Page 52. " the madness of the dream may not be without method, may perhaps be only a pretence, like that of the Prince of Denmark "

   A reference to William Shakespeare’s Hamlet (circa-1600), in which a troubled young royal feigns or exaggerates madness as part of a plot to avenge his father’s murder.  Freud follows this brief allusion with a much deeper analysis of Hamlet later in the text, undermining any dismissal of the prince's madness as mere ‘pretence’ (see page 204). 


Online text of the play at ‘



Page 57. " Kant’s categorical imperative has clung to our heels so firmly as our inseparable companion that we cannot get rid of him "

   German philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) laid out the founding principles of his moral philosophy in his first treatise devoted to the subject.  The so-called ‘categorical imperative’ was his attempt to formulate one incontrovertible rule by which to determine the ethical course of action in any situation:

“I am never to act otherwise than so that I could also will that my maxim should become a universal law”. 


Online edition of Immanuel Kant’s ‘Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals’, (1785)

Page 59. " the saying of the Apostle that whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer "

    Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him

1 John 3:15


Although Christian tradition attributes all biblical writings under the name ‘John’ to Christ’s apostle, he would need to have vastly exceeded the average life-expectancy of his time to have written them all. 


Online edition of the 'Authorized King James Bible', (originally published 1611)

Page 59. " Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts "

The Disciples at Table
Public DomainThe Disciples at Table - Credit: Tintoretto
Christ’s words in defence of his disciples who are criticised for their improper table-manners.


For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.

Matthew 15:19-20


Online edition of the 'Authorized King James Bible', (originally published 1611)

Page 65. " But we cannot succeed in keeping sleep free from stimuli; just as Mephisto complains of the germs of life constantly stirring "

    A reference to Part I of Faust, a metaphysical tragedy by German polymath Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832).  In Goethe’s play the demon Mephistopheles, who speaks and acts on behalf of Satan, notes resentfully the endless regeneration which prevents life on earth from ever being truly annihilated:

The air, the water, and the earth

A thousand germs and buds brings ever forth


Online text of Faust: The First Part of the Tragedy, (first published 1808)



Page 70. " the centrality, the spontaneous energy, of the ego becomes enervated in dreams "

   The translation of 'ich' as 'ego' here could be seen as premature - while something like Freud's famous three-part system of the mind is certainly alluded to later in the book, he would not give it its familiar terms until his 1920 essay Beyond the Pleasure Principle.  It was in the English edition of this that translator James Strachey first applied the Latinised 'id', 'ego', and 'super-ego' - Freud himself simply used the German words for, respectively, 'the it', 'the I', and 'the over-I'.

Online edition of Sigmund Freud's 'Beyond the Pleasure Principle', translated by James Strachey, (1920)