Sigmund Freud and the second-century CE dream interpreter Artemidorus of Daldis displayed a certain degree of respect for their patients or clients. This shared attitude was supported by a similar commitment to empiricism. Their similar methods in dealing with patients draw attention to their basic differences in understanding dreams in general and in interpreting incestuous dreams specifically. Freud and Artemidorus stand at variance in their interpretation of such dreams because they had different notions of the individual. For Freud, humans were defined by their biological history as animals. For Artemidorus, humans were defined by their roles in society. As a result, Freud believed the Oedipal complex to be nearly universal but represented cryptically in dreams, but Artemidorus found numerous direct examples of incestuous dreams that were to be interpreted according to the context of the dreamer's social position.

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