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Freudian Trio

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From left to right:
Asuka as Id: Brash, arrogant, quick to action
Shinji as Ego: Torn between the two of them
Rei as Superego: Stoic, unemotional, insightful
A Power Trio of the "two Foils + balance" variety, this trope has three characters playing psychological positions based on the Freudian idea of the Id, the Ego and the Superego.

Freud defined the human psyche as consisting of three parts:

  • the Id, which represented emotional and instinctual desires;
  • the Superego, which represented the rules and social conventions;
  • the Ego, which reconciled the Id and Superego.

Likewise, the Freudian Trio consists of three characters: one who acts emotionally and instinctively, one who acts with cold, passionless logic and one who reconciles the two conflicting ideals.

Sometimes the Id/Superego dynamics play out with just two characters, but in those cases the representatives of opposing sides must learn to negotiate with each other. In a Power Trio, they are free to be more extreme, and it falls to The Kirk to lay the smack down and keep the group integrated. The leader of a Freudian Trio may not necessarily be The Kirk but often is. The second most likely to be the leader is The McCoy, the most passionate and caring one. It might be that The Hero is the emotional id, his lancer is the practical ego and The Smart Guy is superego.


Basically if The Leader is the superego he'll be the Mastermind; if the ego, most likely the Levelheaded; and if he's id, most likely the Headstrong. Each can be the Charismatic as this type leads by example.

A Comic Trio uses the same ingredients, but the leader is crazy, the action one is stupid, and the thinking one is powerless. Depending on the fandom and its tendency for shipping, a Freudian Trio may easily become a One True Threesome. Compare also Good Angel, Bad Angel if you see the "Shoulder Devil" as the Id, the "Shoulder Angel" as the Superego and the person whose shoulders they stand on as the Ego.

The Evil Duo is a Foil to this arrangement consisting of two villains who show how the Trio fails to function without one of the members. The most common form is with one Id villain and one Superego villain, but an Id/Ego pair or even an Ego\Superego pair is not unheard of.


Can overlap with Four-Temperament Ensemble: choleric and sanguine are both impetuous enough to be Id; melancholic and sometimes phlegmatic can be Superego, for being a good moral voice. Phlegmatic, its blend with sanguine, and eclectic are all reconciliatory enough to be Ego. With the correct gender makeup, they can also be the ¡Three Amigos!

For a more in-depth look at Freud's theories, check out UsefulNotes.Id Superego And Ego.



Video Example(s):


Batman: Geek, Bully, & Slacker

A nuclear blast separates Batman into three Batmen that represents the three broad elements of his personality. Geek!Batman is the Superego, Bully!Batman is the Id, and Slacker!Batman is the Ego.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / FreudianTrio

Media sources:

Main / FreudianTrio