Alter Ego

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An alter ego (Latin, "the other I") is a second self, a second personality or persona within a person. It was coined in the early nineteenth century when schizophrenia was first described by early psychologists.[1] A person with an alter ego is said to lead a double life.

The term alter ego is commonly used in literature analysis and comparison to describe characters who are psychologically identical, or sometimes to describe a character as an alter ego of the author, a fictional character whose behavior, speech or thoughts intentionally represent those of the author.

The characters Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde in Robert Louis Stevenson's thriller Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde represent an exploration of the concept that good and evil exist within one person, constantly at war. Edward Hyde literally represents the doctor's other self, a psychopathic being unrestrained by the conventions of civilized society, who shares a body with the doctor.

The term and concept also frequently appear in popular fiction, such as in comic books, for the secret identity of a superhero, vigilante, crime fighter or villain. Related concepts include avatar, doppelgänger, impersonator, and split personality.[2][3]

[edit] Psychology

Freud said there was id, ego, super-ego. I would extend this to alter ego a state of alternative persona to those posited by reality and the super ego. Upon confrontation with reality and the requirements of the perfectionism of the super ego a person creates the alter ego. Most people live with an alter ego unknowing reality and unable to achieve the perfection of the super-ego. The need for a comforting self image coupled with dreams and aspirations drive the alter ego into existence (Randall Morton, 2008).

[edit] See also

* Id, ego, and super-ego

[edit] References

1. ^ Irving B. Weiner, Donald K. (EDT) Freedheim (2003). Handbook of Psychology. John Wiley and Sons, 262. ISBN 0471176699.
2. ^ Antonia Darder (1995). Culture and Difference: Critical Perspectives on the Bicultural Experience in the United States. Bergin Garvey/Greenwood, 112. ISBN 0897893840.
3. ^ Glenn Daniel Wilson (1991). Psychology and Performing Arts. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 9026511191.

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Categories: Alter egos | Self | Literary concepts | Comic book terminology

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