influence the dream is well known, and can be experimentally
verified; it is one of the certain but much overestimated results of the
medical investigation of dreams. Hitherto there has been an insoluble
riddle connected with this discovery. The stimulus to the sense by which
the investigator affects the sleeper is not properly recognized in the
dream, but is intermingled with a number of indefinite interpretations,
whose determination appears left to psychical free-will. There is, of
course, no such psychical free-will. To an external sense-stimulus the
sleeper can react in many ways. Either he awakens or he succeeds in
sleeping on. In the latter case he can make use of the dream to dismiss
the external stimulus, and this, again, in more ways than one. For
instance, he can stay the stimulus by dreaming of a scene which is
absolutely intolerable to him. This was the means used by one who was
troubled by a painful perineal abscess. He dreamt that he was on
horseback, and made use of the poultice, which was intended to
alleviate his pain, as a saddle, and thus got away from the cause of the
trouble. Or, as is more frequently the case, the external stimulus
undergoes a new rendering, which leads him to connect it with a
repressed desire seeking its realization, and robs him of its reality,
and is treated as if it were a part of the psychical matter. Thus, some
one dreamt that he had written a comedy which embodied a definite
_motif_; it was being performed; the first act was over amid
enthusiastic applause; there was great clapping. At this moment the
dreamer must have succeeded in prolonging his sleep despite the
disturbance, for when he woke he no longer heard the noise; he concluded
rightly that some one must have been beating a carpet or bed. The dreams
which come with a loud noise just before waking have all attempted to
cover the stimulus to waking by some other explanation, and thus to
prolong the sleep for a little while.

Whosoever has firmly accepted this _censorship_ as the chief motive for
the distortion of dreams will not be surprised to learn as the result of
dream interpretation that most of the dreams of adults are traced by
analysis to erotic desires. This assertion is not drawn from dreams
obviously of a sexual nature, which are known to all dreamers from their
own experience, and are the only ones usually described as "sexual
dreams." These dreams are ever sufficiently mysterious by reason of the
choice of persons who are made the objects of sex, the removal of all
the barriers which cry halt to the dreamer's sexual needs in his waking
state, the many strange reminders as to details of what are called
perversions. But analysis discovers that, in many other dreams in whose
manifest content nothing erotic can be found, the work of interpretation
shows them up as, in reality, realization of sexual desires; whilst, on
the other hand, that much of the thought-making when awake, the thoughts
saved us as surplus from the day only, reaches presentation in dreams
with the help of repressed erotic desires.

Towards the explanation of this statement, which is no theoretical
postulate, it must be remembered that no other class of instincts has
required so vast a suppression at the behest of civilization as the
sexual, whilst their mastery by the highest psychical processes are in
most persons soonest of all relinquished. Since we have learnt to
understand _infantile sexuality_, often so vague in its expression, so
invariably overlooked and misunderstood, we are justified in saying that
nearly every civilized person has retained at some point or other the
infantile type of sex life; thus we understand that repressed infantile
sex desires furnish the most frequent and most powerful impulses for the
formation of dreams.[1]

If the dream, which is the expression of some erotic desire, succeeds in
making its manifest content appear innocently asexual, it is only
possible in one way. The matter of these sexual presentations cannot be
exhibited as such, but must be replaced by allusions, suggestions, and
similar indirect means; differing from other cases of indirect
presentation, those used in dreams must be deprived of direct
understanding. The means of presentation which answer these requirements
are commonly termed "symbols." A special interest has been directed
towards these, since it has been observed that the dreamers of the same
language use the like symbols--indeed, that in certain cases community
of symbol is greater than community of speech. Since the dreamers do not
themselves know the meaning of the symbols they use, it remains a puzzle
whence arises their relationship with what they replace and denote. The
fact itself is undoubted, and becomes of importance for the technique of
the interpretation of dreams, since by the aid of a knowledge of this
symbolism it is possible to understand the meaning of the elements of a
dream, or parts of a dream, occasionally even the whole dream itself,
without having to question the dreamer as to his own ideas. We thus come
near to the popular idea of an interpretation of dreams, and, on the
other hand, possess again the technique of the ancients, among whom the
interpretation of dreams was identical with their explanation through

Though the study of dream symbolism is far removed from finality, we now
possess a series of general statements and of particular observations
which are quite certain. There are symbols which practically always have
the same meaning: Emperor and Empress (King and Queen) always mean the
parents; room, a woman[2], and so on. The sexes are represented by a
great variety of symbols, many of which would be at first quite
incomprehensible had not the clews to the meaning been often obtained
through other channels.

There are symbols of universal circulation, found in all dreamers, of
one range of speech and culture; there are others of the narrowest
individual significance which an individual has built up out of his own
material. In the first class those can be differentiated whose claim can
be at once recognized by the replacement of sexual things in common
speech (those, for instance, arising from agriculture, as reproduction,
seed) from others whose sexual references appear to reach back to the
earliest times and to the obscurest depths of our image-building. The
power of building symbols in both these special forms of symbols has not
died out. Recently discovered things, like the airship, are at once
brought into universal use as sex symbols.

It would be quite an error to suppose that a profounder knowledge of
dream symbolism (the "Language of Dreams") would make us independent of
questioning the dreamer regarding his impressions about the dream, and
would give us back the whole technique of ancient dream interpreters.
Apart from individual symbols and the variations in the use of what is
general, one never knows whether an element in the dream is to be
understood symbolically or in its proper meaning; the whole content of
the dream is certainly not to be interpreted symbolically. The knowledge
of dream symbols will only help us in understanding portions of the
dream content, and does not render the use of the technical rules
previously given at all superfluous. But it must be of the greatest
service in interpreting a dream just when the impressions of the dreamer
are withheld or are insufficient.

Dream symbolism proves also indispensable for understanding the
so-called "typical" dreams and the dreams that "repeat themselves."
Dream symbolism leads us far beyond the dream; it does not belong only
to dreams, but is likewise dominant in legend, myth, and saga, in wit
and in folklore. It compels us to pursue the inner meaning of the dream
in these productions. But we must acknowledge that symbolism is not a
result of the dream work, but is a peculiarity probably of our
unconscious thinking, which furnishes to the dream work the matter for
condensation, displacement, and dramatization.

[1] Freud, "Three Contributions to Sexual Theory," translated by A.A.
Brill (_Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease_ Publishing Company, New

[2] The words from "and" to "channels" in the next sentence is a short
summary of the passage in the original. As this book will be read by
other than professional people the passage has not been translated, in
deference to English opinion.--TRANSLATOR.



Perhaps we shall now begin to suspect that dream interpretation is
capable of giving us hints about the structure of our psychic apparatus
which we have thus far expected in vain from philosophy. We shall not,
however, follow this track, but return to our original problem as soon
as we have cleared up the subject of dream-disfigurement. The question
has arisen how dreams with disagreeable content can be analyzed as the
fulfillment of wishes. We see now that this is possible in case
dream-disfigurement has taken place, in case the disagreeable content
serves only as a disguise for what is wished. Keeping in mind our
assumptions in regard to the two psychic instances, we may now proceed
to say: disagreeable dreams, as a matter of fact, contain something
which is disagreeable to the second instance, but which at the same time
fulfills a wish of the first instance. They are wish dreams in the sense
that every dream originates in the first instance, while the second
instance acts towards the dream only in repelling, not in a creative
manner. If we limit ourselves to a consideration of what the second
instance contributes to the dream, we can never understand the dream. If
we do so, all the riddles which the authors have found in the dream
remain unsolved.

That the dream actually has a secret meaning, which turns out to be the
fulfillment of a wish, must be proved afresh for every case by means of
an analysis. I therefore select several dreams which have painful
contents and attempt an analysis of them. They are partly dreams of
hysterical subjects, which require long preliminary statements, and now
and then also an examination of the psychic processes which occur in
hysteria. I cannot, however, avoid this added difficulty in the

When I give a psychoneurotic patient analytical treatment, dreams are
always, as I have said, the subject of our discussion. It must,
therefore, give him all the psychological explanations through whose aid
I myself have come to an understanding of his symptoms, and here I
undergo an unsparing criticism, which is perhaps not less keen than that
I must expect from my colleagues. Contradiction of the thesis that all
dreams are the fulfillments of wishes is raised by my patients with
perfect regularity. Here are several examples of the dream material
which is offered me to refute this position.

"You always tell me that the dream is a wish fulfilled," begins a clever
lady patient. "Now I shall tell you a dream in which the content is
quite the opposite, in which a wish of mine is _not_ fulfilled. How do
you reconcile that with your theory? The dream is as follows:--

_"I want to give a supper, but having nothing at hand except some smoked
salmon, I think of going marketing, but I remember that it is Sunday
afternoon, when all the shops are closed. I next try to telephone to
some caterers, but the telephone is out of order.... Thus I must resign
my wish to give a supper."_

I answer, of course, that only the analysis can decide the meaning of
this dream, although I admit that at first sight it seems sensible and
coherent, and looks like the opposite of a wish-fulfillment. "But what
occurrence has given rise to this dream?" I ask. "You know that the
stimulus for a dream always lies among the experiences of the preceding

_Analysis._--The husband of the patient, an upright and conscientious
wholesale butcher, had told her the day before that he is growing too
fat, and that he must, therefore, begin treatment for obesity. He was
going to get up early, take exercise, keep to a strict diet, and above
all accept no more invitations to suppers. She proceeds laughingly to
relate how her husband at an inn table had made the acquaintance of an
artist, who insisted upon painting his portrait because he, the painter,
had never found such an expressive head. But her husband had answered in
his rough way, that he was very thankful for the honor, but that he was
quite convinced that a portion of the backside of a pretty young girl
would please the artist better than his whole face[1]. She said that she
was at the time very much in love with her husband, and teased him a
good deal. She had also asked him not to send her any caviare. What does
that mean?

As a matter of fact, she had wanted for a long time to eat a caviare
sandwich every forenoon, but had grudged herself the expense. Of course,
she would at once get the caviare from her husband, as soon as she asked
him for it. But she had begged him, on the contrary, not to send her the
caviare, in order that she might tease him about it longer.

This explanation seems far-fetched to me. Unadmitted motives are in the
habit of hiding behind such unsatisfactory explanations. We are reminded
of subjects hypnotized by Bernheim, who carried out a posthypnotic
order, and who, upon being asked for their motives, instead of
answering: "I do not know why I did that," had to invent a reason that
was obviously inadequate. Something similar is probably the case with
the caviare of my patient. I see that she is compelled to create an
unfulfilled wish in life. Her dream also shows the reproduction of the
wish as accomplished. But why does she need an unfulfilled wish?

The ideas so far produced are insufficient for the interpretation of the
dream. I beg for more. After a short pause, which corresponds to the
overcoming of a resistance, she reports further that the day before she
had made a visit to a friend, of whom she is really jealous, because her
husband is always praising this woman so much. Fortunately, this friend
is very lean and thin, and her husband likes well-rounded figures. Now
of what did this lean friend speak? Naturally of her wish to become
somewhat stouter. She also asked my patient: "When are you going to
invite us again? You always have such a good table."

Now the meaning of the dream is clear. I may say to the patient: "It is
just as though you had thought at the time of the request: 'Of course,
I'll invite you, so you can eat yourself fat at my house and become
still more pleasing to my husband. I would rather give no more suppers.'
The dream then tells you that you cannot give a supper, thereby
fulfilling your wish not to contribute anything to the rounding out of
your friend's figure. The resolution of your husband to refuse
invitations to supper for the sake of getting thin teaches you that one
grows fat on the things served in company." Now only some conversation
is necessary to confirm the solution. The smoked salmon in the dream has
not yet been traced. "How did the salmon mentioned in the dream occur to
you?" "Smoked salmon is the favorite dish of this friend," she answered.
I happen to know the lady, and may corroborate this by saying that she
grudges herself the salmon just as much as my patient grudges herself
the caviare.

The dream admits of still another and more exact interpretation, which
is necessitated only by a subordinate circumstance. The two
interpretations do not contradict one another, but rather cover each
other and furnish a neat example of the usual ambiguity of dreams as
well as of all other psychopathological formations. We have seen that at
the same time that she dreams of the denial of the wish, the patient is
in reality occupied in securing an unfulfilled wish (the caviare
sandwiches). Her friend, too, had expressed a wish, namely, to get
fatter, and it would not surprise us if our lady had dreamt that the
wish of the friend was not being fulfilled. For it is her own wish that
a wish of her friend's--for increase in weight--should not be fulfilled.
Instead of this, however, she dreams that one of her own wishes is not
fulfilled. The dream becomes capable of a new interpretation, if in the
dream she does not intend herself, but her friend, if she has put
herself in the place of her friend, or, as we may say, has identified
herself with her friend.

I think she has actually done this, and as a sign of this identification
she has created an unfulfilled wish in reality. But what is the meaning
of this hysterical identification? To clear this up a thorough
exposition is necessary. Identification is a highly important factor in
the mechanism of hysterical symptoms; by this means patients are enabled
in their symptoms to represent not merely their own experiences, but the
experiences of a great number of other persons, and can suffer, as it
were, for a whole mass of people, and fill all the parts of a drama by
means of their own personalities alone. It will here be objected that
this is well-known hysterical imitation, the ability of hysteric
subjects to copy all the symptoms which impress them when they occur in
others, as though their pity were stimulated to the point of
reproduction. But this only indicates the way in which the psychic
process is discharged in hysterical imitation; the way in which a
psychic act proceeds and the act itself are two different things. The
latter is slightly more complicated than one is apt to imagine the
imitation of hysterical subjects to be: it corresponds to an unconscious
concluded process, as an example will show. The physician who has a
female patient with a particular kind of twitching, lodged in the
company of other patients in the same room of the hospital, is not
surprised when some morning he learns that this peculiar hysterical
attack has found imitations. He simply says to himself: The others have
seen her and have done likewise: that is psychic infection. Yes, but
psychic infection proceeds in somewhat the following manner: As a rule,
patients know more about one another than the physician knows about each
of them, and they are concerned about each other when the visit of the
doctor is over. Some of them have an attack to-day: soon it is known
among the rest that a letter from home, a return of lovesickness or the
like, is the cause of it. Their sympathy is aroused, and the following
syllogism, which does not reach consciousness, is completed in them: "If
it is possible to have this kind of an attack from such causes, I too
may have this kind of an attack, for I have the same reasons." If this
were a cycle capable of becoming conscious, it would perhaps express
itself in _fear_ of getting the same attack; but it takes place in
another psychic sphere, and, therefore, ends in the realization of the
dreaded symptom. Identification is therefore not a simple imitation, but
a sympathy based upon the same etiological claim; it expresses an "as
though," and refers to some common quality which has remained in the

Identification is most often used in hysteria to express sexual
community. An hysterical woman identifies herself most readily--although
not exclusively--with persons with whom she has had sexual relations, or
who have sexual intercourse with the same persons as herself. Language
takes such a conception into consideration: two lovers are "one." In the
hysterical phantasy, as well as in the dream, it is sufficient for the
identification if one thinks of sexual relations, whether or not they
become real. The patient, then, only follows the rules of the hysterical
thought processes when she gives expression to her jealousy of her
friend (which, moreover, she herself admits to be unjustified, in that
she puts herself in her place and identifies herself with her by
creating a symptom--the denied wish). I might further clarify the
process specifically as follows: She puts herself in the place of her
friend in the dream, because her friend has taken her own place relation
to her husband, and because she would like to take her friend's place in
the esteem of her husband[2].

The contradiction to my theory of dreams in the case of another female
patient, the most witty among all my dreamers, was solved in a simpler
manner, although according to the scheme that the non-fulfillment of one
wish signifies the fulfillment of another. I had one day explained to
her that the dream is a wish of fulfillment. The next day she brought me
a dream to the effect that she was traveling with her mother-in-law to
their common summer resort. Now I knew that she had struggled violently
against spending the summer in the neighborhood of her mother-in-law. I
also knew that she had luckily avoided her mother-in-law by renting an
estate in a far-distant country resort. Now the dream reversed this
wished-for solution; was not this in the flattest contradiction to my
theory of wish-fulfillment in the dream? Certainly, it was only
necessary to draw the inferences from this dream in order to get at its
interpretation. According to this dream, I was in the wrong. _It was
thus her wish that I should be in the wrong, and this wish the dream
showed her as fulfilled._ But the wish that I should be in the wrong,
which was fulfilled in the theme of the country home, referred to a more
serious matter. At that time I had made up my mind, from the material
furnished by her analysis, that something of significance for her
illness must have occurred at a certain time in her life. She had denied
it because it was not present in her memory. We soon came to see that I
was in the right. Her wish that I should be in the wrong, which is
transformed into the dream, thus corresponded to the justifiable wish
that those things, which at the time had only been suspected, had never
occurred at all.

Without an analysis, and merely by means of an assumption, I took the
liberty of interpreting a little occurrence in the case of a friend, who
had been my colleague through the eight classes of the Gymnasium. He
once heard a lecture of mine delivered to a small assemblage, on the
novel subject of the dream as the fulfillment of a wish. He went home,
dreamt _that he had lost all his suits_--he was a lawyer--and then
complained to me about it. I took refuge in the evasion: "One can't win
all one's suits," but I thought to myself: "If for eight years I sat as
Primus on the first bench, while he moved around somewhere in the middle
of the class, may he not naturally have had a wish from his boyhood days
that I, too, might for once completely disgrace myself?"

In the same way another dream of a more gloomy character was offered me
by a female patient as a contradiction to my theory of the wish-dream.
The patient, a young girl, began as follows: "You remember that my
sister has now only one boy, Charles: she lost the elder one, Otto,
while I was still at her house. Otto was my favorite; it was I who
really brought him up. I like the other little fellow, too, but of
course not nearly as much as the dead one. Now I dreamt last night that
_I saw Charles lying dead before me. He was lying in his little coffin,
his hands folded: there were candles all about, and, in short, it was
just like the time of little Otto's death, which shocked me so
profoundly_. Now tell me, what does this mean? You know me: am I really
bad enough to wish my sister to lose the only child she has left? Or
does the dream mean that I wish Charles to be dead rather than Otto,
whom I like so much better?"

I assured her that this interpretation was impossible. After some
reflection I was able to give her the interpretation of the dream, which
I subsequently made her confirm.

Having become an orphan at an early age, the girl had been brought up in
the house of a much older sister, and had met among the friends and
visitors who came to the house, a man who made a lasting impression upon
her heart. It looked for a time as though these barely expressed
relations were to end in marriage, but this happy culmination was
frustrated by the sister, whose motives have never found a complete
explanation. After the break, the man who was loved by our patient
avoided the house: she herself became independent some time after little
Otto's death, to whom her affection had now turned. But she did not
succeed in freeing herself from the inclination for her sister's friend
in which she had become involved. Her pride commanded her to avoid him;
but it was impossible for her to transfer her love to the other suitors
who presented themselves in order. Whenever the man whom she loved, who
was a member of the literary profession, announced a lecture anywhere,
she was sure to be found in the audience; she also seized every other
opportunity to see him from a distance unobserved by him. I remembered
that on the day before she had told me that the Professor was going to a
certain concert, and that she was also going there, in order to enjoy
the sight of him. This was on the day of the dream; and the concert was
to take place on the day on which she told me the dream. I could now
easily see the correct interpretation, and I asked her whether she could
think of any event which had happened after the death of little Otto.
She answered immediately: "Certainly; at that time the Professor
returned after a long absence, and I saw him once more beside the coffin
of little Otto." It was exactly as I had expected. I interpreted the
dream in the following manner: "If now the other boy were to die, the
same thing would be repeated. You would spend the day with your sister,
the Professor would surely come in order to offer condolence, and you
would see him again under the same circumstances as at that time. The
dream signifies nothing but this wish of yours to see him again, against
which you are fighting inwardly. I know that you are carrying the ticket
for to-day's concert in your bag. Your dream is a dream of impatience;
it has anticipated the meeting which is to take place to-day by several

In order to disguise her wish she had obviously selected a situation in
which wishes of that sort are commonly suppressed--a situation which is
so filled with sorrow that love is not thought of. And yet, it is very
easily probable that even in the actual situation at the bier of the
second, more dearly loved boy, which the dream copied faithfully, she
had not been able to suppress her feelings of affection for the visitor
whom she had missed for so long a time.

