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Kennedy Jacobson
Professor Lewis
English 115
11 December 2015
The Inner Mind of a Lost Villain
Human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of minds (William
James, American philosopher). James words can be a way to explain how events can
change or alter a persons life. The Witch of the Waste, who is the villain in the novel
Howls Moving Castle, by Diana Wynne Jones, went through a change in her persona
because of her contract with her fire demon. Because a contract with a fire demon
practically combines the person and fire demon into one being, the Witch of the Waste
gradually lost control of her fire demon. What is fascinating about the connection
between the Witch of the Waste and her fire demon is that it can be analyzed through
Sigmund Freuds theory of mind, which is the separated mind of the id, ego, and superego. Although it can be overlooked, the relationship between the Witch of the Waste and
her fire demon can be examined through Sigmund Freuds theory of mind of the id, ego,
and super-ego.
Before the psychological evaluation of the Witch of the Waste can happen, an
explanation of the Witch of the Waste herself should be given. The Witch of the Waste is
the villain in the land of Ingary, causing fear to fall upon the people that know of her
dangerous reputation. The Witch was, at one point, a good and ambitious witch-to-be

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who went down the wrong path when glory and power overtook her mind. Just like the
young wizard Howl, the Witch of the Waste made a contract with a fire demon to gain
more power. According to Howls old teacher, Mrs. Pentstemmon those of high ability
cannot resist some extra, dangerous stroke of cleverness, which results in a fatal flaw and
begins a slow decline to evil (Jones 235). The Witch of the Waste took that extra stroke
and not only took the consequences, but became the consequences herself. When a person
makes a contract with a fire demon, the person and the fire demon practically come
together, with the person receiving the demons power. The Witch, with her demons
power on top of her own, became power-hungry and used her new evil to hurt people she
believed threatened her, such as the protagonist Sophie. Worst of all, not only did she
make the contract with a fire demon of her own freewill, but the fire demon ends up
taking complete control over the Witch.
To explain the Sigmund Freuds theory of mind in terms of the Witch of the
Waste, it must first be explained in terms of itself. Freuds theory of mind is that there is a
tripartitea division of three partsinvolved in the unconscious: the id, the ego, and the
super-ego. The id is the section of the mind that holds the instinctual sexual drives,
which need to be satisfied (Thornton). The super-ego is the part of the mind that holds the
conscience of the person. And the ego is the executive between the id and super-ego. In
simpler terms, the id is the little devil on one shoulder; the super-ego is the little angel on
the other shoulder, with the ego being the person in the middle. All three are, in a sense,
battling to control the mind while, at the same time, balancing one another out to keep a
balanced unconscious.

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If the Witch of the Waste and her situation are looked upon in a psychological
point of view, Freuds theory of mind can explain the Witch of the Waste and her
mutilated connection with her fire demon. The Witch herself is the ego, attempting to
harness instinctual libidinal drives so that they submit to the reality principle (Lapsley
6). The Witchs fire demon is her id, impel[ing] the organism to engage in needsatisfying, tension-reducing activities (5). There is no super-ego to be seen because the
id (fire demon) took complete control of the Witch. After being connected to the fire
demon for so long and allowing it to control her, the Witch lost any evidence of a
conscience (superego). In fact, since the fire demon took complete control of the Witch,
there is barely any ego left since the Witch does not even try to stop her impulsive actions
to satisfy her needs. Even if the representation of the Freuds structure theory is subtle,
there is a lot of explanation on it within the story.
Not only can the theory of mind be explained by analyzing the situation,
characters in the story can also explain the theory in terms of the Witch. Mrs.
Pentstemmon tells Sophie that since the Witch made a contract with a fire demon, over
the years, that demon has taken control of her [and] demons do not understand good and
evil (Jones 237). The fire demon, and all fire demons if we listen to Mrs. Pentstemmon,
does not know the line between good and evil. Much like an id, a fire demon does not
care about what is right or wrong; they simply do what they want to do, without any
thought of a consequence. The id of every mind is only concerned with instantly fulfilling
the unconscious needs of the person, and in terms of the story, the Witchs main needs are
to gain power and become the greatest and most powerful witch in the land of Ingary.

