The Psychology Within Alice In Wonderland

The Psychology Within Alice In Wonderland

Can you guess which mental disorders each character of Alice in Wonderland has?
22607
views

In light of the sequel, "Alice Through the Looking Glass," recently debuting, I decided to re-watch the 2010 prequel "Alice in Wonderland" when I noticed something I hadn’t before. Maybe some of you have picked up on it as well while others may think my thoughts are unfounded. However you may perceive it, I feel there’s something truly beautiful about the movie that I felt compelled to share.

The beauty I see in this movie is stems from director Tim Burton, his writers', as well as the producers’ ability to inadvertently shed light on multiple mental disorders, alluding them throughout the movie via main characters. Don’t believe me? Maybe dialogue that is used several times throughout the movie can attest to my theory:

“Have I gone mad?”

“I’m afraid so. You’re entirely bonkers.

But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people are.”

However nowhere is it said that these were their intentions. My dissecting and diagnosing of fictional characters is not intended to offend anyone with said disorder. It is merely a theory that I believe those responsible for this movie have indirectly beautified mental illnesses and portrayed them in such lovely ways that the naked eye does not notice right away. It’s all truly beautiful once you view it in the same positive and analytical perspective I’ve stumbled upon.

Alice: Schizophrenia, Nightmare Disorder (Dream Anxiety Disorder), Psychosis

Alice is arguably in my opinion one of the most interesting characters portrayed. Rather than the confused child that wanders through a new, slightly mad unexplainable world in the 1951 cartoon film, Alice is described early on in the movie to stress concern over a reoccurring dream she had been having since she was young: a dream of her falling down the rabbit hole into a backwards, wonder of a world that she believed only existed in her imagination. This is an example of nightmare disorder, otherwise known as dream anxiety disorder.

Individuals suffering from DAD will have reoccurring nightmares or night terrors, portraying themselves in a situation that jeopardizes their life or personal safety, and usually occurs during the REM stages of sleep.

Animals that speak, a cat that smiles and evaporates into thin air, a hookah-smoking caterpillar, cake that makes you grow and a drink that can make you shrink; examples of Alice’s dreams until one day when she could not “wake herself up” and realizes it was more than a dream, and that these creatures were real. This is a sign of schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia is defined as abnormal social behavior and failure to understand reality. Common symptoms include false beliefs, unclear or confused thinking, and hearing voices, all of which Alice exudes. Lack of social engagement is also a symptom, which can explain the inability for Alice to converse with her mother, Hamish, Hamish’s mother, etc. in the beginning of the movie. She is constantly misunderstood and chastised for her odd comments and thoughts. It is also common for individuals afflicted with schizophrenia to experience hallucinations and delusions, for example, believing you are living in a backwards world such as Wonderland. Overall, Alice exudes the symptoms of psychosis, which is caused by schizophrenia. Psychosis can be defined as an abnormality of the mind, which causes a “loss of reality.”

Mad Hatter: Bipolar disorder, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

In my opinion, Johnny Depp’s portrayal of the Mad Hatter in this film was multidimensional and layered with expression in comparison to other depictions. Mad Hatter explains halfway through the film that the Red Queen attacked his village area during a party gathering and set fire to the houses and took over as a vicious leader from that day on. This sparks his angry flashbacks when Alice often urges him to snap out of the reoccurring haunting visions. In these instances, you can associate these flashbacks with PTSD.

Individuals with PTSD have overcome a traumatic occurrence, such as a victim of war or rape. PTSD is basically a neurological reminder in the brain, giving the individual reoccurring nightmares (or even throughout their day) of the same or similar instances, random bursts of anger, heart palpitations, etc.

The Mad Hatter is depicted in this version of Alice in Wonderland with bipolar disorder tendencies. The Hatter is often gloomy and depressed over the way “Underland” is due to the Red Queen’s reign. In some occasions, however, the Hatter seems to be going through manic episodes, both happy and blabbering, jumping from topic to topic talking a mile a minute. This is where the Hatter displays symptoms of bipolar disorder, also defined as a manic depressive disorder. Mixed episodes often occur for someone diagnosed with bipolar disorder resulting in mood swings and difficulties with impulse control, which can explain the Hatter’s bursts of anger and confusion.

Absolem the caterpillar: Possible Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD), Grandiose delusions

I use the word “possible” in analyzing Absolem because of the notorious argument that Alice in Wonderland is about drug usage. In every version of Alice in Wonderland that I can recall, the caterpillar is always smoking. There have been arguments as to what exactly he is smoking. Some believe it to be cannabis, although deemed unpopular of the time period when Lewis Carroll wrote these pieces, or opium due to Carroll’s own rumored personal usage of the drug. If, in fact, the caterpillar is smoking something a little too strong, one could argue that he could be suffering from HPPD, considering his constant questioning of what is currently happening. HPPD is unlikely but not impossible, yet grandiose delusions fits best for the witty caterpillar.

GD is a good fit due to Absolem’s belief that he is a prophet of Wonderland, and the fact that he solely speaks in riddles. Alice can never quite make out what he says, or rather, what he means. A common symptom of GD is the belief of omnipotence and egoism: an exaggerated belief of self-worth, something the caterpillar definitely exudes.