A different explanation was found in the case of a similar dream of
another female patient, who was distinguished in her earlier years by
her quick wit and her cheerful demeanors and who still showed these
qualities at least in the notion, which occurred to her in the course of
treatment. In connection with a longer dream, it seemed to this lady
that she saw her fifteen-year-old daughter lying dead before her in a
box. She was strongly inclined to convert this dream-image into an
objection to the theory of wish-fulfillment, but herself suspected that
the detail of the box must lead to a different conception of the
dream.[3] In the course of the analysis it occurred to her that on the
evening before, the conversation of the company had turned upon the
English word "box," and upon the numerous translations of it into
German, such as box, theater box, chest, box on the ear, &c. From other
components of the same dream it is now possible to add that the lady had
guessed the relationship between the English word "box" and the German
_Büchse_, and had then been haunted by the memory that _Büchse_ (as well
as "box") is used in vulgar speech to designate the female genital
organ. It was therefore possible, making a certain allowance for her
notions on the subject of topographical anatomy, to assume that the
child in the box signified a child in the womb of the mother. At this
stage of the explanation she no longer denied that the picture of the
dream really corresponded to one of her wishes. Like so many other young
women, she was by no means happy when she became pregnant, and admitted
to me more than once the wish that her child might die before its birth;
in a fit of anger following a violent scene with her husband she had
even struck her abdomen with her fists in order to hit the child within.
The dead child was, therefore, really the fulfillment of a wish, but a
wish which had been put aside for fifteen years, and it is not
surprising that the fulfillment of the wish was no longer recognized
after so long an interval. For there had been many changes meanwhile.

The group of dreams to which the two last mentioned belong, having as
content the death of beloved relatives, will be considered again under
the head of "Typical Dreams." I shall there be able to show by new
examples that in spite of their undesirable content, all these dreams
must be interpreted as wish-fulfillments. For the following dream, which
again was told me in order to deter me from a hasty generalization of
the theory of wishing in dreams, I am indebted, not to a patient, but to
an intelligent jurist of my acquaintance. "_I dream_," my informant
tells me, "_that I am walking in front of my house with a lady on my
arm. Here a closed wagon is waiting, a gentleman steps up to me, gives
his authority as an agent of the police, and demands that I should
follow him. I only ask for time in which to arrange my affairs._ Can you
possibly suppose this is a wish of mine to be arrested?" "Of course
not," I must admit. "Do you happen to know upon what charge you were
arrested?" "Yes; I believe for infanticide." "Infanticide? But you know
that only a mother can commit this crime upon her newly born child?"
"That is true."[4] "And under what circumstances did you dream; what
happened on the evening before?" "I would rather not tell you that; it
is a delicate matter." "But I must have it, otherwise we must forgo the
interpretation of the dream." "Well, then, I will tell you. I spent the
night, not at home, but at the house of a lady who means very much to
me. When we awoke in the morning, something again passed between us.
Then I went to sleep again, and dreamt what I have told you." "The woman
is married?" "Yes." "And you do not wish her to conceive a child?" "No;
that might betray us." "Then you do not practice normal coitus?" "I take
the precaution to withdraw before ejaculation." "Am I permitted to
assume that you did this trick several times during the night, and that
in the morning you were not quite sure whether you had succeeded?" "That
might be the case." "Then your dream is the fulfillment of a wish. By
means of it you secure the assurance that you have not begotten a child,
or, what amounts to the same thing, that you have killed a child. I can
easily demonstrate the connecting links. Do you remember, a few days ago
we were talking about the distress of matrimony (Ehenot), and about the
inconsistency of permitting the practice of coitus as long as no
impregnation takes place, while every delinquency after the ovum and
the semen meet and a foetus is formed is punished as a crime? In
connection with this, we also recalled the mediæval controversy about
the moment of time at which the soul is really lodged in the foetus,
since the concept of murder becomes admissible only from that point on.
Doubtless you also know the gruesome poem by Lenau, which puts
infanticide and the prevention of children on the same plane."
"Strangely enough, I had happened to think of Lenau during the
afternoon." "Another echo of your dream. And now I shall demonstrate to
you another subordinate wish-fulfillment in your dream. You walk in
front of your house with the lady on your arm. So you take her home,
instead of spending the night at her house, as you do in actuality. The
fact that the wish-fulfillment, which is the essence of the dream,
disguises itself in such an unpleasant form, has perhaps more than one
reason. From my essay on the etiology of anxiety neuroses, you will see
that I note interrupted coitus as one of the factors which cause the
development of neurotic fear. It would be consistent with this that if
after repeated cohabitation of the kind mentioned you should be left in
an uncomfortable mood, which now becomes an element in the composition
of your dream. You also make use of this unpleasant state of mind to
conceal the wish-fulfillment. Furthermore, the mention of infanticide
has not yet been explained. Why does this crime, which is peculiar to
females, occur to you?" "I shall confess to you that I was involved in
such an affair years ago. Through my fault a girl tried to protect
herself from the consequences of a _liaison_ with me by securing an
abortion. I had nothing to do with carrying out the plan, but I was
naturally for a long time worried lest the affair might be discovered."
"I understand; this recollection furnished a second reason why the
supposition that you had done your trick badly must have been painful to

A young physician, who had heard this dream of my colleague when it was
told, must have felt implicated by it, for he hastened to imitate it in
a dream of his own, applying its mode of thinking to another subject.
The day before he had handed in a declaration of his income, which was
perfectly honest, because he had little to declare. He dreamt that an
acquaintance of his came from a meeting of the tax commission and
informed him that all the other declarations of income had passed
uncontested, but that his own had awakened general suspicion, and that
he would be punished with a heavy fine. The dream is a poorly-concealed
fulfillment of the wish to be known as a physician with a large income.
It likewise recalls the story of the young girl who was advised against
accepting her suitor because he was a man of quick temper who would
surely treat her to blows after they were married.

The answer of the girl was: "I wish he _would_ strike me!" Her wish to
be married is so strong that she takes into the bargain the discomfort
which is said to be connected with matrimony, and which is predicted for
her, and even raises it to a wish.

If I group the very frequently occurring dreams of this sort, which seem
flatly to contradict my theory, in that they contain the denial of a
wish or some occurrence decidedly unwished for, under the head of
"counter wish-dreams," I observe that they may all be referred to two
principles, of which one has not yet been mentioned, although it plays a
large part in the dreams of human beings. One of the motives inspiring
these dreams is the wish that I should appear in the wrong. These dreams
regularly occur in the course of my treatment if the patient shows a
resistance against me, and I can count with a large degree of certainty
upon causing such a dream after I have once explained to the patient my
theory that the dream is a wish-fulfillment.[5] I may even expect this
to be the case in a dream merely in order to fulfill the wish that I may
appear in the wrong. The last dream which I shall tell from those
occurring in the course of treatment again shows this very thing. A
young girl who has struggled hard to continue my treatment, against the
will of her relatives and the authorities whom she had consulted, dreams
as follows: _She is forbidden at home to come to me any more. She then
reminds me of the promise I made her to treat her for nothing if
necessary, and I say to her: "I can show no consideration in money

It is not at all easy in this case to demonstrate the fulfillment of a
wish, but in all cases of this kind there is a second problem, the
solution of which helps also to solve the first. Where does she get the
words which she puts into my mouth? Of course I have never told her
anything like that, but one of her brothers, the very one who has the
greatest influence over her, has been kind enough to make this remark
about me. It is then the purpose of the dream that this brother should
remain in the right; and she does not try to justify this brother merely
in the dream; it is her purpose in life and the motive for her being

The other motive for counter wish-dreams is so clear that there is
danger of overlooking it, as for some time happened in my own case. In
the sexual make-up of many people there is a masochistic component,
which has arisen through the conversion of the aggressive, sadistic
component into its opposite. Such people are called "ideal" masochists,
if they seek pleasure not in the bodily pain which may be inflicted upon
them, but in humiliation and in chastisement of the soul. It is obvious
that such persons can have counter wish-dreams and disagreeable dreams,
which, however, for them are nothing but wish-fulfillment, affording
satisfaction for their masochistic inclinations. Here is such a dream. A
young man, who has in earlier years tormented his elder brother, towards
whom he was homosexually inclined, but who had undergone a complete
change of character, has the following dream, which consists of three
parts: (1) _He is "insulted" by his brother._ (2) _Two adults are
caressing each other with homosexual intentions._ (3) _His brother has
sold the enterprise whose management the young man reserved for his own
future._ He awakens from the last-mentioned dream with the most
unpleasant feelings, and yet it is a masochistic wish-dream, which might
be translated: It would serve me quite right if my brother were to make
that sale against my interest, as a punishment for all the torments
which he has suffered at my hands.

I hope that the above discussion and examples will suffice--until
further objection can be raised--to make it seem credible that even
dreams with a painful content are to be analyzed as the fulfillments of
wishes. Nor will it seem a matter of chance that in the course of
interpretation one always happens upon subjects of which one does not
like to speak or think. The disagreeable sensation which such dreams
arouse is simply identical with the antipathy which endeavors--usually
with success--to restrain us from the treatment or discussion of such
subjects, and which must be overcome by all of us, if, in spite of its
unpleasantness, we find it necessary to take the matter in hand. But
this disagreeable sensation, which occurs also in dreams, does not
preclude the existence of a wish; every one has wishes which he would
not like to tell to others, which he does not want to admit even to
himself. We are, on other grounds, justified in connecting the
disagreeable character of all these dreams with the fact of dream
disfigurement, and in concluding that these dreams are distorted, and
that the wish-fulfillment in them is disguised until recognition is
impossible for no other reason than that a repugnance, a will to
suppress, exists in relation to the subject-matter of the dream or in
relation to the wish which the dream creates. Dream disfigurement,
then, turns out in reality to be an act of the censor. We shall take
into consideration everything which the analysis of disagreeable dreams
has brought to light if we reword our formula as follows: _The dream is
the (disguised) fulfillment of a (suppressed, repressed) wish_.

Now there still remain as a particular species of dreams with painful
content, dreams of anxiety, the inclusion of which under dreams of
wishing will find least acceptance with the uninitiated. But I can
settle the problem of anxiety dreams in very short order; for what they
may reveal is not a new aspect of the dream problem; it is a question in
their case of understanding neurotic anxiety in general. The fear which
we experience in the dream is only seemingly explained by the dream
content. If we subject the content of the dream to analysis, we become
aware that the dream fear is no more justified by the dream content than
the fear in a phobia is justified by the idea upon which the phobia
depends. For example, it is true that it is possible to fall out of a
window, and that some care must be exercised when one is near a window,
but it is inexplicable why the anxiety in the corresponding phobia is so
great, and why it follows its victims to an extent so much greater than
is warranted by its origin. The same explanation, then, which applies to
the phobia applies also to the dream of anxiety. In both cases the
anxiety is only superficially attached to the idea which accompanies it
and comes from another source.

On account of the intimate relation of dream fear to neurotic fear,
discussion of the former obliges me to refer to the latter. In a little
essay on "The Anxiety Neurosis,"[6] I maintained that neurotic fear has
its origin in the sexual life, and corresponds to a libido which has
been turned away from its object and has not succeeded in being applied.
From this formula, which has since proved its validity more and more
clearly, we may deduce the conclusion that the content of anxiety dreams
is of a sexual nature, the libido belonging to which content has been
transformed into fear.

[1] To sit for the painter. Goethe: "And if he has no backside, how can
the nobleman sit?"

[2] I myself regret the introduction of such passages from the
psychopathology of hysteria, which, because of their fragmentary
representation and of being torn from all connection with the subject,
cannot have a very enlightening influence. If these passages are capable
of throwing light upon the intimate relations between the dream and the
psychoneuroses, they have served the purpose for which I have taken them

[3] Something like the smoked salmon in the dream of the deferred

[4] It often happens that a dream is told incompletely, and that a
recollection of the omitted portions appear only in the course of the
analysis. These portions subsequently fitted in, regularly furnish the
key to the interpretation. _Cf._ below, about forgetting in dreams.

[5] Similar "counter wish-dreams" have been repeatedly reported to me
within the last few years by my pupils who thus reacted to their first
encounter with the "wish theory of the dream."

[6] See _Selected Papers on Hysteria and other Psychoneuroses_, p. 133,
translated by A.A. Brill, _Journal of Nervous and Mental Diseases_,
Monograph Series.



The more one is occupied with the solution of dreams, the more willing
one must become to acknowledge that the majority of the dreams of adults
treat of sexual material and give expression to erotic wishes. Only one
who really analyzes dreams, that is to say, who pushes forward from
their manifest content to the latent dream thoughts, can form an opinion
on this subject--never the person who is satisfied with registering the
manifest content (as, for example, Näcke in his works on sexual dreams).
Let us recognize at once that this fact is not to be wondered at, but
that it is in complete harmony with the fundamental assumptions of dream
explanation. No other impulse has had to undergo so much suppression
from the time of childhood as the sex impulse in its numerous
components, from no other impulse have survived so many and such intense
unconscious wishes, which now act in the sleeping state in such a manner
as to produce dreams. In dream interpretation, this significance of
sexual complexes must never be forgotten, nor must they, of course, be
exaggerated to the point of being considered exclusive.

Of many dreams it can be ascertained by a careful interpretation that
they are even to be taken bisexually, inasmuch as they result in an
irrefutable secondary interpretation in which they realize homosexual
feelings--that is, feelings that are common to the normal sexual
activity of the dreaming person. But that all dreams are to be
interpreted bisexually, seems to me to be a generalization as
indemonstrable as it is improbable, which I should not like to support.
Above all I should not know how to dispose of the apparent fact that
there are many dreams satisfying other than--in the widest sense--erotic
needs, as dreams of hunger, thirst, convenience, &c. Likewise the
similar assertions "that behind every dream one finds the death
sentence" (Stekel), and that every dream shows "a continuation from the
feminine to the masculine line" (Adler), seem to me to proceed far
beyond what is admissible in the interpretation of dreams.

We have already asserted elsewhere that dreams which are conspicuously
innocent invariably embody coarse erotic wishes, and we might confirm
this by means of numerous fresh examples. But many dreams which appear
indifferent, and which would never be suspected of any particular
significance, can be traced back, after analysis, to unmistakably sexual
wish-feelings, which are often of an unexpected nature. For example,
who would suspect a sexual wish in the following dream until the
interpretation had been worked out? The dreamer relates: _Between two
stately palaces stands a little house, receding somewhat, whose doors
are closed. My wife leads me a little way along the street up to the
little house, and pushes in the door, and then I slip quickly and easily
into the interior of a courtyard that slants obliquely upwards._

Any one who has had experience in the translating of dreams will, of
course, immediately perceive that penetrating into narrow spaces, and
opening locked doors, belong to the commonest sexual symbolism, and will
easily find in this dream a representation of attempted coition from
behind (between the two stately buttocks of the female body). The narrow
slanting passage is of course the vagina; the assistance attributed to
the wife of the dreamer requires the interpretation that in reality it
is only consideration for the wife which is responsible for the
detention from such an attempt. Moreover, inquiry shows that on the
previous day a young girl had entered the household of the dreamer who
had pleased him, and who had given him the impression that she would not
be altogether opposed to an approach of this sort. The little house
between the two palaces is taken from a reminiscence of the Hradschin
in Prague, and thus points again to the girl who is a native of that

If with my patients I emphasize the frequency of the Oedipus dream--of
having sexual intercourse with one's mother--I get the answer: "I cannot
remember such a dream." Immediately afterwards, however, there arises
the recollection of another disguised and indifferent dream, which has
been dreamed repeatedly by the patient, and the analysis shows it to be
a dream of this same content--that is, another Oedipus dream. I can
assure the reader that veiled dreams of sexual intercourse with the
mother are a great deal more frequent than open ones to the same effect.

There are dreams about landscapes and localities in which emphasis is
always laid upon the assurance: "I have been there before." In this case
the locality is always the genital organ of the mother; it can indeed be
asserted with such certainty of no other locality that one "has been
there before."

A large number of dreams, often full of fear, which are concerned with
passing through narrow spaces or with staying, in the water, are based
upon fancies about the embryonic life, about the sojourn in the mother's
womb, and about the act of birth. The following is the dream of a young
man who in his fancy has already while in embryo taken advantage of his
opportunity to spy upon an act of coition between his parents.

_"He is in a deep shaft, in which there is a window, as in the Semmering
Tunnel. At first he sees an empty landscape through this window, and
then he composes a picture into it, which is immediately at hand and
which fills out the empty space. The picture represents a field which is
being thoroughly harrowed by an implement, and the delightful air, the
accompanying idea of hard work, and the bluish-black clods of earth make
a pleasant impression. He then goes on and sees a primary school opened
... and he is surprised that so much attention is devoted in it to the
sexual feelings of the child, which makes him think of me."_

Here is a pretty water-dream of a female patient, which was turned to
extraordinary account in the course of treatment.

_At her summer resort at the ... Lake, she hurls herself into the dark
water at a place where the pale moon is reflected in the water._

Dreams of this sort are parturition dreams; their interpretation is
accomplished by reversing the fact reported in the manifest dream
content; thus, instead of "throwing one's self into the water," read
"coming out of the water," that is, "being born." The place from which
one is born is recognized if one thinks of the bad sense of the French
"la lune." The pale moon thus becomes the white "bottom" (Popo), which
the child soon recognizes as the place from which it came. Now what can
be the meaning of the patient's wishing to be born at her summer resort?
I asked the dreamer this, and she answered without hesitation: "Hasn't
the treatment made me as though I were born again?" Thus the dream
becomes an invitation to continue the cure at this summer resort, that
is, to visit her there; perhaps it also contains a very bashful allusion
to the wish to become a mother herself.[1]

Another dream of parturition, with its interpretation, I take from the
work of E. Jones. _"She stood at the seashore watching a small boy, who
seemed to be hers, wading into the water. This he did till the water
covered him, and she could only see his head bobbing up and down near
the surface. The scene then changed to the crowded hall of a hotel. Her
husband left her, and she 'entered into conversation with' a
stranger."_ The second half of the dream was discovered in the analysis
to represent a flight from her husband, and the entering into intimate
relations with a third person, behind whom was plainly indicated Mr.
X.'s brother mentioned in a former dream. The first part of the dream
was a fairly evident birth phantasy. In dreams as in mythology, the
delivery of a child _from_ the uterine waters is commonly presented by
distortion as the entry of the child _into_ water; among many others,
the births of Adonis, Osiris, Moses, and Bacchus are well-known
illustrations of this. The bobbing up and down of the head in the water
at once recalled to the patient the sensation of quickening she had
experienced in her only pregnancy. Thinking of the boy going into the
water induced a reverie in which she saw herself taking him out of the
water, carrying him into the nursery, washing him and dressing him, and
installing him in her household.

The second half of the dream, therefore, represents thoughts concerning
the elopement, which belonged to the first half of the underlying latent
content; the first half of the dream corresponded with the second half
of the latent content, the birth phantasy. Besides this inversion in
order, further inversions took place in each half of the dream. In the
first half the child _entered_ the water, and then his head bobbed; in
the underlying dream thoughts first the quickening occurred, and then
the child left the water (a double inversion). In the second half her
husband left her; in the dream thoughts she left her husband.

Another parturition dream is related by Abraham of a young woman looking
forward to her first confinement. From a place in the floor of the house
a subterranean canal leads directly into the water (parturition path,
amniotic liquor). She lifts up a trap in the floor, and there
immediately appears a creature dressed in a brownish fur, which almost
resembles a seal. This creature changes into the younger brother of the
dreamer, to whom she has always stood in maternal relationship.

Dreams of "saving" are connected with parturition dreams. To save,
especially to save from the water, is equivalent to giving birth when
dreamed by a woman; this sense is, however, modified when the dreamer is
a man.

Robbers, burglars at night, and ghosts, of which we are afraid before
going to bed, and which occasionally even disturb our sleep, originate
in one and the same childish reminiscence. They are the nightly visitors
who have awakened the child to set it on the chamber so that it may not
wet the bed, or have lifted the cover in order to see clearly how the
child is holding its hands while sleeping. I have been able to induce an
exact recollection of the nocturnal visitor in the analysis of some of
these anxiety dreams. The robbers were always the father, the ghosts
more probably corresponded to feminine persons with white night-gowns.

When one has become familiar with the abundant use of symbolism for the
representation of sexual material in dreams, one naturally raises the
question whether there are not many of these symbols which appear once
and for all with a firmly established significance like the signs in
stenography; and one is tempted to compile a new dream-book according to
the cipher method. In this connection it may be remarked that this
symbolism does not belong peculiarly to the dream, but rather to
unconscious thinking, particularly that of the masses, and it is to be
found in greater perfection in the folklore, in the myths, legends, and
manners of speech, in the proverbial sayings, and in the current
witticisms of a nation than in its dreams.

