The Bad Seed Summary

Topics: Human Nature

There were many scenes in the movie The Bad Seed where it showed visual examples supporting the Freudian theories. It especially shined on the character Rhoda’s motives for her behaviors. According to Freud’s theory, ego is when you are out of your childhood level and actually take in consideration for other people more than yourself. However, Rhoda does not display any ego in herself as she does not give any consideration for other people in reality.

The Freud’s theory also states that ID is when you are at a baby’s level and don’t know anything of what’s going on in reality and just whine for what you want.

Rhoda’s behavior strongly amplifies ID because she is extremely childlike and spoiled. She is also self-serving and wants everything at that moment while taking no considerations for other people around her. Trying to be perfect is defined as superego according to the Freudian theory and this also has no part when describing Rhoda.

It’s because she is not even trying to be a perfect self which equals a weak superego.

Weak Superego

On the other hand, Rhoda’s mother Christine is more on the superego side because of her thought of having a perfect family but ended up realizing that she herself is not a perfect woman. She notices this during her unconscious stage. According to the Freudian theory that was studied, Rhoda’s ID overpowering her ego and superego is what’s wrong with her.

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Also, she obviously cares more about herself than others in reality. In the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, most of Rhoda’s basic needs are actually met.

Rhoda definitely does not meet the level of self-actualization because she has no desire for self-fulfillment and growth. She also meets the level of esteem and belonging because every adult sees her as a perfect little girl on the outside and all of her family members love her. Safety is probably the need that is met at the highest quality because Rhoda lives in a nice and peaceful neighborhood while having a father that is a colonel in the national military. Her physiological or basic needs are met helped by her family’s fortune and being spoiled herself.

Rhoda’s behavior disproves Maslow’s theories about humankind’s essential nature because this particular theory is more to healthy people rather than someone who is mentally ill. There are many arguments going on about whether evil comes from hereditary or genetic mind rather than from the environment that one lives in. According to the movie “The Bad Seed”, evil can come from both genetic mind and the environment. For example, it is revealed that Christine actually came from parents that were murders and was adopted by normal parents at a young age.

Christine eventually grows up to an adult that is very mature and kind who would never have a single thought about killing anyone for any purpose. If evil was to be based on only genetics, wouldn’t Christine have ended up becoming a dangerous killer following her parent’s footsteps? Instead because Christine lived in a safe and benevolent environment that she is the complete opposite to her parents. However, even though Rhoda lived in a perfectly nice environment she still ended up becoming mentally ill.

This could have been a genetic problem as Rhoda’s grandmother was a dangerous killer and could have passed on the heredity to Rhoda reason being her so vicious to others. The ideas presented in “The Bad Seed” were seen shocking to audiences in the 1950’s because people obviously think that a criminal mind is from their environment instead of genetics or heredity. However, the movie provided some evidence that criminal minds could actually develop genetically as Rhoda was to her grandmother. This possible proof shocked the audience because most probably believed the idea wasn’t even thought of during the time.

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The Bad Seed Summary. (2019, Dec 05). Retrieved from

The Bad Seed Summary
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