Ego: Its Role in Characters of Shakespeare from Comedy to Tragedy Comparison Essay by Kornelius

A paper analyzing Shakespeare's use of Jungian-like psychology in the creation of his flawed characters.
# 6554 | 2,035 words | 6 sources | MLA | 2000 | US

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This paper explores and compares the psychology of the Ego and masks that are worn by two of Shakespeare's characters; Malvolio(Twelfth Night) and Angelo(Measure for Measure). Using concepts of the Ego laid down by Freud and Jung the author demonstrates how Shakespeare uses this flaw, of imagining oneself as an ideal persona, in both a comedic, and later, tragic play. The paper cites examples from Shakespeare's plays to demonstrate his points. Also, the author references known critics in the field of literary criticism to further elucidate his meaning. The author concludes that by using the Ego as a flaw, Shakespeare created characters that are easy to relate to and provides valuable insight on how to deal with ones mask.

From the Paper:

"In C.G. Jung's book, The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, he described what can happen to one who is "possessed" by what Freud would call the Super-ego. This is an idea Shakespeare was well aware of. He used the concept in his writing as a means to bring about both comedy and later to develop a more sophisticated plot, with a more developed conflict. This flaw of imagining oneself as an ideal persona is supported by critiques of Shakespeare's comedies. Richmond, states that Shakespeare's comedies suggest, "that we should test higher sentiments against the implication of facts"(p.2). He argues that Shakespeare finds virtue in what might be called compromised relationships and only destructiveness in single-minded commitment to an ideal. This is not because this harsh world will not tolerate ideals, but because ideals are self-destructive. Through the characters of Malvolio, in Twelfth Night and Angelo in Measure for Measure, Shakespeare explores this character theme, and creates, not only internal conflict, but external as well ."

Cite this Comparison Essay:

APA Format

Ego: Its Role in Characters of Shakespeare from Comedy to Tragedy (2003, February 08) Retrieved September 30, 2023, from

MLA Format

"Ego: Its Role in Characters of Shakespeare from Comedy to Tragedy" 08 February 2003. Web. 30 September. 2023. <>