Stockholm Syndrome Mid Term Paper

Topics: Posttraumatic stress disorder, English-language films, Stockholm syndrome Pages: 3 (1232 words) Published: July 8, 2013
Stockholm Syndrome: Understanding the Beast in the Beauty
Phillip F. Schulte-Hordelhoff

Stockholm Syndrome Defined:
“A phenomenon in which a hostage begins to identify with and grow sympathetic to his or her captor.” (The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary, 2009)

The movie Beauty and the Beast (Trousdale, 1991) may be a love story, a classic fairy tale with a Happily Ever After ending. The lesson we get from it as children is that beauty is more than skin deep and love conquers all. However, there is a darker possibility in this story because in fact it portrays Stockholm syndrome. The story details a beautiful girl who first is held captive and then become captivated by her kidnapper. Was Belle merely traumatized? Was her love for her captor, the Beast, real or a mental disorder such as Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome? Though Stockholm syndrome is highly doubtable (not being listed in the DSM), we will be examining the less controversial stages in connection with the classic fairy tale. Stockholm syndrome is named for the 1973 bank robbery in Stockholm Sweden wherein two escapees robbed a bank and took hostages. By the end of the stand down, the captives had developed deep and surprising sympathies for their captors, going to far as to marry one of them and raise money for a legal defense of another. It is generally agreed that the point at which Stockholm Syndrome begins is captivity. Captivity is defined as “the state or period of being held, imprisoned, enslaved, or confined” ( Unabridged, 2012). In human beings, captivity causes heightened sense of fear, intense stress, feelings of imminent danger and helplessness. In Beauty and the Beast (Trousdale, 1991), the story truly begins when Belle (the beauty) becomes the hostage of the Beast in his castle after trading places with her father. Upon entering the castle, ultimately her cell, she begins to weep realizing that there is nothing she can do to escape...

References: McKenzie, I. K. (2004). The Stockholm Syndrome Revisited: Hostages, Relationships, Prediction, Controland Psychological Science. Journal Of Police Crisis Negotiations, 4(1), 5-21. doi:10.1300/J173v04n01_02
Mental Disorders. (2006). What causes Stockholm syndrome? Retrieved from:
The American Heritage® Stedman 's Medical Dictionary. Retrieved from: syndrome
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