The dream takes advantage of this symbolism in order to give a disguised
representation to its latent thoughts. Among the symbols which are used
in this manner there are of course many which regularly, or almost
regularly, mean the same thing. Only it is necessary to keep in mind the
curious plasticity of psychic material. Now and then a symbol in the
dream content may have to be interpreted not symbolically, but according
to its real meaning; at another time the dreamer, owing to a peculiar
set of recollections, may create for himself the right to use anything
whatever as a sexual symbol, though it is not ordinarily used in that
way. Nor are the most frequently used sexual symbols unambiguous every

After these limitations and reservations I may call attention to the
following: Emperor and Empress (King and Queen) in most cases really
represent the parents of the dreamer; the dreamer himself or herself is
the prince or princess. All elongated objects, sticks, tree-trunks, and
umbrellas (on account of the stretching-up which might be compared to an
erection! all elongated and sharp weapons, knives, daggers, and pikes,
are intended to represent the male member. A frequent, not very
intelligible, symbol for the same is a nail-file (on account of the
rubbing and scraping?). Little cases, boxes, caskets, closets, and
stoves correspond to the female part. The symbolism of lock and key has
been very gracefully employed by Uhland in his song about the "Grafen
Eberstein," to make a common smutty joke. The dream of walking through a
row of rooms is a brothel or harem dream. Staircases, ladders, and
flights of stairs, or climbing on these, either upwards or downwards,
are symbolic representations of the sexual act. Smooth walls over which
one is climbing, façades of houses upon which one is letting oneself
down, frequently under great anxiety, correspond to the erect human
body, and probably repeat in the dream reminiscences of the upward
climbing of little children on their parents or foster parents. "Smooth"
walls are men. Often in a dream of anxiety one is holding on firmly to
some projection from a house. Tables, set tables, and boards are women,
perhaps on account of the opposition which does away with the bodily
contours. Since "bed and board" (_mensa et thorus_) constitute marriage,
the former are often put for the latter in the dream, and as far as
practicable the sexual presentation complex is transposed to the eating
complex. Of articles of dress the woman's hat may frequently be
definitely interpreted as the male genital. In dreams of men one often
finds the cravat as a symbol for the penis; this indeed is not only
because cravats hang down long, and are characteristic of the man, but
also because one can select them at pleasure, a freedom which is
prohibited by nature in the original of the symbol. Persons who make use
of this symbol in the dream are very extravagant with cravats, and
possess regular collections of them. All complicated machines and
apparatus in dream are very probably genitals, in the description of
which dream symbolism shows itself to be as tireless as the activity of
wit. Likewise many landscapes in dreams, especially with bridges or with
wooded mountains, can be readily recognized as descriptions of the
genitals. Finally where one finds incomprehensible neologisms one may
think of combinations made up of components having a sexual
significance. Children also in the dream often signify the genitals, as
men and women are in the habit of fondly referring to their genital
organ as their "little one." As a very recent symbol of the male genital
may be mentioned the flying machine, utilization of which is justified
by its relation to flying as well as occasionally by its form. To play
with a little child or to beat a little one is often the dream's
representation of onanism. A number of other symbols, in part not
sufficiently verified are given by Stekel, who illustrates them with
examples. Right and left, according to him, are to be conceived in the
dream in an ethical sense. "The right way always signifies the road to
righteousness, the left the one to crime. Thus the left may signify
homosexuality, incest, and perversion, while the right signifies
marriage, relations with a prostitute, &c. The meaning is always
determined by the individual moral view-point of the dreamer." Relatives
in the dream generally play the rôle of genitals. Not to be able to
catch up with a wagon is interpreted by Stekel as regret not to be able
to come up to a difference in age. Baggage with which one travels is the
burden of sin by which one is oppressed. Also numbers, which frequently
occur in the dream, are assigned by Stekel a fixed symbolical meaning,
but these interpretations seem neither sufficiently verified nor of
general validity, although the interpretation in individual cases can
generally be recognized as probable. In a recently published book by W.
Stekel, _Die Sprache des Traumes_, which I was unable to utilize, there
is a list of the most common sexual symbols, the object of which is to
prove that all sexual symbols can be bisexually used. He states: "Is
there a symbol which (if in any way permitted by the phantasy) may not
be used simultaneously in the masculine and the feminine sense!" To be
sure the clause in parentheses takes away much of the absoluteness of
this assertion, for this is not at all permitted by the phantasy. I do
not, however, think it superfluous to state that in my experience
Stekel's general statement has to give way to the recognition of a
greater manifoldness. Besides those symbols, which are just as frequent
for the male as for the female genitals, there are others which
preponderately, or almost exclusively, designate one of the sexes, and
there are still others of which only the male or only the female
signification is known. To use long, firm objects and weapons as symbols
of the female genitals, or hollow objects (chests, pouches, &c.), as
symbols of the male genitals, is indeed not allowed by the fancy.

It is true that the tendency of the dream and the unconscious fancy to
utilize the sexual symbol bisexually betrays an archaic trend, for in
childhood a difference in the genitals is unknown, and the same genitals
are attributed to both sexes.

These very incomplete suggestions may suffice to stimulate others to
make a more careful collection.

I shall now add a few examples of the application of such symbolisms in
dreams, which will serve to show how impossible it becomes to interpret
a dream without taking into account the symbolism of dreams, and how
imperatively it obtrudes itself in many cases.

1. The hat as a symbol of the man (of the male genital): (a fragment
from the dream of a young woman who suffered from agoraphobia on account
of a fear of temptation).

"I am walking in the street in summer, I wear a straw hat of peculiar
shape, the middle piece of which is bent upwards and the side pieces of
which hang downwards (the description became here obstructed), and in
such a fashion that one is lower than the other. I am cheerful and in a
confidential mood, and as I pass a troop of young officers I think to
myself: None of you can have any designs upon me."

As she could produce no associations to the hat, I said to her: "The hat
is really a male genital, with its raised middle piece and the two
downward hanging side pieces." I intentionally refrained from
interpreting those details concerning the unequal downward hanging of
the two side pieces, although just such individualities in the
determinations lead the way to the interpretation. I continued by saying
that if she only had a man with such a virile genital she would not have
to fear the officers--that is, she would have nothing to wish from them,
for she is mainly kept from going without protection and company by her
fancies of temptation. This last explanation of her fear I had already
been able to give her repeatedly on the basis of other material.

It is quite remarkable how the dreamer behaved after this
interpretation. She withdrew her description of the hat, and claimed not
to have said that the two side pieces were hanging downwards. I was,
however, too sure of what I had heard to allow myself to be misled, and
I persisted in it. She was quiet for a while, and then found the courage
to ask why it was that one of her husband's testicles was lower than the
other, and whether it was the same in all men. With this the peculiar
detail of the hat was explained, and the whole interpretation was
accepted by her. The hat symbol was familiar to me long before the
patient related this dream. From other but less transparent cases I
believe that the hat may also be taken as a female genital.

2. The little one as the genital--to be run over as a symbol of sexual
intercourse (another dream of the same agoraphobic patient).

"Her mother sends away her little daughter so that she must go alone.
She rides with her mother to the railroad and sees her little one
walking directly upon the tracks, so that she cannot avoid being run
over. She hears the bones crackle. (From this she experiences a feeling
of discomfort but no real horror.) She then looks out through the car
window to see whether the parts cannot be seen behind. She then
reproaches her mother for allowing the little one to go out alone."
Analysis. It is not an easy matter to give here a complete
interpretation of the dream. It forms part of a cycle of dreams, and can
be fully understood only in connection with the others. For it is not
easy to get the necessary material sufficiently isolated to prove the
symbolism. The patient at first finds that the railroad journey is to be
interpreted historically as an allusion to a departure from a sanatorium
for nervous diseases, with the superintendent of which she naturally was
in love. Her mother took her away from this place, and the physician
came to the railroad station and handed her a bouquet of flowers on
leaving; she felt uncomfortable because her mother witnessed this
homage. Here the mother, therefore, appears as a disturber of her love
affairs, which is the rôle actually played by this strict woman during
her daughter's girlhood. The next thought referred to the sentence: "She
then looks to see whether the parts can be seen behind." In the dream
façade one would naturally be compelled to think of the parts of the
little daughter run over and ground up. The thought, however, turns in
quite a different direction. She recalls that she once saw her father in
the bath-room naked from behind; she then begins to talk about the sex
differentiation, and asserts that in the man the genitals can be seen
from behind, but in the woman they cannot. In this connection she now
herself offers the interpretation that the little one is the genital,
her little one (she has a four-year-old daughter) her own genital. She
reproaches her mother for wanting her to live as though she had no
genital, and recognizes this reproach in the introductory sentence of
the dream; the mother sends away her little one so that she must go
alone. In her phantasy going alone on the street signifies to have no
man and no sexual relations (coire = to go together), and this she does
not like. According to all her statements she really suffered as a girl
on account of the jealousy of her mother, because she showed a
preference for her father.

The "little one" has been noted as a symbol for the male or the female
genitals by Stekel, who can refer in this connection to a very
widespread usage of language.

The deeper interpretation of this dream depends upon another dream of
the same night in which the dreamer identifies herself with her brother.
She was a "tomboy," and was always being told that she should have been
born a boy. This identification with the brother shows with special
clearness that "the little one" signifies the genital. The mother
threatened him (her) with castration, which could only be understood as
a punishment for playing with the parts, and the identification,
therefore, shows that she herself had masturbated as a child, though
this fact she now retained only in memory concerning her brother. An
early knowledge of the male genital which she later lost she must have
acquired at that time according to the assertions of this second dream.
Moreover the second dream points to the infantile sexual theory that
girls originate from boys through castration. After I had told her of
this childish belief, she at once confirmed it with an anecdote in which
the boy asks the girl: "Was it cut off?" to which the girl replied, "No,
it's always been so."

The sending away of the little one, of the genital, in the first dream
therefore also refers to the threatened castration. Finally she blames
her mother for not having been born a boy.

That "being run over" symbolizes sexual intercourse would not be evident
from this dream if we were not sure of it from many other sources.

3. Representation of the genital by structures, stairways, and shafts.
(Dream of a young man inhibited by a father complex.)

"He is taking a walk with his father in a place which is surely the
Prater, for the _Rotunda_ may be seen in front of which there is a small
front structure to which is attached a captive balloon; the balloon,
however, seems quite collapsed. His father asks him what this is all
for; he is surprised at it, but he explains it to his father. They come
into a court in which lies a large sheet of tin. His father wants to
pull off a big piece of this, but first looks around to see if any one
is watching. He tells his father that all he needs to do is to speak to
the watchman, and then he can take without any further difficulty as
much as he wants to. From this court a stairway leads down into a shaft,
the walls of which are softly upholstered something like a leather
pocketbook. At the end of this shaft there is a longer platform, and
then a new shaft begins...."

Analysis. This dream belongs to a type of patient which is not favorable
from a therapeutic point of view. They follow in the analysis without
offering any resistances whatever up to a certain point, but from that
point on they remain almost inaccessible. This dream he almost analyzed
himself. "The Rotunda," he said, "is my genital, the captive balloon in
front is my penis, about the weakness of which I have worried." We must,
however, interpret in greater detail; the Rotunda is the buttock which
is regularly associated by the child with the genital, the smaller front
structure is the scrotum. In the dream his father asks him what this is
all for--that is, he asks him about the purpose and arrangement of the
genitals. It is quite evident that this state of affairs should be
turned around, and that he should be the questioner. As such a
questioning on the side of the father has never taken place in reality,
we must conceive the dream thought as a wish, or take it conditionally,
as follows: "If I had only asked my father for sexual enlightenment."
The continuation of this thought we shall soon find in another place.

The court in which the tin sheet is spread out is not to be conceived
symbolically in the first instance, but originates from his father's
place of business. For discretionary reasons I have inserted the tin for
another material in which the father deals, without, however, changing
anything in the verbal expression of the dream. The dreamer had entered
his father's business, and had taken a terrible dislike to the
questionable practices upon which profit mainly depends. Hence the
continuation of the above dream thought ("if I had only asked him")
would be: "He would have deceived me just as he does his customers." For
the pulling off, which serves to represent commercial dishonesty, the
dreamer himself gives a second explanation--namely, onanism. This is not
only entirely familiar to us, but agrees very well with the fact that
the secrecy of onanism is expressed by its opposite ("Why one can do it
quite openly"). It, moreover, agrees entirely with our expectations that
the onanistic activity is again put off on the father, just as was the
questioning in the first scene of the dream. The shaft he at once
interprets as the vagina by referring to the soft upholstering of the
walls. That the act of coition in the vagina is described as a going
down instead of in the usual way as a going up, I have also found true
in other instances[2].

The details that at the end of the first shaft there is a longer
platform and then a new shaft, he himself explains biographically. He
had for some time consorted with women sexually, but had then given it
up because of inhibitions and now hopes to be able to take it up again
with the aid of the treatment. The dream, however, becomes indistinct
toward the end, and to the experienced interpreter it becomes evident
that in the second scene of the dream the influence of another subject
has begun to assert itself; in this his father's business and his
dishonest practices signify the first vagina represented as a shaft so
that one might think of a reference to the mother.

4. The male genital symbolized by persons and the female by a landscape.

(Dream of a woman of the lower class, whose husband is a policeman,
reported by B. Dattner.)

... Then some one broke into the house and anxiously called for a
policeman. But he went with two tramps by mutual consent into a
church,[3] to which led a great many stairs;[4] behind the church there
was a mountain,[5] on top of which a dense forest.[6] The policeman was
furnished with a helmet, a gorget, and a cloak.[7] The two vagrants, who
went along with the policeman quite peaceably, had tied to their loins
sack-like aprons.[8] A road led from the church to the mountain. This
road was overgrown on each side with grass and brushwood, which became
thicker and thicker as it reached the height of the mountain, where it
spread out into quite a forest.

5. A stairway dream.

(Reported and interpreted by Otto Rank.)

For the following transparent pollution dream, I am indebted to the
same colleague who furnished us with the dental-irritation dream.

"I am running down the stairway in the stair-house after a little girl,
whom I wish to punish because she has done something to me. At the
bottom of the stairs some one held the child for me. (A grown-up woman?)
I grasp it, but do not know whether I have hit it, for I suddenly find
myself in the middle of the stairway where I practice coitus with the
child (in the air as it were). It is really no coitus, I only rub my
genital on her external genital, and in doing this I see it very
distinctly, as distinctly as I see her head which is lying sideways.
During the sexual act I see hanging to the left and above me (also as if
in the air) two small pictures, landscapes, representing a house on a
green. On the smaller one my surname stood in the place where the
painter's signature should be; it seemed to be intended for my birthday
present. A small sign hung in front of the pictures to the effect that
cheaper pictures could also be obtained. I then see myself very
indistinctly lying in bed, just as I had seen myself at the foot of the
stairs, and I am awakened by a feeling of dampness which came from the

Interpretation. The dreamer had been in a book-store on the evening of
the day of the dream, where, while he was waiting, he examined some
pictures which were exhibited, which represented motives similar to the
dream pictures. He stepped nearer to a small picture which particularly
took his fancy in order to see the name of the artist, which, however,
was quite unknown to him.

Later in the same evening, in company, he heard about a Bohemian
servant-girl who boasted that her illegitimate child "was made on the
stairs." The dreamer inquired about the details of this unusual
occurrence, and learned that the servant-girl went with her lover to the
home of her parents, where there was no opportunity for sexual
relations, and that the excited man performed the act on the stairs. In
witty allusion to the mischievous expression used about wine-adulterers,
the dreamer remarked, "The child really grew on the cellar steps."

These experiences of the day, which are quite prominent in the dream
content, were readily reproduced by the dreamer. But he just as readily
reproduced an old fragment of infantile recollection which was also
utilized by the dream. The stair-house was the house in which he had
spent the greatest part of his childhood, and in which he had first
become acquainted with sexual problems. In this house he used, among
other things, to slide down the banister astride which caused him to
become sexually excited. In the dream he also comes down the stairs very
rapidly--so rapidly that, according to his own distinct assertions, he
hardly touched the individual stairs, but rather "flew" or "slid down,"
as we used to say. Upon reference to this infantile experience, the
beginning of the dream seems to represent the factor of sexual
excitement. In the same house and in the adjacent residence the dreamer
used to play pugnacious games with the neighboring children, in which he
satisfied himself just as he did in the dream.

If one recalls from Freud's investigation of sexual symbolism[9] that in
the dream stairs or climbing stairs almost regularly symbolizes coitus,
the dream becomes clear. Its motive power as well as its effect, as is
shown by the pollution, is of a purely libidinous nature. Sexual
excitement became aroused during the sleeping state (in the dream this
is represented by the rapid running or sliding down the stairs) and the
sadistic thread in this is, on the basis of the pugnacious playing,
indicated in the pursuing and overcoming of the child. The libidinous
excitement becomes enhanced and urges to sexual action (represented in
the dream by the grasping of the child and the conveyance of it to the
middle of the stairway). Up to this point the dream would be one of
pure, sexual symbolism, and obscure for the unpracticed dream
interpreter. But this symbolic gratification, which would have insured
undisturbed sleep, was not sufficient for the powerful libidinous
excitement. The excitement leads to an orgasm, and thus the whole
stairway symbolism is unmasked as a substitute for coitus. Freud lays
stress on the rhythmical character of both actions as one of the reasons
for the sexual utilization of the stairway symbolism, and this dream
especially seems to corroborate this, for, according to the express
assertion of the dreamer, the rhythm of a sexual act was the most
pronounced feature in the whole dream.

Still another remark concerning the two pictures, which, aside from
their real significance, also have the value of "Weibsbilder" (literally
_woman-pictures_, but idiomatically _women_). This is at once shown by
the fact that the dream deals with a big and a little picture, just as
the dream content presents a big (grown up) and a little girl. That
cheap pictures could also be obtained points to the prostitution
complex, just as the dreamer's surname on the little picture and the
thought that it was intended for his birthday, point to the parent
complex (to be born on the stairway--to be conceived in coitus).

The indistinct final scene, in which the dreamer sees himself on the
staircase landing lying in bed and feeling wet, seems to go back into
childhood even beyond the infantile onanism, and manifestly has its
prototype in similarly pleasurable scenes of bed-wetting.

6. A modified stair-dream.

To one of my very nervous patients, who was an abstainer, whose fancy
was fixed on his mother, and who repeatedly dreamed of climbing stairs
accompanied by his mother, I once remarked that moderate masturbation
would be less harmful to him than enforced abstinence. This influence
provoked the following dream:

"His piano teacher reproaches him for neglecting his piano-playing, and
for not practicing the _Etudes_ of Moscheles and Clementi's _Gradus ad
Parnassum_." In relation to this he remarked that the _Gradus_ is only a
stairway, and that the piano itself is only a stairway as it has a

It is correct to say that there is no series of associations which
cannot be adapted to the representation of sexual facts. I conclude with
the dream of a chemist, a young man, who has been trying to give up his
habit of masturbation by replacing it with intercourse with women.

_Preliminary statement._--On the day before the dream he had given a
student instruction concerning Grignard's reaction, in which magnesium
is to be dissolved in absolutely pure ether under the catalytic
influence of iodine. Two days before, there had been an explosion in the
course of the same reaction, in which the investigator had burned his

Dream I. _He is to make phenylmagnesium-bromid; he sees the apparatus
with particular clearness, but he has substituted himself for the
magnesium. He is now in a curious swaying attitude. He keeps repeating
to himself, "This is the right thing, it is working, my feet are
beginning to dissolve and my knees are getting soft." Then he reaches
down and feels for his feet, and meanwhile (he does not know how) he
takes his legs out of the crucible, and then again he says to himself,
"That cannot be.... Yes, it must be so, it has been done correctly."
Then he partially awakens, and repeats the dream to himself, because he
wants to tell it to me. He is distinctly afraid of the analysis of the
dream. He is much excited during this semi-sleeping state, and repeats
continually, "Phenyl, phenyl."_

II. _He is in ... ing with his whole family; at half-past eleven. He is
to be at the Schottenthor for a rendezvous with a certain lady, but he
does not wake up until half-past eleven. He says to himself, "It is too
late now; when you get there it will be half-past twelve." The next
instant he sees the whole family gathered about the table--his mother
and the servant girl with the soup-tureen with particular clearness.
Then he says to himself, "Well, if we are eating already, I certainly
can't get away."_

Analysis: He feels sure that even the first dream contains a reference
to the lady whom he is to meet at the rendezvous (the dream was dreamed
during the night before the expected meeting). The student to whom he
gave the instruction is a particularly unpleasant fellow; he had said to
the chemist: "That isn't right," because the magnesium was still
unaffected, and the latter answered as though he did not care anything
about it: "It certainly isn't right." He himself must be this student;
he is as indifferent towards his analysis as the student is towards his
synthesis; the _He_ in the dream, however, who accomplishes the
operation, is myself. How unpleasant he must seem to me with his
indifference towards the success achieved!

