A Study of Freudian Psychological Factors Related to the Suicide of the Main Character in Paulo Coelho's Veronika Decides to Die

Creative Commons License

Ayar M. Z., Demir F.

Erciyes Akademi, vol.36, no.3, pp.1446-1461, 2022 (Peer-Reviewed Journal)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 36 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.48070/erciyesakademi.1131365
  • Journal Name: Erciyes Akademi
  • Journal Indexes: EBSCO Legal Source, Index Islamicus, MLA - Modern Language Association Database, Asos İndeks, Sobiad Atıf Dizini
  • Page Numbers: pp.1446-1461
  • Karadeniz Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Suicide, one of the most common problems in modern and postmodern societies, is a socio-psychiatric phenomenon existing in every society or culture. In the past, the study of suicide was mainly included in psychiatry; however, with an increasing awareness of some social factors behind suicide, it has now been tackled from a sociological perspective. In the second half of the twentieth century, changes in relationships and lifestyles of modern society began to be more apparent in postmodern culture. Expectations for the future dramatically decline in this period. The notion of absolute nothingness is now clearly seen in every aspect of human life. All these elements affect humans' inner peace and cause physical, mental, and psychological deterioration. Veronika Decides to Die, written by Paulo Coelho in 1998, deals with the psychological journey of a young woman who loses her motivation to live and attempts suicide. Basing on his own life experiences, Coelho, reveals the psychological transformations of the main character Veronika, whose suicide attempt fails. Therefore, both the conflict between life and death and the conflict between self and society are highly significant to analyze some possible reasons for the suicidal behaviors of Veronika. In this respect, this paper intends to analyze the novel from the psychoanalytic perspective of Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis. The psychological and external motivation behind the suicide attempt will be clarified with theory of life (Eros) and death (Thanatos) instincts, and their relation to id, ego, and superego. 

Keywords: Life instinct, Death instinct, Id, Ego, Superego.