Id a well-known fictional character (books, movies, etc.) or a public figure in history that you think may have a psychological disorder?Do not diagnose a living person. Discuss symptoms and...

Id a well-known fictional character (books, movies, etc.) or a public figure in history that you think may have a psychological disorder?

Do not diagnose a living person. Discuss symptoms and explain why you think that person could be assigned your “diagnosis." Give your views and inquire of others questions you may have on these issues and symptoms that the person portrays.

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I have to agree that this is an interesting assignment.  I would pose a couple here.  Emma Bovary, in Flaubert's Madame Bovary,  suffers from the incapability of enjoying her life and envisioning an existence that can only find happiness in dreams that are not real. To a great extent, the same "diagnosis" can be applied to Wily Loman in Miller's Death of a Salesman.  Certainly, Sophocles' Oedipus has a great many syndromes with which he has to wrestle.  The guy killed his father and married his mother and spawned an entire industry in the process.  This must leave some level of residual psychological effect.  To a more modern view, I would submit that Michael Scott from NBC's "The Office" suffers from a condition that values the opinions of others to greatly ("My need to be loved is not like my need to constantly be praised.")

readerofbooks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think it would be fun to look at a person like Batman, the dark knight. He is a very complex person. He is dark in a sense, because he is sort of above the law as a vigilante. For example, he takes matters into his own hands, but he also has a side of heroism and justice.He is willing to sacrifice his own life. He also has this facination with bats, which is sort of wierd. He also has a duplicitious life - Batman and Bruce Wayne. You can also explore how his father and mother's death impacted him.

epollock | Student


Edgar Allen Poe's quintessential unreliable protagonist narrator in "The Tell-Tale Heart" is quite disturbed. The sharp exclamations, nervous questions, and broken sentences almost too blatantly advertise Poe’s conscious intention; the protagonist’s insanity, delusional reality, and painful insistence in ‘‘proving’’ himself sane only serves to intensify the idea of his madness.

Poe presides with precision of perception at the psychological drama he describes. He makes us understand that the voluble murderer has been tortured by the nightmarish terrors he attributes to his victim: ‘‘He was sitting up in bed listening;—just as I have done, night after night, harkening to the death watches in the wall’’; further, the narrator interprets the old man’s groan in terms of his own persistent anguish: ‘‘Many a night, just at midnight, when all the world slept, it has welled up from my own bosom, deepening, with its dreadful echo, the terrors that distracted me.’’

Thus, Poe, in allowing his narrator to disburden himself of his tale, skillfully contrives to show also that he lives in a haunted and eerie world of his own demented making.

mkcapen1 | Student

What a great assignment!

I believe that I would look at a person like Heathcliff from "Wuthering Heights" by Emily Bronte.  Heathcliff experiences abandonment as a child due to the death of his parent's.  He is a social outcast as he is a Roma or gypsy, a despised population in Europe at the time of the novel.  This sets the stage for other psychological problems that follows.

Initially he becomes a foster son in the Earnshaw family, but after Mr. Earnshaw dies he is left to be mistreated by his foster brother Hindley who inherits the property.  To top it all off, his only friend and the love of his life, his foster sister Catherine, is off with another man.

Heathcliff eventually expresses that he loves Catherine, but he also demonstrates traits of a selfish love.  Heathcliff has antisocial personality disorder.  He basically cuts himself off from the world with the exception of going to people that he wants to manipulate.  He is vindictive and mean.  He engages in inappropriate behaviors by abusing Mr. Hindley mentally and physically.  He abuses his own son and ridicules him.  He demonstrates a pattern of blatant disregard and violates the rights of other people.  He has no regard for social conformity.

While the patterns at first did not seem to be present before the age of fifteen, they begin to emerge around mid adolescence.  He suffers form the anger that he lets loose on others as he feels he has been victimized and still is being victimized by Catherine and her husband Linton.  He is also unable to be intimate with others.  He does not form relationships.