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]
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