Gothic Romance -or- Fallen Angel

John, 23

I woke up in hell, or so it seemed. A place where people with good hearts were still damned. The place looked like an old medieval inn with a red glow and everyone had a gothic appearance (including myself.) The place itself didn't seem bad at all, in fact I enjoyed myself for the time I was there. Looking out the only window in the area where I was at had the actual common vision of hell. The common vision being all the pain, suffering, fire, etc. One aspect of my dream that I didn't quite understand but did at the same time was the fact that I had inherited the devil's son's powers. Every time I tried to think of something that angered me, my hair would turn red and black, my eyes would turn a yellowish orange, my lips would turn orange, and a large amount of heat would rise around me. The last thing I remember is my cell phone that was there, I answered it and it was someone from work and my mother at the same time. That's all I remember of it.

Mr Hagen's Reply; Gothic Fiction and The Alter Ego

It never ceases to amaze and fascinate how a dream can use broad brushstrokes to mix and create an artistic montage of cultural images. What is difficult, is learning how to critically read this gestalt of historical ideas, thoughts and feelings.

You find yourself in a medieval Inn that has a gothic appearance, looking out the window (a metaphor for vision) you have a vision of hell. As a stock character of gothic fiction the devil who is a fallen angel, played a central poetic role in the battle for the soul. Psychomachia  was a medieval allegory which outlines the conflict between virtue and vice, heaven and hell.

In your dream, you find that when you are angered your body appearance transforms and an alter-ego emerges. You seem to have transferred ideas from the popular culture character of the Incredible Hulk comics, cartoons and films, to your gothic vision. We are told by the creator of the Hulk character that he took poetic inspiration from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Robert Louis Stephenson's tale of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Both these archetypal characters first appeared to their authors in a dream. The transformation of Anikin Skywalker Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith into the alter ego of Darth Vader also seems to fit the general dramatic character description of your dream.

From a literary perspective the transformation ideas found in your dream can be directly traced to Ovid's Metamorphoses. Ovid tells his readers about the mythopoeic journey from the beginning of creation to the deification of Julius Caesar. Loise Vinge The Narciss Theme in Western Literature up to the Early Nineteenth Century traces the literary tradition of Ovid's enduring myth of narcissism. Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis provides a modern nightmaric perspective of the narcissistic transformation of the poetic imagination.  

From a psychological perspective, Nathan Schwarz-Salant Narcissism and Character Transformation maps out the dynamic focal emotional conflicts that shape the narcissistic character, which include rage, hate and envy. Often these feelings are evoked by narcissistic wounds and psychological traumas or injuries. Schwartz-Salant tells us; "In fact, narcissistic rage has a special unforgiving quality. It is striking how this rage can live on in the unconscious...." Other dreams received by the IIDR such as If Looks Could Kill, Revenge is a Dish Best Served Cold and Anatomy of Disgust all testify to the problematic of narcissistic thoughts, feelings and sensations.

It is comical (comic relief) and ironic that your work and your mother were calling you by cell phone, evidently in an effort to bring you back to modern earth and reality. It appears that your dream is attempting to tell you that you are self-absorbed, daydreaming, role playing and fantasizing during the day and night and not focusing on the real tasks and problems at hand. Your fantasies may be a compensation for the anxiety, boredom, frustration, anger, pain, suffering and powerlessness you feel in everyday life.

Other dreams received by the IIDR such as Running with the Wolves. provides a feminist perspective of these archetypal plotlines of the imagination.

All material Copyright 2006 International Institute for Dream Research. All rights reserved.