Free Essay

Psychopath or Human?

In: English and Literature

Submitted By Ashh
Words 567
Pages 3
Psychopath or human?

The Talented Mr. Ripley (1955) written by Patricia Highsmith is known for exploring the gap between benevolence and malevolence. The novel engages its readers to question how far one can go to feel a sense of belonging and love. It investigates how narrow the line between evil and human is in real life. Is Tom really a psychopath or is he just a lonely soul looking for acceptance?

To begin with, Tom's depiction of the ideal life is filled with wealth and reputation. He tries to mould himself into the man he thinks will be appreciated by society. This twisted image of society and its standards leaves the reader questioning who is to blame when a sociopath is born. His desire to be Dickie Greenleaf is brutal and unmoral, but still relatable and empathetic. Tom's train of thoughts about loneliness and being admired is heartfelt and impossible to ignore. The talented Mr. Ripley shows how deception and voracity can almost transform anyone into a hedonistic, merciless human. Haysmith manages to almost manipulate the reader to feel sympathy for the miscreant as she describes his thoughts about belonging: "He only wanted a home, a base somewhere, after years of not having any." (Andersson and Ernst, Streams in Literature, 2007, p. 52).

In addition to this, Tom is often referred to as an anti-hero. Reason behind this statement can be explained by Highsmith's narrative flow. The novel provides a striking insight into the mind of a sociopath in his quest to a life in which he is adored by society. Tom's character is comparable to a chameleon with many talents. One among these talents is being able to mimic personalities and eventually becoming them. This description of Tom can also be the definition of a psychopath as he tries to manipulate his way through an inexplicable chain of lies. However, the character's wickedness and somewhat monstrosity is often overseen by his explicit intelligence and capacity to remain calm when stressed.

Although sometimes Tom is relatable, he shows early evidence of a sociopath in the story. He steals Dickie's personality and life without any remorse. Dying his hair, having imaginary conversations with Dickie's acquaintances and lying to people and being anyone but himself seems fine to Tom. It is clear that Tom keep telling himself that being Dickie will lead him to everything he ever wanted. It gives him a sense of affirmation to what he is actually doing. He feels as though it is impossible to feel lonely and bored as long as he is Dickie (Andersson and Ernst, Streams in Literature, 2007, p. 45). Tom's false perception of reality is unethical and loathing, but yet profound and at times heartbreaking. His ability to captivate both the characters and the readers with his charisma is remarkable.

To conclude, Tom shows evidence of being a psychopath. His charismatic ways to manipulate is fascinating to follow. Although the story is about murder and deceit, it is a demonstration of how thin the line between psychopathic and human is. Tom's actions speak for an unstable mental health and the amount of fortitude Tom carries is frightening, but yet comprehensible. After all, Tom does what many of us have thought about doing before. He molds his own life into a person he thinks will be acknowledged. If that is not human, then I do not know what is.

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Sociopathy Paper

...people think of a psychopath or sociopath they think of a person who is violent and has a lack of guilt. These traits are both true. But, a psychopath has many more characteristics that people see with the naked eye. Most psychopaths are anti-social and do not relate to others as normal people do. They usually plan out their violent attacks with no emotion or sympathy to what they do. To some people they get the tags “emotionless,” “fearless,” and “unstoppable.” The reason that psychopaths do not fear anything is because they somehow lack anxiety and feel that nothing matters to them. It is also hard to say what motivates a psychopath, could it be control or dominance possibly, but most psychopaths have had no long relationships with anyone in their lives or any purpose for the things they do other than planning violence. They tend to have a grandiose demeanor and an attitude of entitlement like other people owe them something. Certain brain disorders and hormonal imbalances make a person become a psychopath. There are four different types of psychopaths. First, there are primary psychopaths. This type of person does not respond to any type of punishment, apprehension, stress, or disapproval for the things that they do. For a primary psychopath, words to not connect to them like words would for a normal person. It is also unclear to scientist if they even understand the meaning of their own words and this is a condition known as “semantic aphasia.” These psychopaths have......

