The story begins as Dr. Heidegger addresses his guest and shows them how a rose of over half a century could bloom again. Dr. Heidegger acts as the super-ego of the group as he reminds them of their problems back in their youth. His guest, Madam Wycherly, Mr. Gascogne, Mr. Medbourne and Colonel Killigrew, in their old age acts as the ego because at this moment, their old age presents them of their reality, old and miserable. In this moment where their trembling hands try to drink the water from the fountain of youth, their super-ego, Dr. Heidegger’s warning is having an effect on their ego. But as they take their first sip of this elixir, their Id takes over as the elixir affects them as their body becomes younger.
The elixir acts as the instrument for their Id to take over, their foolish youth returns as their body becomes younger. As the peak of their youth was reached their repressed Id, the repressed Id in the story burst forth for the guest of Dr. Heidegger. Their ego has fully taking over as the gentlemen fight for the attention of the lady in the room. If Id reigns, chaos ensues and in the story, the resulting chaos tips over the table that the elixir was placed on. The super-ego, Dr, Heidegger stops them and as the effects of the elixir vanished, their old age returns, so does their reality of being old and miserable, the ego has once again resurfaced over the Id. Dr. Heidegger, the super-ego is now staunch on his stance to never take the water from the fountain of youth because as the representation of moral conscience, he now knows what happens if the Id takes over the ego. A his guest face their aged reality, there is still the desire to be young again but the ego, reality, doesn’t have the instrument, the elixir, for the Id to take over.
The experiment in the story is a social experiment of whether the age-old adage that age often comes wisdom is indeed true, old people have things they regret and would like to change it, desire more often than logic is what old people generally strive for as seen as to how different they once treated their children and how they treat their grandchildren. Hawthorne wants to prove that wisdom comes with age, as shown by Mr. Heidegger, but desire is often acted upon more often than the logic because humans are inherently selfish.