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Tom 25 (2019)

„Człowiek zły i bezwstydny”: Jekyll i Lecter

28 lipca 2020


According to Robert D. Hare “[P]sychopathy is a personality disorder defined by a distinctive cluster of a behaviours and inferred personality traits, most of which society views as pejorative”.57 Although “psychopath” and “psychopathy” are buzzwords nowadays, there is neither a definition clearly defining characteristics of such a person nor a description of what this disorder actually is. In belles-lettres such characters appear for a long time, though no such term was used for them. One of the most interesting cases is Dr. Jekyll from the gothic novella Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886) by Robert L. Stevenson, where fantastic and criminal threads are combined. The work is an interesting personality study of a man who ignores social norms and satisfies all his whims. He blames his other personality, Mr. Hyde, for his crimes and offenses, himself — Jekyll — perceiving as not only innocent but also a victim. The other example analysed in the article is the character of a psychiatrist, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, one of the characters in the series of four crime novels by Thomas Harris. The picture of a personality that emerges from them is complicated on the one hand, so that it eludes any medical classification, but simple at the same time: a man for whom other people and social norms have no meaning, as if they did not exist at all. Lecter sets his own rules, decides what is good, bad, funny, or boring, whom to kill or keep alive. In the article, I try to show that no one can feel safe in the presence of psychopaths, because their way of perceiving the world and building relationships is completely different from “ordinary” people’s understanding. So, they are a huge threat, the more so because they seem not to stand out from the surroundings. This is one of the issues discussed in the texts I am analysing.