madness


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madness

mental derangement (‘insanity’) which disrupts the ‘normal’ social functioning of an individual, leading to strange and unpredictable behaviour. In modern medical or psychiatric DISCOURSE,‘madness’ is conceptualized and treated either as one of a number of physically grounded medical conditions (hence also treatable by drugs) or as a clinically identifiable personality disorder (see also PSYCHOSIS). In the sociological literature, it is more likely to be analysed as an example of the wider phenomenon of social LABELLING and SOCIAL CONTROL. For FOUCAULT, for instance, modern ways of handling ‘madness’ must be analysed as an aspect of the wider phenomena of social POWER and SURVEILLANCE, and social exclusion, in modern societies. Thus for sociological purposes there can be no question of any simple acceptance of the 'S cientific’ labels attached by ‘experts’. In other societies and at other times, the kinds of behaviour now usually labelled ‘insane’ would be more variously labelled, e.g. as SHAMANISM, WITCHCRAFT, etc., and the social treatment of these would be similarly variable. In order to capture the social character of madness, there must be analysis of the social basis and social implications of madness. Medical and associated psychiatric conceptions will be part of this analysis, but can have no automatic priority in their own terms. See also LAING, SZASZ.

Madness

Alcithoe
driven mad by Dionysus. [Gk. Myth.: Kravitz, 16]
Alcmeon
driven mad by the Furies. [Gk. Myth.: Kravitz, 16]
Ashton, Lucy
goes mad upon marriage; stabs husband. [Br. Lit.: Bride of Lammermoor]
Bedlam
(Hospital of St. Mary of Bethlehem) first asylum for the insane in England; noted for brutal treatment of its patients. [Br. Hist.: EB, I: 924]
Belvidera
goes mad when husband dies. [Br. Lit.: Venice Preserved, Benét, 1052]
Bess o’ Bedlam
inmate of London’s lunatic asylum; female counterpart of Tom o’ Bedlam. [Br. Folklore: Walsh, Modern, 55]
Broteas
angered Artemis; she drove him mad. [Gk. Myth.: Kravitz, 47]
Butes
Dionysus drove him mad. [Gk. Myth.: Kravitz, 48]
Cleese, John
performs a manic comic character with persecution complex. [Br. TV: “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” in Terrace, II, 108]
Clementina, Lady
mentally unbalanced; vacillates between love and religion. [Br. Lit.: Sir Charles Grandison, Walsh Modern, 99]
Dervish
(Darwesh) member of ascetic order; frenzied, whirling dancer. [Muslim Rel.: Parrinder, 75; Jobes, 433]
Dympna, St.
curing of madness attributed to her intercession. [Christian Hagiog.: Attwater, 107]
Elvira
great mad scene caused by betrayal of Arthur. [Ital. Opera: Bellini, Puritani, Westerman, 133–135]
Erinyes
(Furies) three sisters who tormented those guilty of blood crimes, driving them mad. [Gk. Myth.: Benét, 320]
Furioso, Bombastes
goes mad upon loss of betrothed. [Br. Opera: Rhodes, Bombastes Furioso, Walsh, Modern, 64–65]
Gunn, Ben
half-demented castaway. [Br. Lit.: Treasure Island]
Hieronimo
Spanish general goes mad on seeing the body of his murdered son. [Br. Drama: The Spanish Tragedy in Magill II, 990]
King Lear
goes mad as all desert him. [Brit. Lit.: Shakespeare King Lear]
Leverkühn, Adrian
brilliant musician attains pinnacle; rapidly deteriorates mentally. [Ger. Lit.: Doctor Faustus]
Lucia
frustration causes her to murder husband. [Ital. Opera: Donizetti, Lucia di Lammermoor, Westerman, 126–127]
Mad Hatter
crazy gentleman who co-hosts mad tea party. [Br. Lit.: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland]
Madwoman of Chaillot, The
four eccentric women foil capitalistic exploiters. [Fr. Lit.: Benét, 618]
Mahony, Dr. Richard
tries in vain to stay the insanity that eventually overwhelms him. [Australian Lit.: The Fortunes of Richard Mahony in Magill II, 341]
March Hare
crazy rabbit who co-hosts mad tea party. [Br. Lit.: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland]
McMurphy, Randall Patrick
brash Irishman, lobotomized in asylum after causing numerous scandals. [Am. Lit.: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest]
Myshkin, Prince
four years in sanitarium; thought mad, treated for epilepsy. [Russ. Lit.: The Idiot]
Ophelia
goes mad after father’s death. [Br. Lit.: Hamlet]
Orlando
driven insane by lover’s betrayal. [Ital. Lit.: Orlando Furioso]
Rochester, Bertha
insane wife of Edward Rochester. [Br. Lit.: Jane Eyre]
Tom o’ Bedlam
an inmate of London’s lunatic asylum. Cf. Bess o’ Bedlam. [Br. Folklore: Benét, 3]
Very, Jones “monomaniac”
or “profoundly sane” ? [Am. Hist.: Hart, 883]
Wozzeck
thought of blood drives him to murder and suicide. [Aust. Opera: Berg, Wozzeck, Westerman, 480–481]
References in classic literature ?
Thus I used to think, and thus I used to speak to myself; goaded almost to madness at one mo- ment, and at the next reconciling myself to my wretched lot.
He has only two thousand pounds of his own; it would be madness to marry upon that, though for my own part, I could give up every prospect of more without a sigh.
Reed: the same ridge, black and blasted after the flames are dead, would have represented as meetly my subsequent condition, when half-an-hour's silence and reflection had shown me the madness of my conduct, and the dreariness of my hated and hating position.
But on this occasion I will lay you any wager you like there is madness in your housekeeper's family.
It would be madness if I asked you to escape; but do I?
This, indeed, she did often, for when the moon was full and her madness at its highest, she would travel far to find children, snatching them away from the kraals like a hyena.
At length her senses began slowly to come back to her, and then, rather than break faith with the Prince of Persia by consenting to such a marriage, she determined to feign madness.
We forced him to release his hold with no little difficulty, and without another word he left us, and rushing off plunged in among these brakes and brambles, so as to make it impossible for us to follow him; from this we suppose that madness comes upon him from time to time, and that some one called Fernando must have done him a wrong of a grievous nature such as the condition to which it had brought him seemed to show.
My niece and this poor girl are friends, apparently by some invisible chain of their common destiny, by the sentiment in each which has caused their madness.
In composing the Odyssey he did not include all the adventures of Odysseus--such as his wound on Parnassus, or his feigned madness at the mustering of the host--incidents between which there was no necessary or probable connection: but he made the Odyssey, and likewise the Iliad, to centre round an action that in our sense of the word is one.
You had better see him, for his madness is amusing.
The horse is hot and distressed, but answers to the desperate spurring; the rider looks as if his eyes were glazed by madness, and he saw nothing but what was unseen by others.