Chapter II – The Dream Mechanism

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).

Footnote 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 languages.”—TRANSLATOR.

Footnote 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.

1 thought on “Chapter II – The Dream Mechanism

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