Words: 1221 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

The Psychopath Test

... He is the author of four bestsellers, Them: Adventures with Extremists, The Men Who Stare at Goats, The Psychopath Test, and Lost at Sea: The Jon Ronson Mysteries. In an interview, Ronson stated his reason why he wrote The Psychopath Test, “I wanted to write a book about madness because it has always been—I think— the elephant in the room of my other books. Do the people I write about behave the strange ways they do because madness is the engine that powers them? I felt I needed to address this question head-on. Is madness the force that makes the world go around?” The Psychopath Test: A Journey through the Madness Industry starts out with a mystery. A group of the world’s top researchers are plagued by an elaborate riddle, set in a series of curiously handmade books, and Ronson is called upon to investigate. He is of course, an established London writer, and by this time, fairly well-known for his taste in investigative journalism. Ronson is sucked into the mystery immediately, with an obsessive, infectious fervor. It’s through the riddle Ronson was introduced to, when he unwittingly stumbles into the world of psychopaths. Once solved, he finds that the world is populated by a group of people he had never truly examined—people that act without empathic reason and wreak havoc on the world simply because they can. This realization is what sparks the hunt for psychopaths and what makes this book such a captivating read. He moves from influential psychologists who teach him......

Words: 596 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

Psychopath

...Eng. 102 Revealing a Psychopath “If you’re in a room and at one end lies madness and at the other end lies sanity, it is human nature to veer towards the madness end” (Ronson 72). In other words what Jon Ronson is trying to say is that humans by nature are always looking for craziness. One example is a teenage boy always wondering, “What would happen if…” What would happen if I drink one of my dad’s beers instead of the Mountain Dew next to it; would he find out? Or another example when you get your first car, you want to press and investigate what each button or pedal does and you see the accelerator. The first thing that might run to your mind is what would happen if I just press this all the way down? Despite the fact that we know the consequences we still do them because humans by nature veer towards madness as said by Ronson. After reading Ronsons “The Psychopath Test” I realized that we all have some type of manic tendencies or a disorder in us, yet we are not all considered psychopaths. Once Ronson started reading the DSM he started to diagnose himself with disorders and some of these disorders also pertained to me. The disorders were arithmetic learning disorder and caffeine induced disorder. As a kid I was never the best at math so did that mean I had arithmetic learning disorder? How about when you drink coffee for the first time and you start getting the jitters, does that mean you have caffeine induced disorder? In this section of the book I believe that the......

Words: 720 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Reflection Paper On Social Work

...92 percent on the statements presented. For example, the social work profession and me holds the same view regarding transgender and gender non-conforming individuals using restrooms based on their gender identity, congress adapting a minimum wage based on the cost of living, federal funding supporting research in stem cell usage to prevent disease, supporting paid time off for new parents, early childhood education being universally available, funding domestic violence program for both the perpetrator and the victim and promoting syringe exchange programs to stop the spread of HIV and so on. The similarities rely solely on the values of the social work profession: Service, social justice, dignity and worth of a person, importance of all human relationship, integrity and competence (National Association of Social Work, 2017). Nevertheless, the social work profession and me hold opposing views on the death penalty being appropriate and that HIV testing of pregnant women should be conducted...

Words: 957 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

Communication and Behavioral Models for Predatory Leadership

...University Communication for Social Change Dr. Dorcas Francisco April 21, 2013 The persistence of poverty can often lead to upheaval – Pradip Thomas The persistence of the poor to overcome systemic forces that sustain poverty will lead to upheaval – Matt Kramer (with gratitude to Pradip Thomas) Predatory Leadership (PL) is the working title for a phenomenon describing a set of anti-social behaviors and how the actors displaying these behaviors have been able, over the course of thousands of years, to disproportionately manipulate and distort the evolution of civilization into a paradigm in which the worst aberrations of human behavior, including war, poverty, famine, slavery, economic exploitation, corruption in government and industry, and other forms of social injustice are considered by many to be normal and unavoidable expressions of human behavior. A critical factor enabling predatory leaders to out-compete potential leaders of compassionate and collaborative leadership styles is based upon the premise that few people recognize signs of psychopathic behavioral symptoms early enough to make appropriate and timely choices protecting themselves from exploitation and abuse, or protecting positions of ultimate power and control from being occupied by the most toxic and malevolent of personalities. To provide some perspective on the nature and consequences of PL, consider a metaphorical comparison of the awareness of PL by today’s general population to the......

