Alter Ego

An alter ego (Latin, "the other I") is a second self, which is believed to be distinct from a person's normal or original personality. The term was coined in the early nineteenth century when dissociative identity disorder was first described by psychologists. A person who has an alter ego is said to lead a double life.

A distinct meaning of alter ego can be found in literary analysis, wherein it describes characters in different works who are psychologically similar, or a fictional character whose behavior, speech or thoughts intentionally represent those of the author. It's also used to design the best friend of another character in a story. Similarly, the term alter ego may be applied to the role or persona taken on by an actor or by other types of performers.

The existence of "another self" was first recognized in the 1730s. Anton Mesmer used hypnosis to separate the alter ego. These experiments showed a behavior pattern that was distinct from the personality of the individual when he was in the waking state compared to when he was under hypnosis. Another character had developed in the altered state of consciousness but in the same body.

Alter ego is also used to refer to the different behaviors any person may display in certain situations. Related concepts include avatar, doppelgänger, impersonator, and split personality.

Read more about Alter Ego:  Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Comic Book Usage, Performing Arts Usage, In Film

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Famous quotes containing the words alter ego, ego and/or alter:

    Effeminate men intrigue me more than anything in the world. I see them as my alter egos. I feel very drawn to them. I think like a guy, but I’m feminine. So I relate to feminine men.
    Madonna [Madonna Louise Ciccione] (b. 1959)

    The ego is not master in its own house.
    Sigmund Freud (1856–1939)

    Such is the power of love in gentle mind,
    That it can alter all the course of kind.
    Edmund Spenser (1552?–1599)