Moreover, he is the material with which the analysis (synthesis) is
made. For it is a question of the success of the treatment. The legs in
the dream recall an impression of the previous evening. He met a lady at
a dancing lesson whom he wished to conquer; he pressed her to him so
closely that she once cried out. After he had stopped pressing against
her legs, he felt her firm responding pressure against his lower thighs
as far as just above his knees, at the place mentioned in the dream. In
this situation, then, the woman is the magnesium in the retort, which is
at last working. He is feminine towards me, as he is masculine towards
the woman. If it will work with the woman, the treatment will also work.
Feeling and becoming aware of himself in the region of his knees refers
to masturbation, and corresponds to his fatigue of the previous day....
The rendezvous had actually been set for half-past eleven. His wish to
oversleep and to remain with his usual sexual objects (that is, with
masturbation) corresponds with his resistance.

[1] It is only of late that I have learned to value the significance of
fancies and unconscious thoughts about life in the womb. They contain
the explanation of the curious fear felt by so many people of being
buried alive, as well as the profoundest unconscious reason for the
belief in a life after death which represents nothing but a projection
into the future of this mysterious life before birth. _The act of birth,
moreover, is the first experience with fear, and is thus the source and
model of the emotion of fear._

[2] Cf. _Zentralblatt für psychoanalyse_, I.

[3] Or chapel--vagina.

[4] Symbol of coitus.

[5] Mons veneris.

[6] Crines pubis.

[7] Demons in cloaks and capucines are, according to the explanation of
a man versed in the subject, of a phallic nature.

[8] The two halves of the scrotum.

[9] See _Zentralblatt für Psychoanalyse_, vol. i., p. 2.



That the dream should be nothing but a wish-fulfillment surely seemed
strange to us all--and that not alone because of the contradictions
offered by the anxiety dream.

After learning from the first analytical explanations that the dream
conceals sense and psychic validity, we could hardly expect so simple a
determination of this sense. According to the correct but concise
definition of Aristotle, the dream is a continuation of thinking in
sleep (in so far as one sleeps). Considering that during the day our
thoughts produce such a diversity of psychic acts--judgments,
conclusions, contradictions, expectations, intentions, &c.--why should
our sleeping thoughts be forced to confine themselves to the production
of wishes? Are there not, on the contrary, many dreams that present a
different psychic act in dream form, _e.g._, a solicitude, and is not
the very transparent father's dream mentioned above of just such a
nature? From the gleam of light falling into his eyes while asleep the
father draws the solicitous conclusion that a candle has been upset and
may have set fire to the corpse; he transforms this conclusion into a
dream by investing it with a senseful situation enacted in the present
tense. What part is played in this dream by the wish-fulfillment, and
which are we to suspect--the predominance of the thought continued from,
the waking state or of the thought incited by the new sensory

All these considerations are just, and force us to enter more deeply
into the part played by the wish-fulfillment in the dream, and into the
significance of the waking thoughts continued in sleep.

It is in fact the wish-fulfillment that has already induced us to
separate dreams into two groups. We have found some dreams that were
plainly wish-fulfillments; and others in which wish-fulfillment could
not be recognized, and was frequently concealed by every available
means. In this latter class of dreams we recognized the influence of the
dream censor. The undisguised wish dreams were chiefly found in
children, yet fleeting open-hearted wish dreams _seemed_ (I purposely
emphasize this word) to occur also in adults.

We may now ask whence the wish fulfilled in the dream originates. But to
what opposition or to what diversity do we refer this "whence"? I think
it is to the opposition between conscious daily life and a psychic
activity remaining unconscious which can only make itself noticeable
during the night. I thus find a threefold possibility for the origin of
a wish. Firstly, it may have been incited during the day, and owing to
external circumstances failed to find gratification, there is thus left
for the night an acknowledged but unfulfilled wish. Secondly, it may
come to the surface during the day but be rejected, leaving an
unfulfilled but suppressed wish. Or, thirdly, it may have no relation to
daily life, and belong to those wishes that originate during the night
from the suppression. If we now follow our scheme of the psychic
apparatus, we can localize a wish of the first order in the system
Forec. We may assume that a wish of the second order has been forced
back from the Forec. system into the Unc. system, where alone, if
anywhere, it can maintain itself; while a wish-feeling of the third
order we consider altogether incapable of leaving the Unc. system. This
brings up the question whether wishes arising from these different
sources possess the same value for the dream, and whether they have the
same power to incite a dream.

On reviewing the dreams which we have at our disposal for answering this
question, we are at once moved to add as a fourth source of the
dream-wish the actual wish incitements arising during the night, such
as thirst and sexual desire. It then becomes evident that the source of
the dream-wish does not affect its capacity to incite a dream. That a
wish suppressed during the day asserts itself in the dream can be shown
by a great many examples. I shall mention a very simple example of this
class. A somewhat sarcastic young lady, whose younger friend has become
engaged to be married, is asked throughout the day by her acquaintances
whether she knows and what she thinks of the fiancé. She answers with
unqualified praise, thereby silencing her own judgment, as she would
prefer to tell the truth, namely, that he is an ordinary person. The
following night she dreams that the same question is put to her, and
that she replies with the formula: "In case of subsequent orders it will
suffice to mention the number." Finally, we have learned from numerous
analyses that the wish in all dreams that have been subject to
distortion has been derived from the unconscious, and has been unable to
come to perception in the waking state. Thus it would appear that all
wishes are of the same value and force for the dream formation.

I am at present unable to prove that the state of affairs is really
different, but I am strongly inclined to assume a more stringent
determination of the dream-wish. Children's dreams leave no doubt that
an unfulfilled wish of the day may be the instigator of the dream. But
we must not forget that it is, after all, the wish of a child, that it
is a wish-feeling of infantile strength only. I have a strong doubt
whether an unfulfilled wish from the day would suffice to create a dream
in an adult. It would rather seem that as we learn to control our
impulses by intellectual activity, we more and more reject as vain the
formation or retention of such intense wishes as are natural to
childhood. In this, indeed, there may be individual variations; some
retain the infantile type of psychic processes longer than others. The
differences are here the same as those found in the gradual decline of
the originally distinct visual imagination.

In general, however, I am of the opinion that unfulfilled wishes of the
day are insufficient to produce a dream in adults. I readily admit that
the wish instigators originating in conscious like contribute towards
the incitement of dreams, but that is probably all. The dream would not
originate if the foreconscious wish were not reinforced from another

That source is the unconscious. I believe that _the conscious wish is a
dream inciter only if it succeeds in arousing a similar unconscious wish
which reinforces it_. Following the suggestions obtained through the
psychoanalysis of the neuroses, I believe that these unconscious wishes
are always active and ready for expression whenever they find an
opportunity to unite themselves with an emotion from conscious life, and
that they transfer their greater intensity to the lesser intensity of
the latter.[1] It may therefore seem that the conscious wish alone has
been realized in a dream; but a slight peculiarity in the formation of
this dream will put us on the track of the powerful helper from the
unconscious. These ever active and, as it were, immortal wishes from the
unconscious recall the legendary Titans who from time immemorial have
borne the ponderous mountains which were once rolled upon them by the
victorious gods, and which even now quiver from time to time from the
convulsions of their mighty limbs; I say that these wishes found in the
repression are of themselves of an infantile origin, as we have learned
from the psychological investigation of the neuroses. I should like,
therefore, to withdraw the opinion previously expressed that it is
unimportant whence the dream-wish originates, and replace it by another,
as follows: _The wish manifested in the dream must be an infantile one_.
In the adult it originates in the Unc., while in the child, where no
separation and censor as yet exist between Forec. and Unc., or where
these are only in the process of formation, it is an unfulfilled and
unrepressed wish from the waking state. I am aware that this conception
cannot be generally demonstrated, but I maintain nevertheless that it
can be frequently demonstrated, even when it was not suspected, and that
it cannot be generally refuted.

The wish-feelings which remain from the conscious waking state are,
therefore, relegated to the background in the dream formation. In the
dream content I shall attribute to them only the part attributed to the
material of actual sensations during sleep. If I now take into account
those other psychic instigations remaining from the waking state which
are not wishes, I shall only adhere to the line mapped out for me by
this train of thought. We may succeed in provisionally terminating the
sum of energy of our waking thoughts by deciding to go to sleep. He is a
good sleeper who can do this; Napoleon I. is reputed to have been a
model of this sort. But we do not always succeed in accomplishing it, or
in accomplishing it perfectly. Unsolved problems, harassing cares,
overwhelming impressions continue the thinking activity even during
sleep, maintaining psychic processes in the system which we have termed
the foreconscious. These mental processes continuing into sleep may be
divided into the following groups: 1, That which has not been terminated
during the day owing to casual prevention; 2, that which has been left
unfinished by temporary paralysis of our mental power, _i.e._ the
unsolved; 3, that which has been rejected and suppressed during the day.
This unites with a powerful group (4) formed by that which has been
excited in our Unc. during the day by the work of the foreconscious.
Finally, we may add group (5) consisting of the indifferent and hence
unsettled impressions of the day.

We should not underrate the psychic intensities introduced into sleep by
these remnants of waking life, especially those emanating from the group
of the unsolved. These excitations surely continue to strive for
expression during the night, and we may assume with equal certainty that
the sleeping state renders impossible the usual continuation of the
excitement in the foreconscious and the termination of the excitement by
its becoming conscious. As far as we can normally become conscious of
our mental processes, even during the night, in so far we are not
asleep. I shall not venture to state what change is produced in the
Forec. system by the sleeping state, but there is no doubt that the
psychological character of sleep is essentially due to the change of
energy in this very system, which also dominates the approach to
motility, which is paralyzed during sleep. In contradistinction to this,
there seems to be nothing in the psychology of the dream to warrant the
assumption that sleep produces any but secondary changes in the
conditions of the Unc. system. Hence, for the nocturnal excitation in
the Force, there remains no other path than that followed by the wish
excitements from the Unc. This excitation must seek reinforcement from
the Unc., and follow the detours of the unconscious excitations. But
what is the relation of the foreconscious day remnants to the dream?
There is no doubt that they penetrate abundantly into the dream, that
they utilize the dream content to obtrude themselves upon consciousness
even during the night; indeed, they occasionally even dominate the dream
content, and impel it to continue the work of the day; it is also
certain that the day remnants may just as well have any other character
as that of wishes; but it is highly instructive and even decisive for
the theory of wish-fulfillment to see what conditions they must comply
with in order to be received into the dream.

Let us pick out one of the dreams cited above as examples, _e.g._, the
dream in which my friend Otto seems to show the symptoms of Basedow's
disease. My friend Otto's appearance occasioned me some concern during
the day, and this worry, like everything else referring to this person,
affected me. I may also assume that these feelings followed me into
sleep. I was probably bent on finding out what was the matter with him.
In the night my worry found expression in the dream which I have
reported, the content of which was not only senseless, but failed to
show any wish-fulfillment. But I began to investigate for the source of
this incongruous expression of the solicitude felt during the day, and
analysis revealed the connection. I identified my friend Otto with a
certain Baron L. and myself with a Professor R. There was only one
explanation for my being impelled to select just this substitution for
the day thought. I must have always been prepared in the Unc. to
identify myself with Professor R., as it meant the realization of one of
the immortal infantile wishes, viz. that of becoming great. Repulsive
ideas respecting my friend, that would certainly have been repudiated
in a waking state, took advantage of the opportunity to creep into the
dream, but the worry of the day likewise found some form of expression
through a substitution in the dream content. The day thought, which was
no wish in itself but rather a worry, had in some way to find a
connection with the infantile now unconscious and suppressed wish, which
then allowed it, though already properly prepared, to "originate" for
consciousness. The more dominating this worry, the stronger must be the
connection to be established; between the contents of the wish and that
of the worry there need be no connection, nor was there one in any of
our examples.

We can now sharply define the significance of the unconscious wish for
the dream. It may be admitted that there is a whole class of dreams in
which the incitement originates preponderatingly or even exclusively
from the remnants of daily life; and I believe that even my cherished
desire to become at some future time a "professor extraordinarius" would
have allowed me to slumber undisturbed that night had not my worry about
my friend's health been still active. But this worry alone would not
have produced a dream; the motive power needed by the dream had to be
contributed by a wish, and it was the affair of the worriment to
procure for itself such wish as a motive power of the dream. To speak
figuratively, it is quite possible that a day thought plays the part of
the contractor (_entrepreneur_) in the dream. But it is known that no
matter what idea the contractor may have in mind, and how desirous he
may be of putting it into operation, he can do nothing without capital;
he must depend upon a capitalist to defray the necessary expenses, and
this capitalist, who supplies the psychic expenditure for the dream is
invariably and indisputably _a wish from the unconscious_, no matter
what the nature of the waking thought may be.

In other cases the capitalist himself is the contractor for the dream;
this, indeed, seems to be the more usual case. An unconscious wish is
produced by the day's work, which in turn creates the dream. The dream
processes, moreover, run parallel with all the other possibilities of
the economic relationship used here as an illustration. Thus, the
entrepreneur may contribute some capital himself, or several
entrepreneurs may seek the aid of the same capitalist, or several
capitalists may jointly supply the capital required by the entrepreneur.
Thus there are dreams produced by more than one dream-wish, and many
similar variations which may readily be passed over and are of no
further interest to us. What we have left unfinished in this discussion
of the dream-wish we shall be able to develop later.

The "tertium comparationis" in the comparisons just employed--_i.e._ the
sum placed at our free disposal in proper allotment--admits of still
finer application for the illustration of the dream structure. We can
recognize in most dreams a center especially supplied with perceptible
intensity. This is regularly the direct representation of the
wish-fulfillment; for, if we undo the displacements of the dream-work by
a process of retrogression, we find that the psychic intensity of the
elements in the dream thoughts is replaced by the perceptible intensity
of the elements in the dream content. The elements adjoining the
wish-fulfillment have frequently nothing to do with its sense, but prove
to be descendants of painful thoughts which oppose the wish. But, owing
to their frequently artificial connection with the central element, they
have acquired sufficient intensity to enable them to come to expression.
Thus, the force of expression of the wish-fulfillment is diffused over a
certain sphere of association, within which it raises to expression all
elements, including those that are in themselves impotent. In dreams
having several strong wishes we can readily separate from one another
the spheres of the individual wish-fulfillments; the gaps in the dream
likewise can often be explained as boundary zones.

Although the foregoing remarks have considerably limited the
significance of the day remnants for the dream, it will nevertheless be
worth our while to give them some attention. For they must be a
necessary ingredient in the formation of the dream, inasmuch as
experience reveals the surprising fact that every dream shows in its
content a connection with some impression of a recent day, often of the
most indifferent kind. So far we have failed to see any necessity for
this addition to the dream mixture. This necessity appears only when we
follow closely the part played by the unconscious wish, and then seek
information in the psychology of the neuroses. We thus learn that the
unconscious idea, as such, is altogether incapable of entering into the
foreconscious, and that it can exert an influence there only by uniting
with a harmless idea already belonging to the foreconscious, to which it
transfers its intensity and under which it allows itself to be
concealed. This is the fact of transference which furnishes an
explanation for so many surprising occurrences in the psychic life of

The idea from the foreconscious which thus obtains an unmerited
abundance of intensity may be left unchanged by the transference, or it
may have forced upon it a modification from the content of the
transferring idea. I trust the reader will pardon my fondness for
comparisons from daily life, but I feel tempted to say that the
relations existing for the repressed idea are similar to the situations
existing in Austria for the American dentist, who is forbidden to
practise unless he gets permission from a regular physician to use his
name on the public signboard and thus cover the legal requirements.
Moreover, just as it is naturally not the busiest physicians who form
such alliances with dental practitioners, so in the psychic life only
such foreconscious or conscious ideas are chosen to cover a repressed
idea as have not themselves attracted much of the attention which is
operative in the foreconscious. The unconscious entangles with its
connections preferentially either those impressions and ideas of the
foreconscious which have been left unnoticed as indifferent, or those
that have soon been deprived of this attention through rejection. It is
a familiar fact from the association studies confirmed by every
experience, that ideas which have formed intimate connections in one
direction assume an almost negative attitude to whole groups of new
connections. I once tried from this principle to develop a theory for
hysterical paralysis.

If we assume that the same need for the transference of the repressed
ideas which we have learned to know from the analysis of the neuroses
makes its influence felt in the dream as well, we can at once explain
two riddles of the dream, viz. that every dream analysis shows an
interweaving of a recent impression, and that this recent element is
frequently of the most indifferent character. We may add what we have
already learned elsewhere, that these recent and indifferent elements
come so frequently into the dream content as a substitute for the most
deep-lying of the dream thoughts, for the further reason that they have
least to fear from the resisting censor. But while this freedom from
censorship explains only the preference for trivial elements, the
constant presence of recent elements points to the fact that there is a
need for transference. Both groups of impressions satisfy the demand of
the repression for material still free from associations, the
indifferent ones because they have offered no inducement for extensive
associations, and the recent ones because they have had insufficient
time to form such associations.

We thus see that the day remnants, among which we may now include the
indifferent impressions when they participate in the dream formation,
not only borrow from the Unc. the motive power at the disposal of the
repressed wish, but also offer to the unconscious something
indispensable, namely, the attachment necessary to the transference. If
we here attempted to penetrate more deeply into the psychic processes,
we should first have to throw more light on the play of emotions between
the foreconscious and the unconscious, to which, indeed, we are urged by
the study of the psychoneuroses, whereas the dream itself offers no
assistance in this respect.

Just one further remark about the day remnants. There is no doubt that
they are the actual disturbers of sleep, and not the dream, which, on
the contrary, strives to guard sleep. But we shall return to this point

We have so far discussed the dream-wish, we have traced it to the sphere
of the Unc., and analyzed its relations to the day remnants, which in
turn may be either wishes, psychic emotions of any other kind, or simply
recent impressions. We have thus made room for any claims that may be
made for the importance of conscious thought activity in dream
formations in all its variations. Relying upon our thought series, it
would not be at all impossible for us to explain even those extreme
cases in which the dream as a continuer of the day work brings to a
happy conclusion and unsolved problem possess an example, the analysis
of which might reveal the infantile or repressed wish source furnishing
such alliance and successful strengthening of the efforts of the
foreconscious activity. But we have not come one step nearer a solution
of the riddle: Why can the unconscious furnish the motive power for the
wish-fulfillment only during sleep? The answer to this question must
throw light on the psychic nature of wishes; and it will be given with
the aid of the diagram of the psychic apparatus.

We do not doubt that even this apparatus attained its present perfection
through a long course of development. Let us attempt to restore it as it
existed in an early phase of its activity. From assumptions, to be
confirmed elsewhere, we know that at first the apparatus strove to keep
as free from excitement as possible, and in its first formation,
therefore, the scheme took the form of a reflex apparatus, which enabled
it promptly to discharge through the motor tracts any sensible stimulus
reaching it from without. But this simple function was disturbed by the
wants of life, which likewise furnish the impulse for the further
development of the apparatus. The wants of life first manifested
themselves to it in the form of the great physical needs. The excitement
aroused by the inner want seeks an outlet in motility, which may be
designated as "inner changes" or as an "expression of the emotions." The
hungry child cries or fidgets helplessly, but its situation remains
unchanged; for the excitation proceeding from an inner want requires,
not a momentary outbreak, but a force working continuously. A change can
occur only if in some way a feeling of gratification is
experienced--which in the case of the child must be through outside
help--in order to remove the inner excitement. An essential constituent
of this experience is the appearance of a certain perception (of food in
our example), the memory picture of which thereafter remains associated
with the memory trace of the excitation of want.

Thanks to the established connection, there results at the next
appearance of this want a psychic feeling which revives the memory
picture of the former perception, and thus recalls the former perception
itself, _i.e._ it actually re-establishes the situation of the first
gratification. We call such a feeling a wish; the reappearance of the
perception constitutes the wish-fulfillment, and the full revival of the
perception by the want excitement constitutes the shortest road to the
wish-fulfillment. We may assume a primitive condition of the psychic
apparatus in which this road is really followed, _i.e._ where the
wishing merges into an hallucination, This first psychic activity
therefore aims at an identity of perception, _i.e._ it aims at a
repetition of that perception which is connected with the fulfillment of
the want.