Words: 1644 - Pages: 7

Free Essay

Good Form

...The real action of the film is Young Charlie’s loss of innocence as she begins to understand the world as it really is. While some critics, like Martin Blank, assert, “Uncle Charlie has […] corrupted Young Charlie’s innocence forever,”10 this analysis is incomplete. As the opening sequence suggests, Young Charlie was already discontent with her life in her family and hometown; thus her fall was inevitable. As Young Charlie begins to understand Uncle Charlie’s true nature—he is not a savior but rather a “charming psychopath”11—her idealism about life outside of Santa Rosa starts to crumble. In the end of the film, she is presented with potentially bleak choices: marry the detective, live inconsolably with her family, or risk a violent solitary life, like her uncle. Because she has already expressed her discontent with an “average” life in a small town, the marriage or life with her family would inevitably be oppressive, but the alternative is unfathomable. Her living in the house with Uncle Charlie as he tries to kill her is only a physical manifestation of this internal struggle. This reality—preserving the status quo or engaging in violent rebellion—has caused some critics, like James McLaughlin, to see the film as exposing the violent tension inherent in traditional family dynamics, especially for young women. To him, Uncle Charlie’s rage regarding widows is simply a fear of independent powerful women: “[rich widows] are regarded as inhuman and unnatural, unhinging both......

Words: 716 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Sdfds

...inner workings as of late. In the passage of time, it became more and more common that corporations be treated as actual human beings as these had the same legal rights. It was found in the Fourteenth Amendment in the United States Constitution how this was so. The entity of the corporation had earned too much breadth and power as time passed. One of my musings regarding the corporations of today involves its superiority over the masses. These corporations basically control the public and have the power to manipulate them into doing whatever they want to—in most cases—render the most profit. In the documentary, one of the most memorable parts was when the corporation was likened to a psychopath—one with absolute disregard of others’ feelings. One who would only first realize this would be scared out of his/her wits but because this is one of the things I like to tackle with my best friend, I have come to accept the hard truth that the corporations run the world. In the current state of the world, it can be observed that most people who adopt a corporate lifestyle tend to be detached to the relational and even emotional side of the human experience. Some high-positioned employees tend to be disconnected from their families because they are always on business trips, meetings, and the like. This is one of the reasons why the corporation can be seen as a psychopath. In addition, corporations also have the skill of deceiving and misleading their audience...

Words: 521 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

Social Change Message: Ending Predatory Leadership

...Social Change Message & Individual Impact Matt Kramer Walden University Communication for Social Change Dr. Dorcas Francisco May 12, 2013 At this time, research on the hypothesis of predatory leadership (PL) indicates that one to four percent of the general population, identified as narcissistic and/or psychopathic, is responsible for initiating and sustaining the majority of humanity’s greatest problems including war, genocide, slavery, poverty, famine and oppressive/exploitive economic practices. Independent researchers confirm that over fifty percent of violent crimes are committed by psychopaths (Hare, 1999). Furthermore, indications are that the pathology is not limited to any particular race, class, ethnicity or gender. Long term consequences of PL include political and military campaigns that cause divisions between particular groups of people as a means for controlling the population and for inciting wars as part of political and economic agendas; the use of rape, slavery and child soldiers as military tactics (Tyne, 2008); patriarchal norms limiting opportunities for women; social barriers limiting educational and employment opportunities for minorities, and harsh practices such as female genital mutilation (FGM) honor killings and the use of morality police are rationalized as culturally legitimate and relevant (Kazem, 2013). Current research suggests that general public awareness of the nature and impact of PL upon the evolution of civilization is......

