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The Study of Humbert in Lolita from the Perspective of Freud's Psychoanalysis

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DOI: 10.23977/appep.2023.040602 | Downloads: 109 | Views: 978


Wang Meng 1


1 Department of English, Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, Wuhan, Hubei, China

Corresponding Author

Wang Meng


Written by the Russian-American writer, Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita is one of the most debated novels of the 20th century which portrays an incest story about a middle-aged European professor whose whole life is the appetite for a twelve-year-old schoolgirl, Dolores Haze. He named her Lolita secretly in his heart. The book is noted for the complicated personality of the protagonist, Humbert. There are many descriptions of Humbert's psychological activities which perfectly match Freud's psychoanalysis theory. This thesis intends to study the complicated personality of Humbert and find out his original motivation behind the criminal behavior from the point of Freud's psychoanalysis. Freud comes up with three concepts "Id, Ego, and Superego" in the psychoanalysis theory, he believes human's personality consists of those three parts and the personality is changing and developing throughout one's life. Id is based on pleasure principle, driven by initial desire. In the novel, Id controls Humbert, he falls madly in love with Lolita and uses a filth way to take possession of her. His moral degeneration lies in the strong Id, he satisfies his evil desire and tries to escape the society by traveling across the United States with Lolita. Ego sticks to the reality principle, its purpose is to keep the balance between Id and Superego. During the elopement with Lolita, Humbert is tortured by the rational Ego all the time. On the one hand, he is obsessed with his little lover and wants to live with her forever, on the other hand, he knows clearly that his incest with Lolita violates the social law and moral regulation; and he would never be accepted by the society. Superego is the supreme part in the personality; which conforms to the morality principle. At the end of the story, Humbert's love for Lolita ascends to a higher level; he transfers from a greedy pursuer into a devoted father. Whatever Lolita becomes, she would still remain the embodiment of perfection love and beauty in his eyes forever. He totally accepts his identity of Lolita's father, and turns his abnormal relationship into deep love for his daughter. His superego consequently reaches the ideal of humanity. The analysis of the protagonist in this Lolita from the perspective of Freud's Psychoanalysis procures readers new insights and comprehensive understandings of this great work. Thus, we can explore richer connotation and value of this novel.


Humbert, Psychoanalysis, Id, Ego, Superego


Wang Meng, The Study of Humbert in Lolita from the Perspective of Freud's Psychoanalysis. Applied & Educational Psychology (2023) Vol. 4: 6-16. DOI:


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