This primitive mental activity must have been modified by bitter
practical experience into a more expedient secondary activity. The
establishment of the identity perception on the short regressive road
within the apparatus does not in another respect carry with it the
result which inevitably follows the revival of the same perception from
without. The gratification does not take place, and the want continues.
In order to equalize the internal with the external sum of energy, the
former must be continually maintained, just as actually happens in the
hallucinatory psychoses and in the deliriums of hunger which exhaust
their psychic capacity in clinging to the object desired. In order to
make more appropriate use of the psychic force, it becomes necessary to
inhibit the full regression so as to prevent it from extending beyond
the image of memory, whence it can select other paths leading ultimately
to the establishment of the desired identity from the outer world. This
inhibition and consequent deviation from the excitation becomes the
task of a second system which dominates the voluntary motility, _i.e._
through whose activity the expenditure of motility is now devoted to
previously recalled purposes. But this entire complicated mental
activity which works its way from the memory picture to the
establishment of the perception identity from the outer world merely
represents a detour which has been forced upon the wish-fulfillment by
experience.[2] Thinking is indeed nothing but the equivalent of the
hallucinatory wish; and if the dream be called a wish-fulfillment this
becomes self-evident, as nothing but a wish can impel our psychic
apparatus to activity. The dream, which in fulfilling its wishes follows
the short regressive path, thereby preserves for us only an example of
the primary form of the psychic apparatus which has been abandoned as
inexpedient. What once ruled in the waking state when the psychic life
was still young and unfit seems to have been banished into the sleeping
state, just as we see again in the nursery the bow and arrow, the
discarded primitive weapons of grown-up humanity. _The dream is a
fragment of the abandoned psychic life of the child._ In the psychoses
these modes of operation of the psychic apparatus, which are normally
suppressed in the waking state, reassert themselves, and then betray
their inability to satisfy our wants in the outer world.

The unconscious wish-feelings evidently strive to assert themselves
during the day also, and the fact of transference and the psychoses
teach us that they endeavor to penetrate to consciousness and dominate
motility by the road leading through the system of the foreconscious. It
is, therefore, the censor lying between the Unc. and the Forec., the
assumption of which is forced upon us by the dream, that we have to
recognize and honor as the guardian of our psychic health. But is it not
carelessness on the part of this guardian to diminish its vigilance
during the night and to allow the suppressed emotions of the Unc. to
come to expression, thus again making possible the hallucinatory
regression? I think not, for when the critical guardian goes to
rest--and we have proof that his slumber is not profound--he takes care
to close the gate to motility. No matter what feelings from the
otherwise inhibited Unc. may roam about on the scene, they need not be
interfered with; they remain harmless because they are unable to put in
motion the motor apparatus which alone can exert a modifying influence
upon the outer world. Sleep guarantees the security of the fortress
which is under guard. Conditions are less harmless when a displacement
of forces is produced, not through a nocturnal diminution in the
operation of the critical censor, but through pathological enfeeblement
of the latter or through pathological reinforcement of the unconscious
excitations, and this while the foreconscious is charged with energy and
the avenues to motility are open. The guardian is then overpowered, the
unconscious excitations subdue the Forec.; through it they dominate our
speech and actions, or they enforce the hallucinatory regression, thus
governing an apparatus not designed for them by virtue of the attraction
exerted by the perceptions on the distribution of our psychic energy. We
call this condition a psychosis.

We are now in the best position to complete our psychological
construction, which has been interrupted by the introduction of the two
systems, Unc. and Forec. We have still, however, ample reason for giving
further consideration to the wish as the sole psychic motive power in
the dream. We have explained that the reason why the dream is in every
case a wish realization is because it is a product of the Unc., which
knows no other aim in its activity but the fulfillment of wishes, and
which has no other forces at its disposal but wish-feelings. If we
avail ourselves for a moment longer of the right to elaborate from the
dream interpretation such far-reaching psychological speculations, we
are in duty bound to demonstrate that we are thereby bringing the dream
into a relationship which may also comprise other psychic structures. If
there exists a system of the Unc.--or something sufficiently analogous
to it for the purpose of our discussion--the dream cannot be its sole
manifestation; every dream may be a wish-fulfillment, but there must be
other forms of abnormal wish-fulfillment beside this of dreams. Indeed,
the theory of all psychoneurotic symptoms culminates in the proposition
_that they too must be taken as wish-fulfillments of the unconscious_.
Our explanation makes the dream only the first member of a group most
important for the psychiatrist, an understanding of which means the
solution of the purely psychological part of the psychiatric problem.
But other members of this group of wish-fulfillments, _e.g._, the
hysterical symptoms, evince one essential quality which I have so far
failed to find in the dream. Thus, from the investigations frequently
referred to in this treatise, I know that the formation of an hysterical
symptom necessitates the combination of both streams of our psychic
life. The symptom is not merely the expression of a realized
unconscious wish, but it must be joined by another wish from the
foreconscious which is fulfilled by the same symptom; so that the
symptom is at least doubly determined, once by each one of the
conflicting systems. Just as in the dream, there is no limit to further
over-determination. The determination not derived from the Unc. is, as
far as I can see, invariably a stream of thought in reaction against the
unconscious wish, _e.g._, a self-punishment. Hence I may say, in
general, that _an hysterical symptom originates only where two
contrasting wish-fulfillments, having their source in different psychic
systems, are able to combine in one expression_. (Compare my latest
formulation of the origin of the hysterical symptoms in a treatise
published by the _Zeitschrift für Sexualwissenschaft_, by Hirschfeld and
others, 1908). Examples on this point would prove of little value, as
nothing but a complete unveiling of the complication in question would
carry conviction. I therefore content myself with the mere assertion,
and will cite an example, not for conviction but for explication. The
hysterical vomiting of a female patient proved, on the one hand, to be
the realization of an unconscious fancy from the time of puberty, that
she might be continuously pregnant and have a multitude of children,
and this was subsequently united with the wish that she might have them
from as many men as possible. Against this immoderate wish there arose a
powerful defensive impulse. But as the vomiting might spoil the
patient's figure and beauty, so that she would not find favor in the
eyes of mankind, the symptom was therefore in keeping with her punitive
trend of thought, and, being thus admissible from both sides, it was
allowed to become a reality. This is the same manner of consenting to a
wish-fulfillment which the queen of the Parthians chose for the triumvir
Crassus. Believing that he had undertaken the campaign out of greed for
gold, she caused molten gold to be poured into the throat of the corpse.
"Now hast thou what thou hast longed for." As yet we know of the dream
only that it expresses a wish-fulfillment of the unconscious; and
apparently the dominating foreconscious permits this only after it has
subjected the wish to some distortions. We are really in no position to
demonstrate regularly a stream of thought antagonistic to the dream-wish
which is realized in the dream as in its counterpart. Only now and then
have we found in the dream traces of reaction formations, as, for
instance, the tenderness toward friend R. in the "uncle dream." But the
contribution from the foreconscious, which is missing here, may be
found in another place. While the dominating system has withdrawn on
the wish to sleep, the dream may bring to expression with manifold
distortions a wish from the Unc., and realize this wish by producing the
necessary changes of energy in the psychic apparatus, and may finally
retain it through the entire duration of sleep.[3]

This persistent wish to sleep on the part of the foreconscious in
general facilitates the formation of the dream. Let us refer to the
dream of the father who, by the gleam of light from the death chamber,
was brought to the conclusion that the body has been set on fire. We
have shown that one of the psychic forces decisive in causing the father
to form this conclusion, instead of being awakened by the gleam of
light, was the wish to prolong the life of the child seen in the dream
by one moment. Other wishes proceeding from the repression probably
escape us, because we are unable to analyze this dream. But as a second
motive power of the dream we may mention the father's desire to sleep,
for, like the life of the child, the sleep of the father is prolonged
for a moment by the dream. The underlying motive is: "Let the dream go
on, otherwise I must wake up." As in this dream so also in all other
dreams, the wish to sleep lends its support to the unconscious wish. We
reported dreams which were apparently dreams of convenience. But,
properly speaking, all dreams may claim this designation. The efficacy
of the wish to continue to sleep is the most easily recognized in the
waking dreams, which so transform the objective sensory stimulus as to
render it compatible with the continuance of sleep; they interweave this
stimulus with the dream in order to rob it of any claims it might make
as a warning to the outer world. But this wish to continue to sleep must
also participate in the formation of all other dreams which may disturb
the sleeping state from within only. "Now, then, sleep on; why, it's but
a dream"; this is in many cases the suggestion of the Forec. to
consciousness when the dream goes too far; and this also describes in a
general way the attitude of our dominating psychic activity toward
dreaming, though the thought remains tacit. I must draw the conclusion
that _throughout our entire sleeping state we are just as certain that
we are dreaming as we are certain that we are sleeping_. We are
compelled to disregard the objection urged against this conclusion that
our consciousness is never directed to a knowledge of the former, and
that it is directed to a knowledge of the latter only on special
occasions when the censor is unexpectedly surprised. Against this
objection we may say that there are persons who are entirely conscious
of their sleeping and dreaming, and who are apparently endowed with the
conscious faculty of guiding their dream life. Such a dreamer, when
dissatisfied with the course taken by the dream, breaks it off without
awakening, and begins it anew in order to continue it with a different
turn, like the popular author who, on request, gives a happier ending to
his play. Or, at another time, if placed by the dream in a sexually
exciting situation, he thinks in his sleep: "I do not care to continue
this dream and exhaust myself by a pollution; I prefer to defer it in
favor of a real situation."

[1] They share this character of indestructibility with all psychic acts
that are really unconscious--that is, with psychic acts belonging to the
system of the unconscious only. These paths are constantly open and
never fall into disuse; they conduct the discharge of the exciting
process as often as it becomes endowed with unconscious excitement To
speak metaphorically they suffer the same form of annihilation as the
shades of the lower region in the _Odyssey_, who awoke to new life the
moment they drank blood. The processes depending on the foreconscious
system are destructible in a different way. The psychotherapy of the
neuroses is based on this difference.

[2] Le Lorrain justly extols the wish-fulfilment of the dream: "Sans
fatigue sérieuse, sans être obligé de recourir à cette lutte opinâtre et
longue qui use et corrode les jouissances poursuivies."

[3] This idea has been borrowed from _The Theory of Sleep_ by Liébault,
who revived hypnotic investigation in our days. (_Du Sommeil provoqué_,
etc.; Paris, 1889.)



Since we know that the foreconscious is suspended during the night by
the wish to sleep, we can proceed to an intelligent investigation of the
dream process. But let us first sum up the knowledge of this process
already gained. We have shown that the waking activity leaves day
remnants from which the sum of energy cannot be entirely removed; or the
waking activity revives during the day one of the unconscious wishes; or
both conditions occur simultaneously; we have already discovered the
many variations that may take place. The unconscious wish has already
made its way to the day remnants, either during the day or at any rate
with the beginning of sleep, and has effected a transference to it. This
produces a wish transferred to the recent material, or the suppressed
recent wish comes to life again through a reinforcement from the
unconscious. This wish now endeavors to make its way to consciousness on
the normal path of the mental processes through the foreconscious, to
which indeed it belongs through one of its constituent elements. It is
confronted, however, by the censor, which is still active, and to the
influence of which it now succumbs. It now takes on the distortion for
which the way has already been paved by its transference to the recent
material. Thus far it is in the way of becoming something resembling an
obsession, delusion, or the like, _i.e._ a thought reinforced by a
transference and distorted in expression by the censor. But its further
progress is now checked through the dormant state of the foreconscious;
this system has apparently protected itself against invasion by
diminishing its excitements. The dream process, therefore, takes the
regressive course, which has just been opened by the peculiarity of the
sleeping state, and thereby follows the attraction exerted on it by the
memory groups, which themselves exist in part only as visual energy not
yet translated into terms of the later systems. On its way to regression
the dream takes on the form of dramatization. The subject of compression
will be discussed later. The dream process has now terminated the second
part of its repeatedly impeded course. The first part expended itself
progressively from the unconscious scenes or phantasies to the
foreconscious, while the second part gravitates from the advent of the
censor back to the perceptions. But when the dream process becomes a
content of perception it has, so to speak, eluded the obstacle set up in
the Forec. by the censor and by the sleeping state. It succeeds in
drawing attention to itself and in being noticed by consciousness. For
consciousness, which means to us a sensory organ for the reception of
psychic qualities, may receive stimuli from two sources--first, from the
periphery of the entire apparatus, viz. from the perception system, and,
secondly, from the pleasure and pain stimuli, which constitute the sole
psychic quality produced in the transformation of energy within the
apparatus. All other processes in the system, even those in the
foreconscious, are devoid of any psychic quality, and are therefore not
objects of consciousness inasmuch as they do not furnish pleasure or
pain for perception. We shall have to assume that those liberations of
pleasure and pain automatically regulate the outlet of the occupation
processes. But in order to make possible more delicate functions, it was
later found necessary to render the course of the presentations more
independent of the manifestations of pain. To accomplish this the Forec.
system needed some qualities of its own which could attract
consciousness, and most probably received them through the connection of
the foreconscious processes with the memory system of the signs of
speech, which is not devoid of qualities. Through the qualities of this
system, consciousness, which had hitherto been a sensory organ only for
the perceptions, now becomes also a sensory organ for a part of our
mental processes. Thus we have now, as it were, two sensory surfaces,
one directed to perceptions and the other to the foreconscious mental

I must assume that the sensory surface of consciousness devoted to the
Forec. is rendered less excitable by sleep than that directed to the
P-systems. The giving up of interest for the nocturnal mental processes
is indeed purposeful. Nothing is to disturb the mind; the Forec. wants
to sleep. But once the dream becomes a perception, it is then capable of
exciting consciousness through the qualities thus gained. The sensory
stimulus accomplishes what it was really destined for, namely, it
directs a part of the energy at the disposal of the Forec. in the form
of attention upon the stimulant. We must, therefore, admit that the
dream invariably awakens us, that is, it puts into activity a part of
the dormant force of the Forec. This force imparts to the dream that
influence which we have designated as secondary elaboration for the sake
of connection and comprehensibility. This means that the dream is
treated by it like any other content of perception; it is subjected to
the same ideas of expectation, as far at least as the material admits.
As far as the direction is concerned in this third part of the dream, it
may be said that here again the movement is progressive.

To avoid misunderstanding, it will not be amiss to say a few words about
the temporal peculiarities of these dream processes. In a very
interesting discussion, apparently suggested by Maury's puzzling
guillotine dream, Goblet tries to demonstrate that the dream requires no
other time than the transition period between sleeping and awakening.
The awakening requires time, as the dream takes place during that
period. One is inclined to believe that the final picture of the dream
is so strong that it forces the dreamer to awaken; but, as a matter of
fact, this picture is strong only because the dreamer is already very
near awakening when it appears. "Un rêve c'est un réveil qui commence."

It has already been emphasized by Dugas that Goblet was forced to
repudiate many facts in order to generalize his theory. There are,
moreover, dreams from which we do not awaken, _e.g._, some dreams in
which we dream that we dream. From our knowledge of the dream-work, we
can by no means admit that it extends only over the period of awakening.
On the contrary, we must consider it probable that the first part of
the dream-work begins during the day when we are still under the
domination of the foreconscious. The second phase of the dream-work,
viz. the modification through the censor, the attraction by the
unconscious scenes, and the penetration to perception must continue
throughout the night. And we are probably always right when we assert
that we feel as though we had been dreaming the whole night, although we
cannot say what. I do not, however, think it necessary to assume that,
up to the time of becoming conscious, the dream processes really follow
the temporal sequence which we have described, viz. that there is first
the transferred dream-wish, then the distortion of the censor, and
consequently the change of direction to regression, and so on. We were
forced to form such a succession for the sake of _description_; in
reality, however, it is much rather a matter of simultaneously trying
this path and that, and of emotions fluctuating to and fro, until
finally, owing to the most expedient distribution, one particular
grouping is secured which remains. From certain personal experiences, I
am myself inclined to believe that the dream-work often requires more
than one day and one night to produce its result; if this be true, the
extraordinary art manifested in the construction of the dream loses all
its marvels. In my opinion, even the regard for comprehensibility as an
occurrence of perception may take effect before the dream attracts
consciousness to itself. To be sure, from now on the process is
accelerated, as the dream is henceforth subjected to the same treatment
as any other perception. It is like fireworks, which require hours of
preparation and only a moment for ignition.

Through the dream-work the dream process now gains either sufficient
intensity to attract consciousness to itself and arouse the
foreconscious, which is quite independent of the time or profundity of
sleep, or, its intensity being insufficient it must wait until it meets
the attention which is set in motion immediately before awakening. Most
dreams seem to operate with relatively slight psychic intensities, for
they wait for the awakening. This, however, explains the fact that we
regularly perceive something dreamt on being suddenly aroused from a
sound sleep. Here, as well as in spontaneous awakening, the first glance
strikes the perception content created by the dream-work, while the next
strikes the one produced from without.

But of greater theoretical interest are those dreams which are capable
of waking us in the midst of sleep. We must bear in mind the expediency
elsewhere universally demonstrated, and ask ourselves why the dream or
the unconscious wish has the power to disturb sleep, _i.e._ the
fulfillment of the foreconscious wish. This is probably due to certain
relations of energy into which we have no insight. If we possessed such
insight we should probably find that the freedom given to the dream and
the expenditure of a certain amount of detached attention represent for
the dream an economy in energy, keeping in view the fact that the
unconscious must be held in check at night just as during the day. We
know from experience that the dream, even if it interrupts sleep,
repeatedly during the same night, still remains compatible with sleep.
We wake up for an instant, and immediately resume our sleep. It is like
driving off a fly during sleep, we awake _ad hoc_, and when we resume
our sleep we have removed the disturbance. As demonstrated by familiar
examples from the sleep of wet nurses, &c., the fulfillment of the wish
to sleep is quite compatible with the retention of a certain amount of
attention in a given direction.

But we must here take cognizance of an objection that is based on a
better knowledge of the unconscious processes. Although we have
ourselves described the unconscious wishes as always active, we have,
nevertheless, asserted that they are not sufficiently strong during the
day to make themselves perceptible. But when we sleep, and the
unconscious wish has shown its power to form a dream, and with it to
awaken the foreconscious, why, then, does this power become exhausted
after the dream has been taken cognizance of? Would it not seem more
probable that the dream should continually renew itself, like the
troublesome fly which, when driven away, takes pleasure in returning
again and again? What justifies our assertion that the dream removes the
disturbance of sleep?

That the unconscious wishes always remain active is quite true. They
represent paths which are passable whenever a sum of excitement makes
use of them. Moreover, a remarkable peculiarity of the unconscious
processes is the fact that they remain indestructible. Nothing can be
brought to an end in the unconscious; nothing can cease or be forgotten.
This impression is most strongly gained in the study of the neuroses,
especially of hysteria. The unconscious stream of thought which leads to
the discharge through an attack becomes passable again as soon as there
is an accumulation of a sufficient amount of excitement. The
mortification brought on thirty years ago, after having gained access to
the unconscious affective source, operates during all these thirty years
like a recent one. Whenever its memory is touched, it is revived and
shows itself to be supplied with the excitement which is discharged in
a motor attack. It is just here that the office of psychotherapy begins,
its task being to bring about adjustment and forgetfulness for the
unconscious processes. Indeed, the fading of memories and the flagging
of affects, which we are apt to take as self-evident and to explain as a
primary influence of time on the psychic memories, are in reality
secondary changes brought about by painstaking work. It is the
foreconscious that accomplishes this work; and the only course to be
pursued by psychotherapy is the subjugate the Unc, to the domination of
the Forec.

There are, therefore, two exits for the individual unconscious emotional
process. It is either left to itself, in which case it ultimately breaks
through somewhere and secures for once a discharge for its excitation
into motility; or it succumbs to the influence of the foreconscious, and
its excitation becomes confined through this influence instead of being
discharged. It is the latter process that occurs in the dream. Owing to
the fact that it is directed by the conscious excitement, the energy
from the Forec., which confronts the dream when grown to perception,
restricts the unconscious excitement of the dream and renders it
harmless as a disturbing factor. When the dreamer wakes up for a moment,
he has actually chased away the fly that has threatened to disturb his
sleep. We can now understand that it is really more expedient and
economical to give full sway to the unconscious wish, and clear its way
to regression so that it may form a dream, and then restrict and adjust
this dream by means of a small expenditure of foreconscious labor, than
to curb the unconscious throughout the entire period of sleep. We
should, indeed, expect that the dream, even if it was not originally an
expedient process, would have acquired some function in the play of
forces of the psychic life. We now see what this function is. The dream
has taken it upon itself to bring the liberated excitement of the Unc.
back under the domination of the foreconscious; it thus affords relief
for the excitement of the Unc. and acts as a safety-valve for the
latter, and at the same time it insures the sleep of the foreconscious
at a slight expenditure of the waking state. Like the other psychic
formations of its group, the dream offers itself as a compromise serving
simultaneously both systems by fulfilling both wishes in so far as they
are compatible with each other. A glance at Robert's "elimination
theory," will show that we must agree with this author in his main
point, viz. in the determination of the function of the dream, though we
differ from him in our hypotheses and in our treatment of the dream

The above qualification--in so far as the two wishes are compatible with
each other--contains a suggestion that there may be cases in which the
function of the dream suffers shipwreck. The dream process is in the
first instance admitted as a wish-fulfillment of the unconscious, but if
this tentative wish-fulfillment disturbs the foreconscious to such an
extent that the latter can no longer maintain its rest, the dream then
breaks the compromise and fails to perform the second part of its task.
It is then at once broken off, and replaced by complete wakefulness.
Here, too, it is not really the fault of the dream, if, while ordinarily
the guardian of sleep, it is here compelled to appear as the disturber
of sleep, nor should this cause us to entertain any doubts as to its
efficacy. This is not the only case in the organism in which an
otherwise efficacious arrangement became inefficacious and disturbing as
soon as some element is changed in the conditions of its origin; the
disturbance then serves at least the new purpose of announcing the
change, and calling into play against it the means of adjustment of the
organism. In this connection, I naturally bear in mind the case of the
anxiety dream, and in order not to have the appearance of trying to
exclude this testimony against the theory of wish-fulfillment wherever
I encounter it, I will attempt an explanation of the anxiety dream, at
least offering some suggestions.

