Psychoanalysis of Sirius Black from the Story of Harry Potter: Critical Essay

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Freud’s psychoanalytic theory was the idea that the mind is made of different parts that have the potential to conflict with one another. The three main parts are known as the id, ego, and superego. The id is irrational and emotional thought, while the superego is moral thought. The ego is rational thought and functions as a peacemaker between the id and the superego. Other important parts of the mind are assumptions and libido. An assumption is the part of the mind that needs energy, while libido is the energy used by the mind. Lastly, a Freudian thought known as an expression of anger is the idea that when anger isn’t expressed it builds up. The character that this psychoanalysis is going to focus on is Sirius Black from the third part of the Harry Potter series, 'Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban'.

Sirius Black is a central character in the original ​Harry Potter ​storyline, as he is Harry’s godfather. Sirius isn’t introduced as a character until the third ​part of the Harry Potter​ series, and in this part, Sirius is introduced as an escaped murderer. As the story progresses, it is made known to Harry that there was a group of four friends that included Sirius and Harry’s father James, along with Peter Pettigrew and Remus Lupin. These four friends were known to cause lots of mischief during their time at Hogwarts, including a magical map that showed the location of everyone at Hogwarts. During Sirius’ sixth year at Hogwarts, he left home with no place to go. At this time, James Potter’s family took him in. The reason why Sirius left was because of a disagreement with his parents about the types of wizards/witches that should be allowed to practice. His family was an extremely pureblood family, which meant that they didn’t support muggles, otherwise known as humans, marrying wizards/witches. Upon graduation from Hogwarts, the four friends, along with Lily, Harry’s mother, went to join the Order to fight against Voldemort. Peter betrayed James, Lily, and little Harry and pinned it on Sirius, which was why he was labeled as an escaped criminal. Thankfully, a mother’s love is what saved Harry from being killed by Voldemort.

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In the ​Harry Potter ​series, Sirius appears to be a very outright and honest person, as the first time he is seen, he is explaining to Harry what the truth was. Sirius is portrayed through all of the stories of the Mauraders in the series as extraverted. He is protective of those close to him and is loving and caring towards them. Sirius is also selfless in a way as he dies protecting Harry from Voldemort and his followers. He has a sense of wisdom every time Sirius appears in the ​Harry Potter​ series. This is seen when Sirius has to tell Harry that he cannot come and live with him, as it wasn’t safe for Harry at the time.

When Sirius left home, it was described as one of the most difficult decisions he had to make. Upon leaving his childhood home, Sirius’ face was removed from the family tree etched into the wall of his childhood home. As Freud would put it, his id, ego, and superego were in conflict. Sirius’ id would’ve encouraged him to leave in a whirlwind of emotions, for example, leaving his parents’ home solely because of the disagreement of opinions. While his superego would be more rational and perhaps an adult conversion would be in order in the example of Sirius leaving home, his ego would try to find a middle ground between the two, which is what occurred. Sirius tried to stand up for his belief that pureblood wizards/witches are just as good, if not equal, to half-blood or muggle-born wizards/witches. His parents did the same as Sirius, except they had opposing views with Sirius, which resulted in Sirius leaving and going to live with the Potters.

Another tough decision Sirius had to make was not allowing Harry to come and live with him. This really upset Harry, but Sirius knew it was the best decision with everything else that was going on at the time. Again, Sirius’ id, ego, and superego were in conflict, producing three different thoughts about the situation. Sirius’ id would’ve supported allowing Harry to come and live with him, as it is his emotional response. His superego would’ve supported Harry being as far from Sirius as he could be. Sirius’ ego compromises by allowing Harry to stay where he wants to, just not with Sirius. Sirius makes this decision by looking at the whole picture, if Harry would’ve come to live with Sirius, his life would be in danger due to Voldemort’s return.

Overall, Sirius tends to use his ego to make decisions, which is a wise decision and is typically the best decision in most circumstances. Sirius seems to have good control over his mind and how he chooses to behave. Both examples provide evidence for Sirius’ sense of control over all parts of his mind. However, Sirius’ escaping from prison probably wasn't the best thing for his case since he was innocent. In the same breath, it could’ve been Sirius’ only choice if no one would listen to his case. This was true because no one could find Peter Pettigrew since he turned into his Animagus of a rat. So, it was assumed that Sirius had betrayed James and Lily and killed Peter.

In conclusion, Sirius Black is a complex character in 'Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban' and in the Harry Potter series in general. Sirius Black is portrayed as a wise father-like figure to Harry, and it is seen through his choices. Although his choices are sometimes questioned, the story of Harry Potter would’ve been extremely different had Harry moved in with Sirius, or if Sirius never moved in to live with James Potter’s family. These circumstances portray the conflict between the structures of the mind that Freud discussed. Sirius Black is an often overlooked character in the Harry Potter series, but if he wasn’t present in the storyline making the choices he did, the storyline would’ve been really different.

Reference

  1. Funder, D.C., Barton, K., & Snavely, S. (Eds.). (2016). ​The Personality Puzzle​. New York, NY: W.W. Norton. (Original work published 1997).
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Psychoanalysis of Sirius Black from the Story of Harry Potter: Critical Essay. (2023, November 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 19, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/psychoanalysis-of-sirius-black-from-the-story-of-harry-potter-critical-essay/
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Psychoanalysis of Sirius Black from the Story of Harry Potter: Critical Essay. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/psychoanalysis-of-sirius-black-from-the-story-of-harry-potter-critical-essay/> [Accessed 19 Jul. 2024].
Psychoanalysis of Sirius Black from the Story of Harry Potter: Critical Essay [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Nov 15 [cited 2024 Jul 19]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/psychoanalysis-of-sirius-black-from-the-story-of-harry-potter-critical-essay/
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