The Theme of Marriage in the Dream Story

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TheTheme of Marriage in the Dream Story

DreamStoryis a novella set in the twentieth century with a doctor known asFridolin who is the protagonist living with his wife, Albertine.Schnitzler portrays and exposes the repressed desires people in amarriage have in this narrative. This paper aims at analyzing thetheme of marriage in the tale.

Forgivenessand understanding in Marriage

Acouple of Fridolin and Albertine seem to be fantasizing about otherpeople even though they are married. In the Novella Albertine isportrayed as physically attracted to a military officer who isDanish. Fridolin, on the other hand, confesses to an attraction to awoman in a bathing suit who sent him away but at first welcomed hisgaze. However, when his wife Albertine admits, he gets jealousbecause he does not want to embrace the idea that there is apossibility she would find other men attractive. His wife`sconfession wounds him, and he becomes provoked. Later that nightFridolin is called to a dying patient`s house because he is a doctorand Fridolin becomes surprised when the deceased daughter startsmaking sexual advances towards him.

Fridolinin the streets then bumps into an attractive young prostitute, butinsecurity and disease fears prevent him from doing anything. Lateron, he meets an acquaintance who then tells him he will be at an orgyplaying piano that night. Fridolin then opts to accompany hiscolleague to the party (Acevedo-Muñoz 123). Before attending theparty, he goes to get a costume in a shop he is surprised when thecostumier daughter flirts with him. In the party, he meets a woman hedesires, but the woman realizes he is an intruder and warns him off.However, his determination is getting her, and this ends up makinghim banished by other party goers.

Lateron, there is a woman who dies in the orgy because of taking poison,and when Fridolin hears about this, he goes to the morgue to view thebody. On seeing the body, he is not sure whether it`s the same womanhe desired. On returning home during late hours of the night he seesthe mask together with the costume, he was supposed to go next to hiswife, and she was asleep. He sobs because he is overcome withemotions and this makes Albertine wake up.

Hetells his wife what had happened from the beginning and she takesthem kindly and efficiently and this soothes him completely and ishappy with who he has as a partner in his heart. Therefore, thisshows that the only people who understand each other in theinstitution of marriage are the husband and wife and they ate theonly ones who can come up to an understanding. This novella showsthat Albertine is a kind hearted person as she does not get madbecause of what Fridolin almost did but decides to forgive him andthis kindness will linger in her husband`s mind as this situation isless likely ever to happen again.

Anxietyand Fear in Men

Anunhappy perception of marriage is adapted in the film, as well as therelationships that take place between females and males. The Anxietyof Men is shown in Marriage. It is worth to note that the couple isin constant conflict, whereby this causes anxiety in the man andeventually, signs of aggression are observed. ‘Dream Story` putsits focus on this kind of state. He accepted the embrace of his wifeand wanted, to be honest with her this means that he had overcomethe paranoid-schizoid stage, and he had moved on to the depressivestate, where he had accepted her both as a wife, and a separateentity.

Besides,Fridolin had acknowledged the fact that he depended on her despitehis level of jealousy. The anxiety Fridolin had was replaced byguilt this is shown when he finally told her that he was going toreveal everything to her. All his fears and anxiety are showcased ashe broke down in tears because of the guilt he had. As much as thisshowed that he was a loving husband, it also shows a side of marriagewhich depicts the arousal of fear and anxiety among the men.

Fridolinis considered to be a very rich, successful man, and his fears arestill exposed in the marriage when his wife confesses that she wanteda particular naval officer and that she couldn`t stop having sexualfantasies about the man. She further confessed that she was ready torisk her life as both a wife and a mother, just to have sex with thesaid person. She was even sad that the man had left the resort beforehaving any sexual relations with her. This discussion leaves Fridolinin awe, and he keeps visualizing the naval officer NIL his wife. Hefurther experiences fear and jealousy raids his heart (Acevedo-Muñoz127).

Thetheme of marriage has been represented here in the context thatdespite a man being wealthy and prosperous, it does not mean that hewould not face insecurities on matters concerning his marriage.Nowadays, there is a misconception that that rich people do notexperience fear or anxiety, but this is not the case in the realworld. Additionally, a rich and prosperous man is also prone to becheated on, and this is explained by the fact that his wife had thedesire to do so, considering he had not wronged her in any way atthat point.

Lackof equal participation in Marriage

Atthe end of it all, they somewhat reach an understanding regarding thepsychological and emotional quicksand in which their marriage stands.Afterward, Albertine is the one noted to remain as the activeparticipant in the union. Her activity in the pair is depicted whereafter they reach a consensus, she suggests that there is only onething that they should do as soon as possible, which is to make lovethis clearly shows one active member of the marriage institution, andanother inactive one.


Overall,marriage is portrayed as having both good and bad experiences. Asdepicted in the story, a marriage works when there are forgivenessand understanding only. For all the wrongs committed by Fridolin,Albertine was able to forgive him. Similarly, he forgave andunderstood her for all the wrongs she had committed. The arousal offear and anxiety is also noted in the institution of marriage whenjealousy creeps in on the male counterparts. Finally, there wasnon-equal participation from both Fridolin and Albertine, as she isnoted to be the only interested party in making love after they cometo an agreement.


Acevedo-Muñoz,Ernesto R. &quotDon`t look now: Kubrick, schnitzler, and&quot Theunbearable agony of desire.&quot&quot&nbspLit:Literature Interpretation Theory&nbsp13.2(2012): 117-137.

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