That a psychic process developing anxiety may still be a
wish-fulfillment has long ceased to impress us as a contradiction. We
may explain this occurrence by the fact that the wish belongs to one
system (the Unc.), while by the other system (the Forec.), this wish has
been rejected and suppressed. The subjection of the Unc. by the Forec.
is not complete even in perfect psychic health; the amount of this
suppression shows the degree of our psychic normality. Neurotic symptoms
show that there is a conflict between the two systems; the symptoms are
the results of a compromise of this conflict, and they temporarily put
an end to it. On the one hand, they afford the Unc. an outlet for the
discharge of its excitement, and serve it as a sally port, while, on the
other hand, they give the Forec. the capability of dominating the Unc.
to some extent. It is highly instructive to consider, _e.g._, the
significance of any hysterical phobia or of an agoraphobia. Suppose a
neurotic incapable of crossing the street alone, which we would justly
call a "symptom." We attempt to remove this symptom by urging him to the
action which he deems himself incapable of. The result will be an
attack of anxiety, just as an attack of anxiety in the street has often
been the cause of establishing an agoraphobia. We thus learn that the
symptom has been constituted in order to guard against the outbreak of
the anxiety. The phobia is thrown before the anxiety like a fortress on
the frontier.

Unless we enter into the part played by the affects in these processes,
which can be done here only imperfectly, we cannot continue our
discussion. Let us therefore advance the proposition that the reason why
the suppression of the unconscious becomes absolutely necessary is
because, if the discharge of presentation should be left to itself, it
would develop an affect in the Unc. which originally bore the character
of pleasure, but which, since the appearance of the repression, bears
the character of pain. The aim, as well as the result, of the
suppression is to stop the development of this pain. The suppression
extends over the unconscious ideation, because the liberation of pain
might emanate from the ideation. The foundation is here laid for a very
definite assumption concerning the nature of the affective development.
It is regarded as a motor or secondary activity, the key to the
innervation of which is located in the presentations of the Unc. Through
the domination of the Forec. these presentations become, as it were,
throttled and inhibited at the exit of the emotion-developing impulses.
The danger, which is due to the fact that the Forec. ceases to occupy
the energy, therefore consists in the fact that the unconscious
excitations liberate such an affect as--in consequence of the repression
that has previously taken place--can only be perceived as pain or

This danger is released through the full sway of the dream process. The
determinations for its realization consist in the fact that repressions
have taken place, and that the suppressed emotional wishes shall become
sufficiently strong. They thus stand entirely without the psychological
realm of the dream structure. Were it not for the fact that our subject
is connected through just one factor, namely, the freeing of the Unc.
during sleep, with the subject of the development of anxiety, I could
dispense with discussion of the anxiety dream, and thus avoid all
obscurities connected with it.

As I have often repeated, the theory of the anxiety belongs to the
psychology of the neuroses. I would say that the anxiety in the dream is
an anxiety problem and not a dream problem. We have nothing further to
do with it after having once demonstrated its point of contact with the
subject of the dream process. There is only one thing left for me to do.
As I have asserted that the neurotic anxiety originates from sexual
sources, I can subject anxiety dreams to analysis in order to
demonstrate the sexual material in their dream thoughts.

For good reasons I refrain from citing here any of the numerous examples
placed at my disposal by neurotic patients, but prefer to give anxiety
dreams from young persons.

Personally, I have had no real anxiety dream for decades, but I recall
one from my seventh or eighth year which I subjected to interpretation
about thirty years later. The dream was very vivid, and showed me _my
beloved mother, with peculiarly calm sleeping countenance, carried into
the room and laid on the bed by two (or three) persons with birds'
beaks_. I awoke crying and screaming, and disturbed my parents. The very
tall figures--draped in a peculiar manner--with beaks, I had taken from
the illustrations of Philippson's bible; I believe they represented
deities with heads of sparrowhawks from an Egyptian tomb relief. The
analysis also introduced the reminiscence of a naughty janitor's boy,
who used to play with us children on the meadow in front of the house; I
would add that his name was Philip. I feel that I first heard from this
boy the vulgar word signifying sexual intercourse, which is replaced
among the educated by the Latin "coitus," but to which the dream
distinctly alludes by the selection of the birds' heads. I must have
suspected the sexual significance of the word from the facial expression
of my worldly-wise teacher. My mother's features in the dream were
copied from the countenance of my grandfather, whom I had seen a few
days before his death snoring in the state of coma. The interpretation
of the secondary elaboration in the dream must therefore have been that
my mother was dying; the tomb relief, too, agrees with this. In this
anxiety I awoke, and could not calm myself until I had awakened my
parents. I remember that I suddenly became calm on coming face to face
with my mother, as if I needed the assurance that my mother was not
dead. But this secondary interpretation of the dream had been effected
only under the influence of the developed anxiety. I was not frightened
because I dreamed that my mother was dying, but I interpreted the dream
in this manner in the foreconscious elaboration because I was already
under the domination of the anxiety. The latter, however, could be
traced by means of the repression to an obscure obviously sexual desire,
which had found its satisfying expression in the visual content of the

A man twenty-seven years old who had been severely ill for a year had
had many terrifying dreams between the ages of eleven and thirteen. He
thought that a man with an ax was running after him; he wished to run,
but felt paralyzed and could not move from the spot. This may be taken
as a good example of a very common, and apparently sexually indifferent,
anxiety dream. In the analysis the dreamer first thought of a story told
him by his uncle, which chronologically was later than the dream, viz.
that he was attacked at night by a suspicious-looking individual. This
occurrence led him to believe that he himself might have already heard
of a similar episode at the time of the dream. In connection with the ax
he recalled that during that period of his life he once hurt his hand
with an ax while chopping wood. This immediately led to his relations
with his younger brother, whom he used to maltreat and knock down. In
particular, he recalled an occasion when he struck his brother on the
head with his boot until he bled, whereupon his mother remarked: "I fear
he will kill him some day." While he was seemingly thinking of the
subject of violence, a reminiscence from his ninth year suddenly
occurred to him. His parents came home late and went to bed while he was
feigning sleep. He soon heard panting and other noises that appeared
strange to him, and he could also make out the position of his parents
in bed. His further associations showed that he had established an
analogy between this relation between his parents and his own relation
toward his younger brother. He subsumed what occurred between his
parents under the conception "violence and wrestling," and thus reached
a sadistic conception of the coitus act, as often happens among
children. The fact that he often noticed blood on his mother's bed
corroborated his conception.

That the sexual intercourse of adults appears strange to children who
observe it, and arouses fear in them, I dare say is a fact of daily
experience. I have explained this fear by the fact that sexual
excitement is not mastered by their understanding, and is probably also
inacceptable to them because their parents are involved in it. For the
same son this excitement is converted into fear. At a still earlier
period of life sexual emotion directed toward the parent of opposite sex
does not meet with repression but finds free expression, as we have seen

For the night terrors with hallucinations (_pavor nocturnus_) frequently
found in children, I would unhesitatingly give the same explanation.
Here, too, we are certainly dealing with the incomprehensible and
rejected sexual feelings, which, if noted, would probably show a
temporal periodicity, for an enhancement of the sexual _libido_ may
just as well be produced accidentally through emotional impressions as
through the spontaneous and gradual processes of development.

I lack the necessary material to sustain these explanations from
observation. On the other hand, the pediatrists seem to lack the point
of view which alone makes comprehensible the whole series of phenomena,
on the somatic as well as on the psychic side. To illustrate by a
comical example how one wearing the blinders of medical mythology may
miss the understanding of such cases I will relate a case which I found
in a thesis on _pavor nocturnus_ by _Debacker_, 1881. A
thirteen-year-old boy of delicate health began to become anxious and
dreamy; his sleep became restless, and about once a week it was
interrupted by an acute attack of anxiety with hallucinations. The
memory of these dreams was invariably very distinct. Thus, he related
that the _devil_ shouted at him: "Now we have you, now we have you," and
this was followed by an odor of sulphur; the fire burned his skin. This
dream aroused him, terror-stricken. He was unable to scream at first;
then his voice returned, and he was heard to say distinctly: "No, no,
not me; why, I have done nothing," or, "Please don't, I shall never do
it again." Occasionally, also, he said: "Albert has not done that."
Later he avoided undressing, because, as he said, the fire attacked him
only when he was undressed. From amid these evil dreams, which menaced
his health, he was sent into the country, where he recovered within a
year and a half, but at the age of fifteen he once confessed: "Je
n'osais pas l'avouer, mais j'éprouvais continuellement des picotements
et des surexcitations aux _parties_; à la fin, cela m'énervait tant que
plusieurs fois, j'ai pensé me jeter par la fenêtre au dortoir."

It is certainly not difficult to suspect: 1, that the boy had practiced
masturbation in former years, that he probably denied it, and was
threatened with severe punishment for his wrongdoing (his confession: Je
ne le ferai plus; his denial: Albert n'a jamais fait ça). 2, That under
the pressure of puberty the temptation to self-abuse through the
tickling of the genitals was reawakened. 3, That now, however, a
struggle of repression arose in him, suppressing the _libido_ and
changing it into fear, which subsequently took the form of the
punishments with which he was then threatened.

Let us, however, quote the conclusions drawn by our author. This
observation shows: 1, That the influence of puberty may produce in a
boy of delicate health a condition of extreme weakness, and that it may
lead to a _very marked cerebral anæmia_.

2. This cerebral anæmia produces a transformation of character,
demonomaniacal hallucinations, and very violent nocturnal, perhaps also
diurnal, states of anxiety.

3. Demonomania and the self-reproaches of the day can be traced to the
influences of religious education which the subject underwent as a

4. All manifestations disappeared as a result of a lengthy sojourn in
the country, bodily exercise, and the return of physical strength after
the termination of the period of puberty.

5. A predisposing influence for the origin of the cerebral condition of
the boy may be attributed to heredity and to the father's chronic
syphilitic state.

The concluding remarks of the author read: "Nous avons fait entrer cette
observation dans le cadre des délires apyrétiques d'inanition, car c'est
à l'ischémie cérébrale que nous rattachons cet état particulier."



In venturing to attempt to penetrate more deeply into the psychology of
the dream processes, I have undertaken a difficult task, to which,
indeed, my power of description is hardly equal. To reproduce in
description by a succession of words the simultaneousness of so complex
a chain of events, and in doing so to appear unbiassed throughout the
exposition, goes fairly beyond my powers. I have now to atone for the
fact that I have been unable in my description of the dream psychology
to follow the historic development of my views. The view-points for my
conception of the dream were reached through earlier investigations in
the psychology of the neuroses, to which I am not supposed to refer
here, but to which I am repeatedly forced to refer, whereas I should
prefer to proceed in the opposite direction, and, starting from the
dream, to establish a connection with the psychology of the neuroses. I
am well aware of all the inconveniences arising for the reader from this
difficulty, but I know of no way to avoid them.

As I am dissatisfied with this state of affairs, I am glad to dwell
upon another view-point which seems to raise the value of my efforts. As
has been shown in the introduction to the first chapter, I found myself
confronted with a theme which had been marked by the sharpest
contradictions on the part of the authorities. After our elaboration of
the dream problems we found room for most of these contradictions. We
have been forced, however, to take decided exception to two of the views
pronounced, viz. that the dream is a senseless and that it is a somatic
process; apart from these cases we have had to accept all the
contradictory views in one place or another of the complicated argument,
and we have been able to demonstrate that they had discovered something
that was correct. That the dream continues the impulses and interests of
the waking state has been quite generally confirmed through the
discovery of the latent thoughts of the dream. These thoughts concern
themselves only with things that seem important and of momentous
interest to us. The dream never occupies itself with trifles. But we
have also concurred with the contrary view, viz., that the dream gathers
up the indifferent remnants from the day, and that not until it has in
some measure withdrawn itself from the waking activity can an important
event of the day be taken up by the dream. We found this holding true
for the dream content, which gives the dream thought its changed
expression by means of disfigurement. We have said that from the nature
of the association mechanism the dream process more easily takes
possession of recent or indifferent material which has not yet been
seized by the waking mental activity; and by reason of the censor it
transfers the psychic intensity from the important but also disagreeable
to the indifferent material. The hypermnesia of the dream and the resort
to infantile material have become main supports in our theory. In our
theory of the dream we have attributed to the wish originating from the
infantile the part of an indispensable motor for the formation of the
dream. We naturally could not think of doubting the experimentally
demonstrated significance of the objective sensory stimuli during sleep;
but we have brought this material into the same relation to the
dream-wish as the thought remnants from the waking activity. There was
no need of disputing the fact that the dream interprets the objective
sensory stimuli after the manner of an illusion; but we have supplied
the motive for this interpretation which has been left undecided by the
authorities. The interpretation follows in such a manner that the
perceived object is rendered harmless as a sleep disturber and becomes
available for the wish-fulfillment. Though we do not admit as special
sources of the dream the subjective state of excitement of the sensory
organs during sleep, which seems to have been demonstrated by Trumbull
Ladd, we are nevertheless able to explain this excitement through the
regressive revival of active memories behind the dream. A modest part in
our conception has also been assigned to the inner organic sensations
which are wont to be taken as the cardinal point in the explanation of
the dream. These--the sensation of falling, flying, or inhibition--stand
as an ever ready material to be used by the dream-work to express the
dream thought as often as need arises.

That the dream process is a rapid and momentary one seems to be true for
the perception through consciousness of the already prepared dream
content; the preceding parts of the dream process probably take a slow,
fluctuating course. We have solved the riddle of the superabundant dream
content compressed within the briefest moment by explaining that this is
due to the appropriation of almost fully formed structures from the
psychic life. That the dream is disfigured and distorted by memory we
found to be correct, but not troublesome, as this is only the last
manifest operation in the work of disfigurement which has been active
from the beginning of the dream-work. In the bitter and seemingly
irreconcilable controversy as to whether the psychic life sleeps at
night or can make the same use of all its capabilities as during the
day, we have been able to agree with both sides, though not fully with
either. We have found proof that the dream thoughts represent a most
complicated intellectual activity, employing almost every means
furnished by the psychic apparatus; still it cannot be denied that these
dream thoughts have originated during the day, and it is indispensable
to assume that there is a sleeping state of the psychic life. Thus, even
the theory of partial sleep has come into play; but the characteristics
of the sleeping state have been found not in the dilapidation of the
psychic connections but in the cessation of the psychic system
dominating the day, arising from its desire to sleep. The withdrawal
from the outer world retains its significance also for our conception;
though not the only factor, it nevertheless helps the regression to make
possible the representation of the dream. That we should reject the
voluntary guidance of the presentation course is uncontestable; but the
psychic life does not thereby become aimless, for we have seen that
after the abandonment of the desired end-presentation undesired ones
gain the mastery. The loose associative connection in the dream we have
not only recognized, but we have placed under its control a far greater
territory than could have been supposed; we have, however, found it
merely the feigned substitute for another correct and senseful one. To
be sure we, too, have called the dream absurd; but we have been able to
learn from examples how wise the dream really is when it simulates
absurdity. We do not deny any of the functions that have been attributed
to the dream. That the dream relieves the mind like a valve, and that,
according to Robert's assertion, all kinds of harmful material are
rendered harmless through representation in the dream, not only exactly
coincides with our theory of the twofold wish-fulfillment in the dream,
but, in his own wording, becomes even more comprehensible for us than
for Robert himself. The free indulgence of the psychic in the play of
its faculties finds expression with us in the non-interference with the
dream on the part of the foreconscious activity. The "return to the
embryonal state of psychic life in the dream" and the observation of
Havelock Ellis, "an archaic world of vast emotions and imperfect
thoughts," appear to us as happy anticipations of our deductions to the
effect that _primitive_ modes of work suppressed during the day
participate in the formation of the dream; and with us, as with Delage,
the _suppressed_ material becomes the mainspring of the dreaming.

We have fully recognized the rôle which Scherner ascribes to the dream
phantasy, and even his interpretation; but we have been obliged, so to
speak, to conduct them to another department in the problem. It is not
the dream that produces the phantasy but the unconscious phantasy that
takes the greatest part in the formation of the dream thoughts. We are
indebted to Scherner for his clew to the source of the dream thoughts,
but almost everything that he ascribes to the dream-work is attributable
to the activity of the unconscious, which is at work during the day, and
which supplies incitements not only for dreams but for neurotic symptoms
as well. We have had to separate the dream-work from this activity as
being something entirely different and far more restricted. Finally, we
have by no means abandoned the relation of the dream to mental
disturbances, but, on the contrary, we have given it a more solid
foundation on new ground.

Thus held together by the new material of our theory as by a superior
unity, we find the most varied and most contradictory conclusions of the
authorities fitting into our structure; some of them are differently
disposed, only a few of them are entirely rejected. But our own
structure is still unfinished. For, disregarding the many obscurities
which we have necessarily encountered in our advance into the darkness
of psychology, we are now apparently embarrassed by a new contradiction.
On the one hand, we have allowed the dream thoughts to proceed from
perfectly normal mental operations, while, on the other hand, we have
found among the dream thoughts a number of entirely abnormal mental
processes which extend likewise to the dream contents. These,
consequently, we have repeated in the interpretation of the dream. All
that we have termed the "dream-work" seems so remote from the psychic
processes recognized by us as correct, that the severest judgments of
the authors as to the low psychic activity of dreaming seem to us well

Perhaps only through still further advance can enlightenment and
improvement be brought about. I shall pick out one of the constellations
leading to the formation of dreams.

We have learned that the dream replaces a number of thoughts derived
from daily life which are perfectly formed logically. We cannot
therefore doubt that these thoughts originate from our normal mental
life. All the qualities which we esteem in our mental operations, and
which distinguish these as complicated activities of a high order, we
find repeated in the dream thoughts. There is, however, no need of
assuming that this mental work is performed during sleep, as this would
materially impair the conception of the psychic state of sleep we have
hitherto adhered to. These thoughts may just as well have originated
from the day, and, unnoticed by our consciousness from their inception,
they may have continued to develop until they stood complete at the
onset of sleep. If we are to conclude anything from this state of
affairs, it will at most prove _that the most complex mental operations
are possible without the coöperation of consciousness_, which we have
already learned independently from every psychoanalysis of persons
suffering from hysteria or obsessions. These dream thoughts are in
themselves surely not incapable of consciousness; if they have not
become conscious to us during the day, this may have various reasons.
The state of becoming conscious depends on the exercise of a certain
psychic function, viz. attention, which seems to be extended only in a
definite quantity, and which may have been withdrawn from the stream of
thought in Question by other aims. Another way in which such mental
streams are kept from consciousness is the following:--Our conscious
reflection teaches us that when exercising attention we pursue a
definite course. But if that course leads us to an idea which does not
hold its own with the critic, we discontinue and cease to apply our
attention. Now, apparently, the stream of thought thus started and
abandoned may spin on without regaining attention unless it reaches a
spot of especially marked intensity which forces the return of
attention. An initial rejection, perhaps consciously brought about by
the judgment on the ground of incorrectness or unfitness for the actual
purpose of the mental act, may therefore account for the fact that a
mental process continues until the onset of sleep unnoticed by

Let us recapitulate by saying that we call such a stream of thought a
foreconscious one, that we believe it to be perfectly correct, and that
it may just as well be a more neglected one or an interrupted and
suppressed one. Let us also state frankly in what manner we conceive
this presentation course. We believe that a certain sum of excitement,
which we call occupation energy, is displaced from an end-presentation
along the association paths selected by that end-presentation. A
"neglected" stream of thought has received no such occupation, and from
a "suppressed" or "rejected" one this occupation has been withdrawn;
both have thus been left to their own emotions. The end-stream of
thought stocked with energy is under certain conditions able to draw to
itself the attention of consciousness, through which means it then
receives a "surplus of energy." We shall be obliged somewhat later to
elucidate our assumption concerning the nature and activity of

A train of thought thus incited in the Forec. may either disappear
spontaneously or continue. The former issue we conceive as follows: It
diffuses its energy through all the association paths emanating from it,
and throws the entire chain of ideas into a state of excitement which,
after lasting for a while, subsides through the transformation of the
excitement requiring an outlet into dormant energy.[1] If this first
issue is brought about the process has no further significance for the
dream formation. But other end-presentations are lurking in our
foreconscious that originate from the sources of our unconscious and
from the ever active wishes. These may take possession of the
excitations in the circle of thought thus left to itself, establish a
connection between it and the unconscious wish, and transfer to it the
energy inherent in the unconscious wish. Henceforth the neglected or
suppressed train of thought is in a position to maintain itself,
although this reinforcement does not help it to gain access to
consciousness. We may say that the hitherto foreconscious train of
thought has been drawn into the unconscious.

