Therefore, when Gretta gains control of her speech, his ideal ego vanishes only to behold his pure physiognomy, devoid of the idealising glamour he has built up, thus cutting off the narcissistic bond between Gabriel as subject and his ego, which was emphasized by his imaginary external view of the window before delivering his speech after the supper.
It sticks on galoshes, it covers the surface of Dublin, it paves the streets on which the characters walk, and, in the closing paragraph, it both externalizes Gabriel's prospective rebirth after his crisis and covers the whole surface of Ireland in such a transcendental, cosmic manner as to map a paralysed space to be left behind, associated with his dead past and his former ideal ego.
Although Freud uses three distinct terms for the agency that pushes the subject to act ethically--he speaks of the ideal ego (Idealich), ego ideal (Ich-Ideal), and superego (Uberich)--as a rule he conflated the three (he often uses the expression Ichideal oder Idealich (ego ideal or ideal ego), and the title of chapter III of The Ego and the Id is "The Ego and Superego (Ego Ideal).
The underlying structuring principle of these three terms is clearly Lacan's triad Imaginary-Symbolic-Real: the ideal ego is imaginary, what Lacan calls the "small other," the idealized double image of my ego; the ego ideal is symbolic, the point of my symbolic identification, the point in the big Other from which I observe (and judge) myself; the superego is real, the cruel and insatiable agency which bombards me with impossible demands and which mocks my failed attempts to meet them, the agency in the eyes of which I am all the more guilty, the more I try to suppress my "sinful" strivings and live up to its exigencies.
This is a paradoxical kind of drowning; in Lacanian terms, his fictional unity which establishes the specular ideal ego
collapses, and the moi and the je die to any form of ego fictions.
As of 1996, the first three seminars are available in English translation, providing access to the foundational concepts of Lacan's structural rereading of basic Freudian theory: the registers (the symbolic, the imaginary, and the real) and the elements of subjectivity (the Subject, the ideal ego, the object other, and the Other as the linguistic unconscious).
Schema L illustrates the structure of intersubjectivity and defines the relations of his terms Subject (je), ideal ego (moi), other (as object), and Other (as language).
The reason individuals inflate their concept of themselves, their ideal ego
, is that there is a constant comparison being made with the image of perfection towards which the ego strives, that into which it desires to merge (or reunite).