Inception: Freudian Analysis

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Dreams are also of particular importance in psychoanalytic thought. Freud famously described them as being “the royal road to the unconscious”. By citing some of the fundamental concepts of psychoanalysis, it is possible to examine the movie in Freud’s method. * At its core psychoanalysis posits the notion that all of us have a part of our mind which is unconscious whose contents are unknown in any explicit sense to us. The unconscious is made up of feelings and desires, some of which we may never have been aware of and others which we have repressed as either a defense mechanism or for purposes of social compliance. The unconscious mind of the individual is a mass of contradictions and by definition remains uncontrolled and unordered. Inception takes as a given the existence of the uncontrolled unconscious world of the subject which is best demonstrated by the scene in which Ariadne and Cobb navigate through his dream world and he cannot prevent aspects of his own mind from attacking her (ending in Mal stabbing her) despite his conscious desire to prevent this. * Psychoanalytic theory argues that during sleep the barrier weakens and the unconscious bubbles out, albeit often in disguised form. “A dream is recognised as a form of expression of impulses which are under pressure of resistance during the day but which have been able to find reinforcement during the night.”a As such, elements of our repressed feelings and wishes reveal themselves, now only partly concealed, in our dreams. We see this idea very early on in Inception when Mal, who we find out to be dead in the real world and just a representation in Cobb’s subconscious, enters into the shared dream world in which Cobb, who cannot prevent her appearance, and team are trying to do an extraction from Saito’s mind. * Another foundation of psychoanalytic thought is the great significance of the child’s relationship with its parents. These primal relationships are burdened with largely unconscious...
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