Other constellations for the dream formation would result if the
foreconscious train of thought had from the beginning been connected
with the unconscious wish, and for that reason met with rejection by the
dominating end-occupation; or if an unconscious wish were made active
for other--possibly somatic--reasons and of its own accord sought a
transference to the psychic remnants not occupied by the Forec. All
three cases finally combine in one issue, so that there is established
in the foreconscious a stream of thought which, having been abandoned by
the foreconscious occupation, receives occupation from the unconscious

The stream of thought is henceforth subjected to a series of
transformations which we no longer recognize as normal psychic processes
and which give us a surprising result, viz. a psychopathological
formation. Let us emphasize and group the same.

1. The intensities of the individual ideas become capable of discharge
in their entirety, and, proceeding from one conception to the other,
they thus form single presentations endowed with marked intensity.
Through the repeated recurrence of this process the intensity of an
entire train of ideas may ultimately be gathered in a single
presentation element. This is the principle of _compression or
condensation_. It is condensation that is mainly responsible for the
strange impression of the dream, for we know of nothing analogous to it
in the normal psychic life accessible to consciousness. We find here,
also, presentations which possess great psychic significance as
junctions or as end-results of whole chains of thought; but this
validity does not manifest itself in any character conspicuous enough
for internal perception; hence, what has been presented in it does not
become in any way more intensive. In the process of condensation the
entire psychic connection becomes transformed into the intensity of the
presentation content. It is the same as in a book where we space or
print in heavy type any word upon which particular stress is laid for
the understanding of the text. In speech the same word would be
pronounced loudly and deliberately and with emphasis. The first
comparison leads us at once to an example taken from the chapter on "The
Dream-Work" (trimethylamine in the dream of Irma's injection).
Historians of art call our attention to the fact that the most ancient
historical sculptures follow a similar principle in expressing the rank
of the persons represented by the size of the statue. The king is made
two or three times as large as his retinue or the vanquished enemy. A
piece of art, however, from the Roman period makes use of more subtle
means to accomplish the same purpose. The figure of the emperor is
placed in the center in a firmly erect posture; special care is bestowed
on the proper modelling of his figure; his enemies are seen cowering at
his feet; but he is no longer represented a giant among dwarfs. However,
the bowing of the subordinate to his superior in our own days is only an
echo of that ancient principle of representation.

The direction taken by the condensations of the dream is prescribed on
the one hand by the true foreconscious relations of the dream thoughts,
an the other hand by the attraction of the visual reminiscences in the
unconscious. The success of the condensation work produces those
intensities which are required for penetration into the perception

2. Through this free transferability of the intensities, moreover, and
in the service of condensation, _intermediary
presentations_--compromises, as it were--are formed (_cf._ the numerous
examples). This, likewise, is something unheard of in the normal
presentation course, where it is above all a question of selection and
retention of the "proper" presentation element. On the other hand,
composite and compromise formations occur with extraordinary frequency
when we are trying to find the linguistic expression for foreconscious
thoughts; these are considered "slips of the tongue."

3. The presentations which transfer their intensities to one another are
_very loosely connected_, and are joined together by such forms of
association as are spurned in our serious thought and are utilized in
the production of the effect of wit only. Among these we particularly
find associations of the sound and consonance types.

4. Contradictory thoughts do not strive to eliminate one another, but
remain side by side. They often unite to produce condensation _as if no
contradiction_ existed, or they form compromises for which we should
never forgive our thoughts, but which we frequently approve of in our

These are some of the most conspicuous abnormal processes to which the
thoughts which have previously been rationally formed are subjected in
the course of the dream-work. As the main feature of these processes we
recognize the high importance attached to the fact of rendering the
occupation energy mobile and capable of discharge; the content and the
actual significance of the psychic elements, to which these energies
adhere, become a matter of secondary importance. One might possibly
think that the condensation and compromise formation is effected only in
the service of regression, when occasion arises for changing thoughts
into pictures. But the analysis and--still more distinctly--the
synthesis of dreams which lack regression toward pictures, _e.g._ the
dream "Autodidasker--Conversation with Court-Councilor N.," present the
same processes of displacement and condensation as the others.

Hence we cannot refuse to acknowledge that the two kinds of essentially
different psychic processes participate in the formation of the dream;
one forms perfectly correct dream thoughts which are equivalent to
normal thoughts, while the other treats these ideas in a highly
surprising and incorrect manner. The latter process we have already set
apart as the dream-work proper. What have we now to advance concerning
this latter psychic process?

We should be unable to answer this question here if we had not
penetrated considerably into the psychology of the neuroses and
especially of hysteria. From this we learn that the same incorrect
psychic processes--as well as others that have not been
enumerated--control the formation of hysterical symptoms. In hysteria,
too, we at once find a series of perfectly correct thoughts equivalent
to our conscious thoughts, of whose existence, however, in this form we
can learn nothing and which we can only subsequently reconstruct. If
they have forced their way anywhere to our perception, we discover from
the analysis of the symptom formed that these normal thoughts have been
subjected to abnormal treatment and _have been transformed into the
symptom by means of condensation and compromise formation, through
superficial associations, under cover of contradictions, and eventually
over the road of regression_. In view of the complete identity found
between the peculiarities of the dream-work and of the psychic activity
forming the psychoneurotic symptoms, we shall feel justified in
transferring to the dream the conclusions urged upon us by hysteria.

From the theory of hysteria we borrow the proposition that _such an
abnormal psychic elaboration of a normal train of thought takes place
only when the latter has been used for the transference of an
unconscious wish which dates from the infantile life and is in a state
of repression_. In accordance with this proposition we have construed
the theory of the dream on the assumption that the actuating dream-wish
invariably originates in the unconscious, which, as we ourselves have
admitted, cannot be universally demonstrated though it cannot be
refuted. But in order to explain the real meaning of the term
_repression_, which we have employed so freely, we shall be obliged to
make some further addition to our psychological construction.

We have above elaborated the fiction of a primitive psychic apparatus,
whose work is regulated by the efforts to avoid accumulation of
excitement and as far as possible to maintain itself free from
excitement. For this reason it was constructed after the plan of a
reflex apparatus; the motility, originally the path for the inner bodily
change, formed a discharging path standing at its disposal. We
subsequently discussed the psychic results of a feeling of
gratification, and we might at the same time have introduced the second
assumption, viz. that accumulation of excitement--following certain
modalities that do not concern us--is perceived as pain and sets the
apparatus in motion in order to reproduce a feeling of gratification in
which the diminution of the excitement is perceived as pleasure. Such a
current in the apparatus which emanates from pain and strives for
pleasure we call a wish. We have said that nothing but a wish is capable
of setting the apparatus in motion, and that the discharge of excitement
in the apparatus is regulated automatically by the perception of
pleasure and pain. The first wish must have been an hallucinatory
occupation of the memory for gratification. But this hallucination,
unless it were maintained to the point of exhaustion, proved incapable
of bringing about a cessation of the desire and consequently of securing
the pleasure connected with gratification.

Thus there was required a second activity--in our terminology the
activity of a second system--which should not permit the memory
occupation to advance to perception and therefrom to restrict the
psychic forces, but should lead the excitement emanating from the
craving stimulus by a devious path over the spontaneous motility which
ultimately should so change the outer world as to allow the real
perception of the object of gratification to take place. Thus far we
have elaborated the plan of the psychic apparatus; these two systems are
the germ of the Unc. and Forec, which we include in the fully developed

In order to be in a position successfully to change the outer world
through the motility, there is required the accumulation of a large sum
of experiences in the memory systems as well as a manifold fixation of
the relations which are evoked in this memory material by different
end-presentations. We now proceed further with our assumption. The
manifold activity of the second system, tentatively sending forth and
retracting energy, must on the one hand have full command over all
memory material, but on the other hand it would be a superfluous
expenditure for it to send to the individual mental paths large
quantities of energy which would thus flow off to no purpose,
diminishing the quantity available for the transformation of the outer
world. In the interests of expediency I therefore postulate that the
second system succeeds in maintaining the greater part of the occupation
energy in a dormant state and in using but a small portion for the
purposes of displacement. The mechanism of these processes is entirely
unknown to me; any one who wishes to follow up these ideas must try to
find the physical analogies and prepare the way for a demonstration of
the process of motion in the stimulation of the neuron. I merely hold to
the idea that the activity of the first [Greek: Psi]-system is directed
_to the free outflow of the quantities of excitement_, and that the
second system brings about an inhibition of this outflow through the
energies emanating from it, _i.e._ it produces a _transformation into
dormant energy, probably by raising the level_. I therefore assume that
under the control of the second system as compared with the first, the
course of the excitement is bound to entirely different mechanical
conditions. After the second system has finished its tentative mental
work, it removes the inhibition and congestion of the excitements and
allows these excitements to flow off to the motility.

An interesting train of thought now presents itself if we consider the
relations of this inhibition of discharge by the second system to the
regulation through the principle of pain. Let us now seek the
counterpart of the primary feeling of gratification, namely, the
objective feeling of fear. A perceptive stimulus acts on the primitive
apparatus, becoming the source of a painful emotion. This will then be
followed by irregular motor manifestations until one of these withdraws
the apparatus from perception and at the same time from pain, but on the
reappearance of the perception this manifestation will immediately
repeat itself (perhaps as a movement of flight) until the perception has
again disappeared. But there will here remain no tendency again to
occupy the perception of the source of pain in the form of an
hallucination or in any other form. On the contrary, there will be a
tendency in the primary apparatus to abandon the painful memory picture
as soon as it is in any way awakened, as the overflow of its excitement
would surely produce (more precisely, begin to produce) pain. The
deviation from memory, which is but a repetition of the former flight
from perception, is facilitated also by the fact that, unlike
perception, memory does not possess sufficient quality to excite
consciousness and thereby to attract to itself new energy. This easy and
regularly occurring deviation of the psychic process from the former
painful memory presents to us the model and the first example of
_psychic repression_. As is generally known, much of this deviation from
the painful, much of the behavior of the ostrich, can be readily
demonstrated even in the normal psychic life of adults.

By virtue of the principle of pain the first system is therefore
altogether incapable of introducing anything unpleasant into the mental
associations. The system cannot do anything but wish. If this remained
so the mental activity of the second system, which should have at its
disposal all the memories stored up by experiences, would be hindered.
But two ways are now opened: the work of the second system either frees
itself completely from the principle of pain and continues its course,
paying no heed to the painful reminiscence, or it contrives to occupy
the painful memory in such a manner as to preclude the liberation of
pain. We may reject the first possibility, as the principle of pain also
manifests itself as a regulator for the emotional discharge of the
second system; we are, therefore, directed to the second possibility,
namely, that this system occupies a reminiscence in such a manner as to
inhibit its discharge and hence, also, to inhibit the discharge
comparable to a motor innervation for the development of pain. Thus from
two starting points we are led to the hypothesis that occupation through
the second system is at the same time an inhibition for the emotional
discharge, viz. from a consideration of the principle of pain and from
the principle of the smallest expenditure of innervation. Let us,
however, keep to the fact--this is the key to the theory of
repression--that the second system is capable of occupying an idea only
when it is in position to check the development of pain emanating from
it. Whatever withdraws itself from this inhibition also remains
inaccessible for the second system and would soon be abandoned by virtue
of the principle of pain. The inhibition of pain, however, need not be
complete; it must be permitted to begin, as it indicates to the second
system the nature of the memory and possibly its defective adaptation
for the purpose sought by the mind.

The psychic process which is admitted by the first system only I shall
now call the _primary_ process; and the one resulting from the
inhibition of the second system I shall call the _secondary_ process. I
show by another point for what purpose the second system is obliged to
correct the primary process. The primary process strives for a discharge
of the excitement in order to establish a _perception_ identity with the
sum of excitement thus gathered; the secondary process has abandoned
this intention and undertaken instead the task of bringing about a
_thought identity_. All thinking is only a circuitous path from the
memory of gratification taken as an end-presentation to the identical
occupation of the same memory, which is again to be attained on the
track of the motor experiences. The state of thinking must take an
interest in the connecting paths between the presentations without
allowing itself to be misled by their intensities. But it is obvious
that condensations and intermediate or compromise formations occurring
in the presentations impede the attainment of this end-identity; by
substituting one idea for the other they deviate from the path which
otherwise would have been continued from the original idea. Such
processes are therefore carefully avoided in the secondary thinking. Nor
is it difficult to understand that the principle of pain also impedes
the progress of the mental stream in its pursuit of the thought
identity, though, indeed, it offers to the mental stream the most
important points of departure. Hence the tendency of the thinking
process must be to free itself more and more from exclusive adjustment
by the principle of pain, and through the working of the mind to
restrict the affective development to that minimum which is necessary as
a signal. This refinement of the activity must have been attained
through a recent over-occupation of energy brought about by
consciousness. But we are aware that this refinement is seldom
completely successful even in the most normal psychic life and that our
thoughts ever remain accessible to falsification through the
interference of the principle of pain.

This, however, is not the breach in the functional efficiency of our
psychic apparatus through which the thoughts forming the material of the
secondary mental work are enabled to make their way into the primary
psychic process--with which formula we may now describe the work leading
to the dream and to the hysterical symptoms. This case of insufficiency
results from the union of the two factors from the history of our
evolution; one of which belongs solely to the psychic apparatus and has
exerted a determining influence on the relation of the two systems,
while the other operates fluctuatingly and introduces motive forces of
organic origin into the psychic life. Both originate in the infantile
life and result from the transformation which our psychic and somatic
organism has undergone since the infantile period.

When I termed one of the psychic processes in the psychic apparatus the
primary process, I did so not only in consideration of the order of
precedence and capability, but also as admitting the temporal relations
to a share in the nomenclature. As far as our knowledge goes there is no
psychic apparatus possessing only the primary process, and in so far it
is a theoretic fiction; but so much is based on fact that the primary
processes are present in the apparatus from the beginning, while the
secondary processes develop gradually in the course of life, inhibiting
and covering the primary ones, and gaining complete mastery over them
perhaps only at the height of life. Owing to this retarded appearance of
the secondary processes, the essence of our being, consisting in
unconscious wish feelings, can neither be seized nor inhibited by the
foreconscious, whose part is once for all restricted to the indication
of the most suitable paths for the wish feelings originating in the
unconscious. These unconscious wishes establish for all subsequent
psychic efforts a compulsion to which they have to submit and which
they must strive if possible to divert from its course and direct to
higher aims. In consequence of this retardation of the foreconscious
occupation a large sphere of the memory material remains inaccessible.

Among these indestructible and unincumbered wish feelings originating
from the infantile life, there are also some, the fulfillments of which
have entered into a relation of contradiction to the end-presentation of
the secondary thinking. The fulfillment of these wishes would no longer
produce an affect of pleasure but one of pain; _and it is just this
transformation of affect that constitutes the nature of what we
designate as "repression," in which we recognize the infantile first
step of passing adverse sentence or of rejecting through reason_. To
investigate in what way and through what motive forces such a
transformation can be produced constitutes the problem of repression,
which we need here only skim over. It will suffice to remark that such a
transformation of affect occurs in the course of development (one may
think of the appearance in infantile life of disgust which was
originally absent), and that it is connected with the activity of the
secondary system. The memories from which the unconscious wish brings
about the emotional discharge have never been accessible to the Forec.,
and for that reason their emotional discharge cannot be inhibited. It
is just on account of this affective development that these ideas are
not even now accessible to the foreconscious thoughts to which they have
transferred their wishing power. On the contrary, the principle of pain
comes into play, and causes the Forec. to deviate from these thoughts of
transference. The latter, left to themselves, are "repressed," and thus
the existence of a store of infantile memories, from the very beginning
withdrawn from the Forec., becomes the preliminary condition of

In the most favorable case the development of pain terminates as soon as
the energy has been withdrawn from the thoughts of transference in the
Forec., and this effect characterizes the intervention of the principle
of pain as expedient. It is different, however, if the repressed
unconscious wish receives an organic enforcement which it can lend to
its thoughts of transference and through which it can enable them to
make an effort towards penetration with their excitement, even after
they have been abandoned by the occupation of the Forec. A defensive
struggle then ensues, inasmuch as the Forec. reinforces the antagonism
against the repressed ideas, and subsequently this leads to a
penetration by the thoughts of transference (the carriers of the
unconscious wish) in some form of compromise through symptom formation.
But from the moment that the suppressed thoughts are powerfully occupied
by the unconscious wish-feeling and abandoned by the foreconscious
occupation, they succumb to the primary psychic process and strive only
for motor discharge; or, if the path be free, for hallucinatory revival
of the desired perception identity. We have previously found,
empirically, that the incorrect processes described are enacted only
with thoughts that exist in the repression. We now grasp another part of
the connection. These incorrect processes are those that are primary in
the psychic apparatus; _they appear wherever thoughts abandoned by the
foreconscious occupation are left to themselves, and can fill themselves
with the uninhibited energy, striving for discharge from the
unconscious_. We may add a few further observations to support the view
that these processes designated "incorrect" are really not
falsifications of the normal defective thinking, but the modes of
activity of the psychic apparatus when freed from inhibition. Thus we
see that the transference of the foreconscious excitement to the
motility takes place according to the same processes, and that the
connection of the foreconscious presentations with words readily
manifest the same displacements and mixtures which are ascribed to
inattention. Finally, I should like to adduce proof that an increase of
work necessarily results from the inhibition of these primary courses
from the fact that we gain a _comical effect_, a surplus to be
discharged through laughter, _if we allow these streams of thought to
come to consciousness_.

The theory of the psychoneuroses asserts with complete certainty that
only sexual wish-feelings from the infantile life experience repression
(emotional transformation) during the developmental period of childhood.
These are capable of returning to activity at a later period of
development, and then have the faculty of being revived, either as a
consequence of the sexual constitution, which is really formed from the
original bisexuality, or in consequence of unfavorable influences of the
sexual life; and they thus supply the motive power for all
psychoneurotic symptom formations. It is only by the introduction of
these sexual forces that the gaps still demonstrable in the theory of
repression can be filled. I will leave it undecided whether the
postulate of the sexual and infantile may also be asserted for the
theory of the dream; I leave this here unfinished because I have already
passed a step beyond the demonstrable in assuming that the dream-wish
invariably originates from the unconscious.[2] Nor will I further
investigate the difference in the play of the psychic forces in the
dream formation and in the formation of the hysterical symptoms, for to
do this we ought to possess a more explicit knowledge of one of the
members to be compared. But I regard another point as important, and
will here confess that it was on account of this very point that I have
just undertaken this entire discussion concerning the two psychic
systems, their modes of operation, and the repression. For it is now
immaterial whether I have conceived the psychological relations in
question with approximate correctness, or, as is easily possible in such
a difficult matter, in an erroneous and fragmentary manner. Whatever
changes may be made in the interpretation of the psychic censor and of
the correct and of the abnormal elaboration of the dream content, the
fact nevertheless remains that such processes are active in dream
formation, and that essentially they show the closest analogy to the
processes observed in the formation of the hysterical symptoms. The
dream is not a pathological phenomenon, and it does not leave behind an
enfeeblement of the mental faculties. The objection that no deduction
can be drawn regarding the dreams of healthy persons from my own dreams
and from those of neurotic patients may be rejected without comment.
Hence, when we draw conclusions from the phenomena as to their motive
forces, we recognize that the psychic mechanism made use of by the
neuroses is not created by a morbid disturbance of the psychic life, but
is found ready in the normal structure of the psychic apparatus. The two
psychic systems, the censor crossing between them, the inhibition and
the covering of the one activity by the other, the relations of both to
consciousness--or whatever may offer a more correct interpretation of
the actual conditions in their stead--all these belong to the normal
structure of our psychic instrument, and the dream points out for us one
of the roads leading to a knowledge of this structure. If, in addition
to our knowledge, we wish to be contented with a minimum perfectly
established, we shall say that the dream gives us proof that the
_suppressed, material continues to exist even in the normal person and
remains capable of psychic activity_. The dream itself is one of the
manifestations of this suppressed material; theoretically, this is true
in _all_ cases; according to substantial experience it is true in at
least a great number of such as most conspicuously display the prominent
characteristics of dream life. The suppressed psychic material, which in
the waking state has been prevented from expression and cut off from
internal perception _by the antagonistic adjustment of the
contradictions_, finds ways and means of obtruding itself on
consciousness during the night under the domination of the compromise

     _"Flectere si nequeo superos, Acheronta movebo."_

At any rate the interpretation of dreams is the _via regia_ to a
knowledge of the unconscious in the psychic life.