Words: 1536 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

The Article

...cannot choose between right and wrong. Through the psychological theory I can prove how a man is torn between his “id,” “ego,” and “superego” and to proud to show his true identity of being a psychopath. The man is portrayed as the narrator and has taken on two identities one as a loving and caring man and the other is a psychopath. The “id” will take over his “ego” only to be taken over by his “superego” and eventually taken back over by his “ego.” Our journey starts with the young man, the narrator, telling us his story. The young man is a caretaker of an old man who is really old and has a diseased eye. In “The Tell-Tale Heart” the young man starts out by loving the old man very deeply. He takes care of his every need, until one day “ the old man’s eye fell upon him and his blood ran cold”(Poe 2). The young man then turned to his narcissistic ways and it changed the way he felt about the old man whom “he loved so dearly” (Poe 1). In “ Explanation of: ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’ by Edgar Alan Poe,” which was rewritten by an unknown author, it explains how the narrator is a “paranoid schizophrenic”(pg. 1). The article explains how Edgar Alan Poe was obsessed with “death, madness, and troubled human relationships” (pg. 1). The narrator is definitely a man caught between normality and psychopath. Further more the young man goes on to “spy on the old man every night for a week” (Poe 3). In doing this, the young man is letting his “id” take over his thoughts and actions. Chua......

Words: 1563 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Antisocial Personality Disorder

...The Antisocial Personality Disorder is (APD) is a serious disease that affects many males and causes a great threat to families, friends, and even complete strangers. Most personality disorders may cause an inconvenience to a person’s family and friends, but usually harm themselves more than others. Antisocial Personality Disorder contrasts from other personality disorders because the defining trait is a predatory attitude toward other people. “They have a chronic indifference to and violation of the rights of one’s fellow human beings. The cause of antisocial personality disorder is unknown. Genetic factors and environmental factors, such as child abuse, and people with an antisocial parent are believed are at an increased risk to the development of this condition. (1) A common tendency of those with APD is criminal actions. These actions can range from stealing of everyday items to rape and/or murder. It is obvious that APD is a serious disorder with serious consequences. Criminologists need to have an understanding of APD as evidenced in the offender. Antisocial Personality Disorder affects less than one percent of females and about three percent of males and usually occurs before age 15. Most of these men are involved in some sort of criminal behavior. One heart-wrenching characteristic of men with this disorder is that they show no remorse for their victims or anyone involved. Those with APD are grandiose, arrogant, callous, superficial, and manipulative. Effectively,...

Words: 896 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

Altuism

...impossible. There can be no such thing a selfless act because all behavior is rooted in subjective frameworks that are projected onto the external world. The belief that the highest good a person can do is self-sacrifice is a personal belief, and the drive to adhere to this belief is self-serving. To not adhere to such a personal belief would cause cognitive dissonance, and the many clever ways that humans avoid cognitive dissonance have been made evident (Chapanis & Chapanis, 1964). Gandhi preaches about detachment from the fruits of action in his translation of the Bhagavad Gita. Doing good works in service to others without attachment to the fruits of your actions, or expecting anything in return, is a working definition of altruism. However, I argue that is impossible to be detached from the fruits of your actions, because we cannot escape the nature of the unconscious. Psychological knowledge has made it clear that charity, altruism, and random acts of kindness are superficial; at their root is a selfish endeavor. Psychology has exposed the inner life of the brain. Human behavior is no longer attributed to souls, spirits, or other supernatural forces. In the rigid, skeptical, and reductionist corners of academia, free will and personal responsibility have been replaced by a deterministic perspective. Psychological principles such as behaviorism, cognitive dissonance, and hedonism have undermined traditional beliefs about charity, altruism, and acts of kindness. From......

