The Ego and the Id


The ego is not sharply separated from the id; its lower portion merges into it. . . . But the repressed merges into the id as well, and is merely a part of it. The repressed is only cut off sharply from the ego by the resistances of repression; it can communicate with the ego through the id.

Sigmund Freud, 1923

Curator's Comments

In 1923, Freud introduced new terms to describe the division between the conscious and unconscious: "id," "ego," and "super ego." He thought these terms offered a more compelling description of the dynamic relations between the conscious and the unconscious.


The "id" (fully unconscious) contains the drives and those things repressed by consciousness; the "ego" (mostly conscious) deals with external reality; and the "super ego" (partly conscious) is the conscience or the internal moral judge.

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