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Like Mrs. Pentstemmon said, the fire demon tool control of the Witch, meaning the id
took control of the ego and now has basically complete control of the Witchs mind.
Even if a character in the story cannot see and/or explain it, the Witch of the
Waste herself fully represents the theory of mind crumbling and falling apart. When
Sophie runs into the Witch after speaking to the King of Ingary, the Witch tells Sophie
that she killed Mrs. Pentstemmon. Her reasoning was because Pentestemmon refused to
tell [her] where someone wasshe said, Over my dead body! so [she] took her at her
word (253). Despite them being in a world where there are witches and wizards and fire
demons, killing a person simply because they are not willing to release information is not
something a normal person would do. Because the Witch does not have a conscience
(super-ego) to tell her what is right and wrong, she simply does whatever she wants. The
id in a mind is all about fulfilling ones needs quickly and without any thought, much like
what the Witch does throughout the story. If she wants to do something, like putting a
curse on someone who threatens her, she will do it without any remorse or extra
The dysfunctional mind of the Witch is also shown in her huge plan to overthrow
the King of Ingary and become the new queen. She took parts of Prince Justin and
Wizard Suliman to assemble her idea of a perfect human, which just needs Howls
head. Sophie tells the Witch that she is mad and has no right to make jigsaws of people
(406). Sophie knows full well that what the Witch is doing is basically immoral but the
Witch is not focused on that; she is simply trying to accomplish her goals. The Witch has
no conscience to tell her that what she is doing is wrongno morals to determine if her
actions are good or bad.

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If the Witch of the Waste is not enough support of Freuds theory of mind being
present in the story, Howls situation is another great representation of the tripartite
structure. Howl, just like the Witch, took the opportunity to gain extra power by creating
a contract with a fire demon, named Calcifer. If we look at Howl in a Freudian view,
Howl is the ego. The id is, of course, Calcifer, his fire demon. But, unlike the Witch who
does not have a super-ego, Howl has one: Sophie. Sophie, without knowing, became
Howls super-ego, keeping him on track of what he should do and not what he necessarily
wants to do. In the story, she constantly tells him what her thoughts are on what he does,
making sure he understands just how good or bad his actions are. Because of Sophie,
Howl himself is a very balanced person, in terms of Freud and his theory of the mind. He
is the ego that takes part in balancing out the needs of his id, Calcifer, and listening to the
conscience of his super-ego, Sophie.
Unlike the Witch who gave herself over to her fire demon, Howl actually has
some control over himself and his fire demon. But, even if Howl has control of Calcifer,
it does not mean Calcifer is different from any other fire demon and completely
submissive towards Howl. When Sophie tries to tell Howl that it is not Calcifers fault for
allowing the Witchs fire demon in his castle, Howl tells her that he knew [Calcifer
would] never give away a fellow fire demon. He was always [Howls] weakest flank
(414). Despite Howl having more control over Calcifer than Calcifer has over him, a fire
demon is a fire demon and they will do whatever they want. Even Calcifer has admitted
to doing more harm than good simply because he is a fire demon. The Witch of the Waste
is the prime example, for Howl and for Freuds theory, that giving a little bit of power to
your id can completely disassemble the balance between the id, ego, and super-ego.

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Once again, the huge difference between the Howl and the Witch of the Waste is
that where Howl is almost completely balanced in terms of the theory of mind, the Witch
is a completely imbalanced and broken form of the theory of mind. A normal and
balanced person is supposed to be the strong ego that unconsciously keeps peace between
the their id and their super-ego. Repeatedly, it has been proven that the Witch lost that
strength to keep peace between her id and super-ego; in fact, she lost the strength to keep
peace between herself and her id (her fire demon). There is supposed to be a balanced
separation between the id, ego, and super-ego; all three of these things are supposed to
work together in the unconscious mind to form a balanced person. Because the Witchs
fire demonher idtook control of her mind, she lost the necessary balance every
person needs to function acceptably.
Though the Witch of the Waste had great power within her and a hefty amount of
control over people, she still lost in the end: to her fire demon and to Sophie and Howl.
Physically, the Witch loses because Howl kills her; mentally, however, Witch lost herself
to her fire demon the second she created the contract with it. Her whole structure of mind
was demolished and became a crumbled piece of what once was a great witchs natural
ability. If a person does not take proper care in keeping a balance between their needy
id and their moral super-ego, they can cause a lot of imbalanced problems within
themselves. The Witch, not only lost against Howl and his proper structure of mind, but
also against her fire demon, which was her greatest gain and downfall. As Spidermans
Uncle Ben once said, with great power comes great responsibility.

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Work Cited
Jones, Dianna Wynne. Howls Moving Castle. New York: Greenwillow, 2008. Print.
Lapsley, Daniel K., and Paul C. Stey. Id, Ego, and Superego. University of
Notre Dame, 2011. Web. 28 Nov. 2015.
Thornton, Stephen P. Sigmund Freud. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. n.p.,
n.d. Web. 14 Nov. 2015.