This study aims to explore how grief can become pathological. Specifically, focusing on Freud’s
1917 paper, ‘Mourning and Melancholia’. The paper distinguishes between Freud’s account of the
normal path of mourning and pathological grief. Melancholia, pathological grief is the result of
the mechanism of identification. Freud’s theory of narcissistic identification becomes the central
theme and Freud’s answer as to why loss can become pathological. Contemporary theory is
considered which highlights the relevance of Freud’s paper today.