In order to come close to dream interpretation, Freud divides the dream into two sections: the apparent content of the dream with its hidden meaning and the associations that help as come closer to it, calling them ‘hidden’ or ‘false’ notions. The examination of the relationship between these two ideas will make the journey into dream interpretation clearer.
Freud gives us a dream example aiming to analyze these ideas further. ‘A young lady married for many years, dreamed that she is with her husband in a theater. A part of the square is empty. Her husband tells her that Eliza L. and her fiancee also wanted to come to the theater but they didn’t find the appropriate seats (three seats for a krone and fifty Kreutzer). She thinks that this is not a big deal.’
The pretext for the apparent content of the dream was in fact that her friend Eliza L. had just got engaged and this information was given to her by her husband on the previous day. Part of the dream content was a reaction to this news. Most of the time the dreamer is willing to connect any association that comes from recent real life experiences with the dream content. The woman associated another recent experience that she had with the dream content, that of the empty square. She had indeed booked tickets for the theater, on the previous week too early, worrying that the play will be sold out quickly. She had to pay more for these pre-booked seats. To her surprise when she arrived at the theater, the square was almost empty. Her husband reacted ironically to her hastiness.
Another dream element that is connected to recent facts is the amount of money her friend was asked to spend for the tickets (a krone and fifty Kreutzer). The woman also found out that on the previous day her sister in law had taken hundred and fifty Kroner from her husband and spent it all at once on jewellery. The woman thought that it was foolish of her sister in law to spend all the money at once. The number of seats was also connected to the fact that her friend Eliza was only three months younger than her and she is already married for ten years.
The analysis of the ‘false’ dream notions can now be obvious from the dreamer’s connections. The recurrent element that is distinguished in these details is the element of time. She bought the tickets too early and her sister in law bought the jewellery too quick both in the fear of losing an opportunity. Here we can add the cause of the dream which is the fact that her three months younger friend is getting married and her reaction to her sister’s in law hastiness to spend her money, considering the act foolish; we find the hidden meaning ‘It was foolish of the woman to get married so hastily’. We come to the conclusion that
‘the apparent content of the dream is a distorted substitute of the false notions’.
According to this analysis we can make the following observations:
Firstly by analyzing the dream content we discovered the element of hastiness that was not apparent in the essence of the dream. So the main unconscious thoughts are not necessarily revealed by the apparent dream content. Secondly, we can observe an association between an irrational dream element (three seats for a krone and fifty Kreutzer) and the unconscious notion of feeling foolish getting married so early. Maybe her inner thoughts are represented irrationally in the apparent dream content. Thirdly by reflecting on the dream in total we can detect that an apparent element is not replaced always by one ‘false thought’ but maybe by a sequence of them as well as a ‘false’ thought could represent many apparent elements in the dream content.
The relationship between these two aspects is very complicated and should be always be analyzed carefully as the dreamer may be very surprised or even disturbed realizing his inner truth. On the other hand we can consider our dreams as a guide to our soul as it is the dictionary for the unknown language of each individual psyche.