Rat Man Notes


He was clearly struggling against phantasies of being tempted to marry my daughter instead of his cousin, and against insults to my wife and daughter. . . . Another time he saw my daughter with two patches of dung in the place of eyes. This means that he has not fallen in love with her eyes, but with her money.

Sigmund Freud, 1909

Curator's Comments

The interpretation that "dung means money" had become such a commonplace for Freud that he states it as a truism. Members of his family would often cross paths with Freud's patients, and the analyst was not surprised to find them entering their dreams and fantasies.


Freud noted that the Rat Man was struggling against his mother's wishes that he marry Emily, a young woman with "particularly beautiful eyes."

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