Eliot's The Waste Land can be viewed as an exploration of the mentality or collective mind of the early twentieth century, a time in which a vast upheaval occurred in the way intellectuals viewed history, religion, and aesthetics. There are numerous ways in which we can relate Eliot's thinking to Freudian theory, but I would choose the levels of "awareness" Freud defined—the conscious, preconscious, and unconscious—as applicable to the approach throughout this seminal modernist work.
Eliot's writings in general are highly intellectualized. I use this term rather than simply "intellectual" because in my view there is a self-conscious, or even deliberately artificial, approach that typifies his poetry. The Waste Land is a depiction of the modern world overlaid with quotations from literature in different languages and cultural allusions that people like Eliot himself would understand, but often on a preconscious or even unconscious level. The opening of the poem:
April is the cruelest month,...
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