The Enemy Within

Phillip Cole

in The Myth of Evil

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print June 2006 | ISBN: 9780748622009
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671908 | DOI:
The Enemy Within

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This chapter explores the insights of psychoanalytic theory in understanding the idea of evil. It begins by exploring the narrative of fear within Gothic literature, where we are terrified of what we cannot see. A reading of Freud's “The Uncanny” shows that the important boundary for our fears is not between life and death, but between the living and the dead – the ‘undead’ are a source of terror. In the end, what Freud teaches is that the evil monsters which haunt us are constructed out of familiar materials – we are the monsters, and our capacity for monstrous evil fills us with dread.

Keywords: Psychoanalysis; Freud; The Uncanny

Chapter.  11838 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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