Words: 845 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

Seminar

...PSYCHOPATHS IN POWER: THE COLLAPSE OF THE AFRICAN DREAM IN A PLAY OF GIANTS Olusegun Adekoya Department of English Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife Nigeria oadekoya2@yahoo.com AN ABSTRACT A critical investigation of Wole Soyinka’s A Play of Giants, the paper discusses what the playwright himself calls the Aminian theme, that is, African leaders’ obsession with power, a seductive drive that breeds moral corruption, dictatorship, delusions, economic distortions and ruination, megalomania, perversion and desecration of all that is good in African traditions, and the evaporation of all the dreams of greatness, of nationalism, liberation from colonial thraldom, disease, ignorance and poverty, and of pan-Africanism nursed in the heady days of Independence celebrations. The four despots caricatured in the play are Field-Marshal Kamini (late Idi Amin, deposed president of Uganda), Emperor Kasco (Jean-Bedel Bokassa, former Emperor of the Central African Republic), Benefacio Gunema (late President Macias Nguema of Equatorial Guinea), and General Barra Tuboum (late President Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of Congo). They are in New York to attend the General Assembly of the United Nations. In response to the Secretary-General’s request for a work of art representative of each member nation’s culture, say, a miniaturized bust of the president, they sit for a life-size group sculpture on Kamini’s suggestion and in what appears to be a vivid demonstration of the......

Words: 1735 - Pages: 7

Free Essay

We Are All Chairs

...least check to make sure that we are not chairs, it is impossible to be absolutely certain that the claim is false. This concept raises an interesting question to society; is absolute certainty an attainable ambition? If you were to ask Mill that question, he would tell you that there is no such thing. However, “there is assurance sufficient for the purposes of human life” (Mill 10). This idea suggests that acceptance of a claim in society is possible, only if you presume that the claim is right. Furthermore, you may only presume a claim to hold truth if your opinion is open to question, if anyone is free to disprove your claim, and if no one does. In addition to this claim tempting us to take a moment to check if we are chairs, it also gives us an opportunity for further reflection on human nature. As Mill says, “it is the duty of governments, and of individuals, to form the truest opinions they can; to form them carefully, and never impose them upon others unless they are quite sure of being right” (Mill 10). When people think they are absolutely sure about something, it stunts progressive thinking and prevents the human race from confirming claims with greater evidence. Embracing a question of a general opinion may help us arrive at more insight or knowledge because this wrong...

Words: 1118 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Synthesis

...Michele Linton February 25, 2015 Dr. Lawrence Ness RES-811 Synthesis Paper My challenge was to synthesize three separate articles. Discover the commonalities, and distinguish the differences. Synthesis requires one to combine two or more separate entities in order to form one. The journal articles had more in common than I thought at first glance. The first article was about fearless dominance. I didn’t have a lot of experience and/or knowledge about this topic, but after reading I was surprised at how interesting and powerful it was. The second article was about transactional and transformational leadership. These forms of leadership are opposite types of leadership that collective make up an amazing leader. The final article is about leadership identity and the importance of self-awareness in leadership. In my paper, I will give a brief overview of the three articles and discuss the similarities. Fearless dominance and the U.S. presidency: Implications of psychopathic personality traits for successful and unsuccessful political leadership. It has been said that fearless dominance has an association with strong rated presidential performance, leadership, persuasiveness, crisis management, congressional relations and allied variables. Fearless dominance appears as a characteristic frequently among presidents and has a correlation to job performance ratings. Also,......

Words: 1090 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

Psychopathic Behavior

...The Psychopath Understanding and Treatment Abstract Mental health disorders are among the most complex disorders to understand. Persons with these types of disorders are not commonly accepted into society. Psychopaths are among some of the most difficult disorders to treat. These persons most often come from a background lacking structure and continuity. Proper treatment is heavily debated. Report It is a popular belief that psychopaths are considered to be individuals that are as brilliantly charming as they are morally insane. However, the tendency to refer to the psychopathic behavior as “morally insane” is a misconception. Regardless of scientific discoveries, psychopathy is a disease which results in a physiological deficiency. The brain of psychopaths is believed to fail in generation of proper wave activity. Waves emitted are generally slower in individuals suffering from psychopathic behavior. This fundamental incompetence is responsible for a lower degree of arousal when these persons face a threatening situation. Their lack of anxiety and consequent careless behavior in any situation is commonly referred to as lack of conscience. These individuals lack the plethora of emotions that arise in the “normal” individual; that is, the ability to feel, to anticipate the breaking of the law, or to feel sorry when they break these laws. They are deprived of a conscience which organizes the moral notions of good and bad. In normal behavior, acts are constrained by...

Words: 2426 - Pages: 10