Cliff Huxtable Sigmund Freud's Personality Term Paper

Total Length: 996 words ( 3 double-spaced pages)

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Cliff likes to challenge people to games, sometimes making bets. Yet when he loses, he does not take the situation too seriously. Cliff does not avoid conflict or argument, and yet he also tries to create win-win situations. Cliff is frequently portrayed as the voice of reason in the show, such as when he tries to talk his wife out of having another baby. He points out where his children are acting on their impulses, and proves to be a good disciplinarian. A psychoanalytic personality perspective suggests that Cliff Huxtable is an ideal person with a healthy, well-developed ego.

In the Cosby Show, the Huxtable children are developing their superegos based on what they learn from their parents and Cliff serves as an excellent role model for them. Cliff Huxtable is a well-adjusted man who does not demonstrate any apparent neuroses. Difficult emotions such as anger, fear, and embarrassment are raised in the Cosby Show, through the various characters. Cliff Huxtable shows remarkable wisdom when dealing with his children. For instance, in one episode he tells them that anger is a normal human emotion and that he loves his children even when they are feeling angry. Cliff also understands that the superego cannot always be happy, as when one of his daughters bombs during her music recital. Showing unconditional love, Cliff instills the kind of values in his children that will help them develop with minimal neuroses too.

Although loosely based on Bill Cosby himself Cliff Huxtable is an idealized human being.
The television character is fun-loving but not driven by his id impulses. Cliff Huxtable has a strong sense of personal pride, which is why he has a desire to win at chess. Yet his superego does not create conflicts in his personality. All three parts of Cliff Huxtable's personality are well-integrated, which is why he is a healthy and balanced person as well as a good father and role model.

Moreover, the Cosby Show is a comedy. Cliff's character is developed via funny and often outrageous episodes that are wholly unrealistic. For example, in one episode Cliff cuts a large piece of cake and pretends it is for his daughter. Not only does he try to deny wanting to eat the cake, Cliff also stuffs a paper towel into the cake to make it look like it is intact. The scene shows Cliff's childlike nature -- his id. He wants the instant gratification that comes from eating the cake now rather than waiting for his wife Claire to come home. Cliff's superego is also evident in this scene as he knows that he is doing something wrong -- which is why he tries to hide the evidence. His ego is the balancing force between the two, as he comically covers up his act.


Stevenson, D.B. (1998). Freud's division of the mind. The Victorian Web. retrieved April 30, 2010 from

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