1. (psychoanalytic theory) Jung's concept of a public role acted out by an individual in relation to social expectations (as distinct from the private or ‘true’ self), a concept derived from the masks worn by actors in classical drama: see also self-presentation.
2. (literary theory) The assumed identity, role, alter ego, or ‘second self’ adopted by the narrator or implied author of a text. Often perceived by readers as the voice of the author—though it may not reflect the author's views at all, as often in satire (hence the utility of the term to support this distinction).