The Elephant Man

Topics: Joseph Merrick, Proteus, John Hurt Pages: 2 (512 words) Published: October 16, 2012
The person who is born and considered to be an outcast of the society is also the outcast for himself Every society has certain rules and stereotypes of behavior. Whether we want it or not some thoughts and notions are firmly fixed in our mind and when we come across similar situations our immediate reaction is caused by experience and certain stereotypes. The process of stigmatization is very widespread in the contemporary society, especially concerning people with some disabilities or abominations. Erving Goffman was one of the sociologists who devoted special attention to the problem of stigmatization. Moreover, he defined several groups that can be affected by the process of stigmatization. One of the groups included people with various deformities and anomalies that were often called abominations of the body. The play “The Elephant Man” by Bernard Pomerance is a bright example of the impact of the society on the personality. We see the main character Joseph Merrick who suffers a lot from the harsh attitude of the society. The main reason of such attitude was his ugly appearance and proteus syndrome that caused overgrowth of the bone and all the deformities and anomalies of his body. From the early beginning Merrick was never treated as a real human. He was considered to be a creature, animal and beast. Merrick used to be a constant object for laughter and humiliation. Society avoids “freaks” and people who seem to be strange or ugly and simply different from them. Moreover, many people think that if a person is somehow disabled physically he is also mentally disabled. Such people are often labeled as freaks or second-rate people. Certain disabilities and anomalies cause social humiliation and constant reason for the stigmatization. In this play by Bernard Pomerance we see how Dr. Treves tries to help Merrick overcome stigmatization and accept himself as a real human who can have normal life and enjoy little things as understanding,...
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