Wish Fulfillment

In this excerpt of Sigmund Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams, he analyzes a dream he had about an interaction with a patient, Irma, where he examines her again and finds that she is still struggling with her health. However, after analyzing it the next day, he realizes that in the dream, none of the complications could be a result of his actions and therefore cannot reflect badly upon him. Freud is arguing that his dream about Irma is a form of wish fulfillment that was brought on, at least in part, by a conversation he had with a mutual friend who told him that “She’s better, but not quite well” (131) and the suspicion that his friend was unhappy with him as he felt annoyed by even the slight implication that he was to blame for her struggles. In a lot of ways, his argument makes sense and supports the claim that “when the work of interpretation has been completed, we perceive that a dream is the fulfilment of a wish” (142). However one of my reservations is that the act of interpretation itself is unreliable, I believe that to a certain extent that you can take numerous meanings out of the same event and I wonder how much one’s subconscious desire colors the interpretation instead of the dream presenting a clear example of wish fulfillment. Do you think Freud’s argument is strong?

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