In following the analysis of the dream we have made some progress toward
an understanding of the composition of this most marvelous and most
mysterious of instruments; to be sure, we have not gone very far, but
enough of a beginning has been made to allow us to advance from other
so-called pathological formations further into the analysis of the
unconscious. Disease--at least that which is justly termed
functional--is not due to the destruction of this apparatus, and the
establishment of new splittings in its interior; it is rather to be
explained dynamically through the strengthening and weakening of the
components in the play of forces by which so many activities are
concealed during the normal function. We have been able to show in
another place how the composition of the apparatus from the two systems
permits a subtilization even of the normal activity which would be
impossible for a single system.

[1] _Cf._ the significant observations by J. Bueuer in our _Studies on
Hysteria_, 1895, and 2nd ed. 1909.

[2] Here, as in other places, there are gaps in the treatment of the
subject, which I have left intentionally, because to fill them up would
require on the one hand too great effort, and on the other hand an
extensive reference to material that is foreign to the dream. Thus I
have avoided stating whether I connect with the word "suppressed"
another sense than with the word "repressed." It has been made clear
only that the latter emphasizes more than the former the relation to the
unconscious. I have not entered into the cognate problem why the dream
thoughts also experience distortion by the censor when they abandon the
progressive continuation to consciousness and choose the path of
regression. I have been above all anxious to awaken an interest in the
problems to which the further analysis of the dreamwork leads and to
indicate the other themes which meet these on the way. It was not always
easy to decide just where the pursuit should be discontinued. That I
have not treated exhaustively the part played in the dream by the
psychosexual life and have avoided the interpretation of dreams of an
obvious sexual content is due to a special reason which may not come up
to the reader's expectation. To be sure, it is very far from my ideas
and the principles expressed by me in neuropathology to regard the
sexual life as a "pudendum" which should be left unconsidered by the
physician and the scientific investigator. I also consider ludicrous the
moral indignation which prompted the translator of Artemidoros of Daldis
to keep from the reader's knowledge the chapter on sexual dreams
contained in the _Symbolism of the Dreams_. As for myself, I have been
actuated solely by the conviction that in the explanation of sexual
dreams I should be bound to entangle myself deeply in the still
unexplained problems of perversion and bisexuality; and for that reason
I have reserved this material for another connection.



On closer inspection we find that it is not the existence of two systems
near the motor end of the apparatus but of two kinds of processes or
modes of emotional discharge, the assumption of which was explained in
the psychological discussions of the previous chapter. This can make no
difference for us, for we must always be ready to drop our auxiliary
ideas whenever we deem ourselves in position to replace them by
something else approaching more closely to the unknown reality. Let us
now try to correct some views which might be erroneously formed as long
as we regarded the two systems in the crudest and most obvious sense as
two localities within the psychic apparatus, views which have left their
traces in the terms "repression" and "penetration." Thus, when we say
that an unconscious idea strives for transference into the foreconscious
in order later to penetrate consciousness, we do not mean that a second
idea is to be formed situated in a new locality like an interlineation
near which the original continues to remain; also, when we speak of
penetration into consciousness, we wish carefully to avoid any idea of
change of locality. When we say that a foreconscious idea is repressed
and subsequently taken up by the unconscious, we might be tempted by
these figures, borrowed from the idea of a struggle over a territory, to
assume that an arrangement is really broken up in one psychic locality
and replaced by a new one in the other locality. For these comparisons
we substitute what would seem to correspond better with the real state
of affairs by saying that an energy occupation is displaced to or
withdrawn from a certain arrangement so that the psychic formation falls
under the domination of a system or is withdrawn from the same. Here
again we replace a topical mode of presentation by a dynamic; it is not
the psychic formation that appears to us as the moving factor but the
innervation of the same.

I deem it appropriate and justifiable, however, to apply ourselves still
further to the illustrative conception of the two systems. We shall
avoid any misapplication of this manner of representation if we remember
that presentations, thoughts, and psychic formations should generally
not be localized in the organic elements of the nervous system, but, so
to speak, between them, where resistances and paths form the correlate
corresponding to them. Everything that can become an object of our
internal perception is virtual, like the image in the telescope produced
by the passage of the rays of light. But we are justified in assuming
the existence of the systems, which have nothing psychic in themselves
and which never become accessible to our psychic perception,
corresponding to the lenses of the telescope which design the image. If
we continue this comparison, we may say that the censor between two
systems corresponds to the refraction of rays during their passage into
a new medium.

Thus far we have made psychology on our own responsibility; it is now
time to examine the theoretical opinions governing present-day
psychology and to test their relation to our theories. The question of
the unconscious, in psychology is, according to the authoritative words
of Lipps, less a psychological question than the question of psychology.
As long as psychology settled this question with the verbal explanation
that the "psychic" is the "conscious" and that "unconscious psychic
occurrences" are an obvious contradiction, a psychological estimate of
the observations gained by the physician from abnormal mental states was
precluded. The physician and the philosopher agree only when both
acknowledge that unconscious psychic processes are "the appropriate and
well-justified expression for an established fact." The physician cannot
but reject with a shrug of his shoulders the assertion that
"consciousness is the indispensable quality of the psychic"; he may
assume, if his respect for the utterings of the philosophers still be
strong enough, that he and they do not treat the same subject and do not
pursue the same science. For a single intelligent observation of the
psychic life of a neurotic, a single analysis of a dream must force upon
him the unalterable conviction that the most complicated and correct
mental operations, to which no one will refuse the name of psychic
occurrences, may take place without exciting the consciousness of the
person. It is true that the physician does not learn of these
unconscious processes until they have exerted such an effect on
consciousness as to admit communication or observation. But this effect
of consciousness may show a psychic character widely differing from the
unconscious process, so that the internal perception cannot possibly
recognize the one as a substitute for the other. The physician must
reserve for himself the right to penetrate, by a process of deduction,
from the effect on consciousness to the unconscious psychic process; he
learns in this way that the effect on consciousness is only a remote
psychic product of the unconscious process and that the latter has not
become conscious as such; that it has been in existence and operative
without betraying itself in any way to consciousness.

A reaction from the over-estimation of the quality of consciousness
becomes the indispensable preliminary condition for any correct insight
into the behavior of the psychic. In the words of Lipps, the unconscious
must be accepted as the general basis of the psychic life. The
unconscious is the larger circle which includes within itself the
smaller circle of the conscious; everything conscious has its
preliminary step in the unconscious, whereas the unconscious may stop
with this step and still claim full value as a psychic activity.
Properly speaking, the unconscious is the real psychic; _its inner
nature is just as unknown to us as the reality of the external world,
and it is just as imperfectly reported to us through the data of
consciousness as is the external world through the indications of our
sensory organs_.

A series of dream problems which have intensely occupied older authors
will be laid aside when the old opposition between conscious life and
dream life is abandoned and the unconscious psychic assigned to its
proper place. Thus many of the activities whose performances in the
dream have excited our admiration are now no longer to be attributed to
the dream but to unconscious thinking, which is also active during the
day. If, according to Scherner, the dream seems to play with a symboling
representation of the body, we know that this is the work of certain
unconscious phantasies which have probably given in to sexual emotions,
and that these phantasies come to expression not only in dreams but also
in hysterical phobias and in other symptoms. If the dream continues and
settles activities of the day and even brings to light valuable
inspirations, we have only to subtract from it the dream disguise as a
feat of dream-work and a mark of assistance from obscure forces in the
depth of the mind (_cf._ the devil in Tartini's sonata dream). The
intellectual task as such must be attributed to the same psychic forces
which perform all such tasks during the day. We are probably far too
much inclined to over-estimate the conscious character even of
intellectual and artistic productions. From the communications of some
of the most highly productive persons, such as Goethe and Helmholtz, we
learn, indeed, that the most essential and original parts in their
creations came to them in the form of inspirations and reached their
perceptions almost finished. There is nothing strange about the
assistance of the conscious activity in other cases where there was a
concerted effort of all the psychic forces. But it is a much abused
privilege of the conscious activity that it is allowed to hide from us
all other activities wherever it participates.

It will hardly be worth while to take up the historical significance of
dreams as a special subject. Where, for instance, a chieftain has been
urged through a dream to engage in a bold undertaking the success of
which has had the effect of changing history, a new problem results only
so long as the dream, regarded as a strange power, is contrasted with
other more familiar psychic forces; the problem, however, disappears
when we regard the dream as a form of expression for feelings which are
burdened with resistance during the day and which can receive
reinforcements at night from deep emotional sources. But the great
respect shown by the ancients for the dream is based on a correct
psychological surmise. It is a homage paid to the unsubdued and
indestructible in the human mind, and to the demoniacal which furnishes
the dream-wish and which we find again in our unconscious.

Not inadvisedly do I use the expression "in our unconscious," for what
we so designate does not coincide with the unconscious of the
philosophers, nor with the unconscious of Lipps. In the latter uses it
is intended to designate only the opposite of conscious. That there are
also unconscious psychic processes beside the conscious ones is the
hotly contested and energetically defended issue. Lipps gives us the
more far-reaching theory that everything psychic exists as unconscious,
but that some of it may exist also as conscious. But it was not to prove
this theory that we have adduced the phenomena of the dream and of the
hysterical symptom formation; the observation of normal life alone
suffices to establish its correctness beyond any doubt. The new fact
that we have learned from the analysis of the psychopathological
formations, and indeed from their first member, viz. dreams, is that the
unconscious--hence the psychic--occurs as a function of two separate
systems and that it occurs as such even in normal psychic life.
Consequently there are two kinds of unconscious, which we do not as yet
find distinguished by the psychologists. Both are unconscious in the
psychological sense; but in our sense the first, which we call Unc., is
likewise incapable of consciousness, whereas the second we term "Forec."
because its emotions, after the observance of certain rules, can reach
consciousness, perhaps not before they have again undergone censorship,
but still regardless of the Unc. system. The fact that in order to
attain consciousness the emotions must traverse an unalterable series of
events or succession of instances, as is betrayed through their
alteration by the censor, has helped us to draw a comparison from
spatiality. We described the relations of the two systems to each other
and to consciousness by saying that the system Forec. is like a screen
between the system Unc. and consciousness. The system Forec. not only
bars access to consciousness, but also controls the entrance to
voluntary motility and is capable of sending out a sum of mobile energy,
a portion of which is familiar to us as attention.

We must also steer clear of the distinctions superconscious and
subconscious which have found so much favor in the more recent
literature on the psychoneuroses, for just such a distinction seems to
emphasize the equivalence of the psychic and the conscious.

What part now remains in our description of the once all-powerful and
all-overshadowing consciousness? None other than that of a sensory organ
for the perception of psychic qualities. According to the fundamental
idea of schematic undertaking we can conceive the conscious perception
only as the particular activity of an independent system for which the
abbreviated designation "Cons." commends itself. This system we conceive
to be similar in its mechanical characteristics to the perception system
P, hence excitable by qualities and incapable of retaining the trace of
changes, _i.e._ it is devoid of memory. The psychic apparatus which,
with the sensory organs of the P-system, is turned to the outer world,
is itself the outer world for the sensory organ of Cons.; the
teleological justification of which rests on this relationship. We are
here once more confronted with the principle of the succession of
instances which seems to dominate the structure of the apparatus. The
material under excitement flows to the Cons, sensory organ from two
sides, firstly from the P-system whose excitement, qualitatively
determined, probably experiences a new elaboration until it comes to
conscious perception; and, secondly, from the interior of the apparatus
itself, the quantitative processes of which are perceived as a
qualitative series of pleasure and pain as soon as they have undergone
certain changes.

The philosophers, who have learned that correct and highly complicated
thought structures are possible even without the coöperation of
consciousness, have found it difficult to attribute any function to
consciousness; it has appeared to them a superfluous mirroring of the
perfected psychic process. The analogy of our Cons. system with the
systems of perception relieves us of this embarrassment. We see that
perception through our sensory organs results in directing the
occupation of attention to those paths on which the incoming sensory
excitement is diffused; the qualitative excitement of the P-system
serves the mobile quantity of the psychic apparatus as a regulator for
its discharge. We may claim the same function for the overlying sensory
organ of the Cons. system. By assuming new qualities, it furnishes a new
contribution toward the guidance and suitable distribution of the mobile
occupation quantities. By means of the perceptions of pleasure and pain,
it influences the course of the occupations within the psychic
apparatus, which normally operates unconsciously and through the
displacement of quantities. It is probable that the principle of pain
first regulates the displacements of occupation automatically, but it is
quite possible that the consciousness of these qualities adds a second
and more subtle regulation which may even oppose the first and perfect
the working capacity of the apparatus by placing it in a position
contrary to its original design for occupying and developing even that
which is connected with the liberation of pain. We learn from
neuropsychology that an important part in the functional activity of the
apparatus is attributed to such regulations through the qualitative
excitation of the sensory organs. The automatic control of the primary
principle of pain and the restriction of mental capacity connected with
it are broken by the sensible regulations, which in their turn are again
automatisms. We learn that the repression which, though originally
expedient, terminates nevertheless in a harmful rejection of inhibition
and of psychic domination, is so much more easily accomplished with
reminiscences than with perceptions, because in the former there is no
increase in occupation through the excitement of the psychic sensory
organs. When an idea to be rejected has once failed to become conscious
because it has succumbed to repression, it can be repressed on other
occasions only because it has been withdrawn from conscious perception
on other grounds. These are hints employed by therapy in order to bring
about a retrogression of accomplished repressions.

The value of the over-occupation which is produced by the regulating
influence of the Cons. sensory organ on the mobile quantity, is
demonstrated in the teleological connection by nothing more clearly than
by the creation of a new series of qualities and consequently a new
regulation which constitutes the precedence of man over the animals. For
the mental processes are in themselves devoid of quality except for the
excitements of pleasure and pain accompanying them, which, as we know,
are to be held in check as possible disturbances of thought. In order to
endow them with a quality, they are associated in man with verbal
memories, the qualitative remnants of which suffice to draw upon them
the attention of consciousness which in turn endows thought with a new
mobile energy.

The manifold problems of consciousness in their entirety can be examined
only through an analysis of the hysterical mental process. From this
analysis we receive the impression that the transition from the
foreconscious to the occupation of consciousness is also connected with
a censorship similar to the one between the Unc. and the Forec. This
censorship, too, begins to act only with the reaching of a certain
quantitative degree, so that few intense thought formations escape it.
Every possible case of detention from consciousness, as well as of
penetration to consciousness, under restriction is found included within
the picture of the psychoneurotic phenomena; every case points to the
intimate and twofold connection between the censor and consciousness. I
shall conclude these psychological discussions with the report of two
such occurrences.

On the occasion of a consultation a few years ago the subject was an
intelligent and innocent-looking girl. Her attire was strange; whereas a
woman's garb is usually groomed to the last fold, she had one of her
stockings hanging down and two of her waist buttons opened. She
complained of pains in one of her legs, and exposed her leg unrequested.
Her chief complaint, however, was in her own words as follows: She had a
feeling in her body as if something was stuck into it which moved to and
fro and made her tremble through and through. This sometimes made her
whole body stiff. On hearing this, my colleague in consultation looked
at me; the complaint was quite plain to him. To both of us it seemed
peculiar that the patient's mother thought nothing of the matter; of
course she herself must have been repeatedly in the situation described
by her child. As for the girl, she had no idea of the import of her
words or she would never have allowed them to pass her lips. Here the
censor had been deceived so successfully that under the mask of an
innocent complaint a phantasy was admitted to consciousness which
otherwise would have remained in the foreconscious.

Another example: I began the psychoanalytic treatment of a boy of
fourteen years who was suffering from _tic convulsif_, hysterical
vomiting, headache, &c., by assuring him that, after closing his eyes,
he would see pictures or have ideas, which I requested him to
communicate to me. He answered by describing pictures. The last
impression he had received before coming to me was visually revived in
his memory. He had played a game of checkers with his uncle, and now saw
the checkerboard before him. He commented on various positions that were
favorable or unfavorable, on moves that were not safe to make. He then
saw a dagger lying on the checker-board, an object belonging to his
father, but transferred to the checker-board by his phantasy. Then a
sickle was lying on the board; next a scythe was added; and, finally, he
beheld the likeness of an old peasant mowing the grass in front of the
boy's distant parental home. A few days later I discovered the meaning
of this series of pictures. Disagreeable family relations had made the
boy nervous. It was the case of a strict and crabbed father who lived
unhappily with his mother, and whose educational methods consisted in
threats; of the separation of his father from his tender and delicate
mother, and the remarrying of his father, who one day brought home a
young woman as his new mamma. The illness of the fourteen-year-old boy
broke out a few days later. It was the suppressed anger against his
father that had composed these pictures into intelligible allusions. The
material was furnished by a reminiscence from mythology, The sickle was
the one with which Zeus castrated his father; the scythe and the
likeness of the peasant represented Kronos, the violent old man who eats
his children and upon whom Zeus wreaks vengeance in so unfilial a
manner. The marriage of the father gave the boy an opportunity to return
the reproaches and threats of his father--which had previously been made
because the child played with his genitals (the checkerboard; the
prohibitive moves; the dagger with which a person may be killed). We
have here long repressed memories and their unconscious remnants which,
under the guise of senseless pictures have slipped into consciousness by
devious paths left open to them.

I should then expect to find the theoretical value of the study of
dreams in its contribution to psychological knowledge and in its
preparation for an understanding of neuroses. Who can foresee the
importance of a thorough knowledge of the structure and activities of
the psychic apparatus when even our present state of knowledge produces
a happy therapeutic influence in the curable forms of the
psychoneuroses? What about the practical value of such study some one
may ask, for psychic knowledge and for the discovering of the secret
peculiarities of individual character? Have not the unconscious feelings
revealed by the dream the value of real forces in the psychic life?
Should we take lightly the ethical significance of the suppressed wishes
which, as they now create dreams, may some day create other things?

I do not feel justified in answering these questions. I have not thought
further upon this side of the dream problem. I believe, however, that at
all events the Roman Emperor was in the wrong who ordered one of his
subjects executed because the latter dreamt that he had killed the
Emperor. He should first have endeavored to discover the significance of
the dream; most probably it was not what it seemed to be. And even if a
dream of different content had the significance of this offense against
majesty, it would still have been in place to remember the words of
Plato, that the virtuous man contents himself with dreaming that which
the wicked man does in actual life. I am therefore of the opinion that
it is best to accord freedom to dreams. Whether any reality is to be
attributed to the unconscious wishes, and in what sense, I am not
prepared to say offhand. Reality must naturally be denied to all
transition--and intermediate thoughts. If we had before us the
unconscious wishes, brought to their last and truest expression, we
should still do well to remember that more than one single form of
existence must be ascribed to the psychic reality. Action and the
conscious expression of thought mostly suffice for the practical need
of judging a man's character. Action, above all, merits to be placed in
the first rank; for many of the impulses penetrating consciousness are
neutralized by real forces of the psychic life before they are converted
into action; indeed, the reason why they frequently do not encounter any
psychic obstacle on their way is because the unconscious is certain of
their meeting with resistances later. In any case it is instructive to
become familiar with the much raked-up soil from which our virtues
proudly arise. For the complication of human character moving
dynamically in all directions very rarely accommodates itself to
adjustment through a simple alternative, as our antiquated moral
philosophy would have it.

And how about the value of the dream for a knowledge of the future?
That, of course, we cannot consider. One feels inclined to substitute:
"for a knowledge of the past." For the dream originates from the past in
every sense. To be sure the ancient belief that the dream reveals the
future is not entirely devoid of truth. By representing to us a wish as
fulfilled the dream certainly leads us into the future; but this future,
taken by the dreamer as present, has been formed into the likeness of
that past by the indestructible wish.

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