Psychological Disorders analyzed in Watchmen
Through out the graphic novel Watchmen written by Alan Moore, Moore tells the story of a particular superhero group referred to as Watchmen whom for the most part possess relatively human characteristics. In a reversed manner, Moore uses these characters to symbolize the different kinds of human beings in the world rather than the typical super beings so often created in traditional comic books (Disinformation). Like humans, characters in Watchmen all fall short of their own problems, failures, and weaknesses and struggle like every day-to-day people in society. One of the many afflictions that the heroes face, in particular Rorschach, Ozymandias, and Doctor Manhattan, is their flaw that defines them the most, and that is their personality disorder. In explanation behind these claims of certain disorders, professional research conducted of disorders can be matched by analyzing the characters past, emotions and dialogue from the story.
To begin, the most disturbing character to bring discussion about mental illness is Rorschach. Rorschach, also known as Walter Kovacs, is without a doubt a character that suffers from not one, but many personality and psychological disorders through out Watchmen. These disorders are pointed out from Walter’s early childhood to well into his adult life. Analyzing Walter’s past from his abusive childhood to his adult life of being a slight sociopath and constantly in fear, ties have been made between Rorschach and the mental disorder Paranoid Personality Disorder (PPD) (Perry 2).
In order to understand how Perry analyzed Walter’s character and diagnosed him as a sufferer of paranoia, similarities between what the typical traits of a person with Paranoia Personality Disorder are classified under and how many of those traits matched Walter’s personality must be examined. PPD is often referred to as being a complex phenomenon. Multiple approaches and theories have been made towards paranoia and what brings it about. According to Nathan Carlin’s The Paranoia of Everyday Life, paranoia is often related to personal or self esteem issues, distressing of thoughts, and traumatic experiences (Carlin 681). These thoughts and experiences can develop as early as childhood. Other traits of Paranoia Personality Disorder have been led to people having difficulty accepting responsibility for themselves, their lives, and even consequences of their behavior. They are also quick to blame others for their misfortune or unhappiness (Meissner 1).
These facts are very accurate in proving Walter’s disorder in Watchmen. Physical and verbal abuse demonstrated in Chapter VI of Watchmen by Walter’s own mother and bullies draws a conclusion to the reader that his life very much consisted of painful traumatic experiences. Painful memories result in sexually explicit nightmares Walter had of his mother and her clients also is a key to uncovering Walter’s disorder as this falls into the distressing of thoughts and more traumatic happenings partly due to his innocence being taken so young (Moore 6:32). Confrontations in his adult life with the murdering of so-called “criminals” in his eyes were a way of Walter paying back at society for their evil doings. An explicit description of this would be the murder and burning of a man he convicts of killing a little girl. Other examples of PPD can be seen in his fears of society thinking that the world is a very terrible place inspiring him to seek revenge on this “morally blank world” (Moore 6:26). This comes from the consecutive abuse and lack of affection, concern, and protective instinct a mother is suppose to have for her child. Walter however never knew what that sense of protection was and thus views society as an evil and dangerous place. Of these catastrophes, Rorschach’s sympathetic character can be a bit more understood and supports Moore’s idea of the heroes possessing more...
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