The Red Queen: Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), Paranoid Personality Disorder (PPD)

Although technically we are not rooting for the Red Queen throughout the movie, she is definitely one of the most comedic, interesting love-to-hate character. Angry that she was not the favored daughter by her parents due to her quick ill temper and obscenely massive head, the Red Queen takes over “Wonderland” and turns it upside down into a depressing world, dubbed “Underland” in which all characters are miserable due to her cruelty.

The queen’s “large head” ties in with NPD. Often times if one is considered self-absorbed, they are said to have a “big head”. The definition of NPD is a personality disorder characterized by “exaggerated feelings of self-importance, an excessive need for admiration, and a lack of empathy for others”. Often times this disorder is associated with both arrogance and egotism, but also jealousy. The Red Queen constantly wonders why the people of Wonderland choose to adore the White Queen, her sister, over her, much like her parents did years ago. Nevertheless, the Red Queen thinks very highly of herself, pampering herself with all the very best and nothing less.

PPD also comes into play with the Red Queen as evident by her everlasting paranoia and suspicion that someone is out to get her. “Off with their head” is the most common phrase used by the queen in this movie, threatening to persecute anyone who defies her, even in small instances, such as the frog servant who stole a piece of food when starved. The queen has a “generalized mistrust” for others, convinced someone in her radius will defy her in someway.

The White Queen: Perfectionism

There’s no doubt that the White Queen is everyone’s favorite of the queens, due to her daintiness and tranquility within her reign prior to her evil sister taking over Wonderland. The queen, however, seems to be suffering from Perfectionism. The White Queen cannot participate in the Frapjous’ Day due to her vow of never harming a creature, however, it is mentioned that she has the desire to on multiple occasion. She also grows tired of being dainty and tranquil, and actually breaks “character”, when the hound reaches her castle to give her news of the Red Queen. It can be argued that the White Queen has a diagnosis of Perfectionism.

Perfectionism is defined as a disorder in which the person's “striving for flawlessness and setting excessively high performance standards, accompanied by overly critical self-evaluations and concerns regarding others' evaluations”. This is consistent with the White Queen’s dedication to being the queen everyone in Wonderland desires; in their eyes she must be the complete opposite of her evil sister.


The White Rabbit: Generalized Anxiety Disorder

The White Rabbit is one of the most iconic characters and is affiliated with Alice in Wonderland, in each depiction. Hopping speedily away, he is first introduced to Alice before she falls down the hole into Wonderland. Carrying his clock, pointing hastily with worry in his eyes, the white rabbit draws Alice in because he believes she is the one to defeat the Red Queen.

A lot of people suffer with anxiety, so this “diagnosis” could be considered easy to detect. GAD can cause twitching, restlessness, insomnia, and agitation to name just few of the many symptoms, all of which the white rabbit exude. Nervous that he has brought the wrong Alice to Wonderland and that the Red Queen will prevail, the white rabbit is especially anxious.


The March Hare: Tourette’s Disorder, Tic Disorder

The March Hare, although quite creepy at first glimpse, is actually one of the most popular characters for younger kids who have seen this film; his gibberish language and sudden movements register in children’s mind as playful.

The March Hare, however, seems to be suffering with Tourette’s disorder or tic disorder. Both Tourette’s and tic disorder are disorders that cause the afflicted to have severe “tics” or involuntary movements and/or Coprolalia (sudden blurting of words). This is why the Hare constantly throws utensils at the tea party and blurts nonsense.


Tweedledee and Tweedledum: Shared Psychotic Disorder, ADD

The twins Tweedledee and Tweedledum share sentences, movements, and even thoughts. Constantly finishing each other’s sentences, you’d believe it is a sort of “twin telepathy”. However, this can be explained by shared psychotic disorder, or folie à deux, translated from French as “madness of two”. SPD is defined as “a psychiatric syndrome in which symptoms of a delusional belief and hallucinations are transmitted from one individual to another”.

It can also be argued that the twins suffer from ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Considering they can never have a thought to themselves, and often find it hard to concentrate on one thought, ADHD suits them. They jump from thought to thought and find it hard to focus, which is a common occurrence from those diagnosed with ADHD. They fidget and squirm and sometimes blurt out inappropriate comments, which is what Alice was trying to avoid when they noticed her in the Red Queen’s castle posing as Um from Umbridge.


The Dormouse: Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED)

This little character you can’t help but adore with her outrageous spunkiness and more-than-often short temper. On multiple occasions, Mallymkun draws her sword angrily at Alice and other characters whenever confronted. For instance, when Alice asks for the Bandersnatch’s eye back to help retrieve the Vorpal Sword, instead of complying, Mallymkun draws her sword and shouts.

Everyone gets angry, however being angry does not mean you have IED. IED, or Intermittent Explosive Disorder, is a behavioral disorder in which the individual experience explosive fits of rage, anger, and violence for unidentified reasons, sometimes for no reason at all. Hard to diagnose, IED can be confused with other mood disorders, such as bipolar disorder, or just regular everyday anger.

Again, I am no doctor. I am not qualified to diagnose anyone with mental disorders, and I cannot suggest that this somewhat of a conspiracy theory is actually real. These observations are simply my analytical dissection of a movie I deem beautiful. In my eyes, it is an ode to mental and behavioral illnesses, depicting them with a certain loveliness. The mind is beautiful, no matter what complications.





Cover Image Credit: thebarnumeffect.blogspot.com

Popular Right Now

What Your Hogwarts House Says About You

Get yourself sorted and find out where you belong in the world of witchcraft and wizardry.
378939
views

Sorting at Hogwarts is a big deal. Being sorted into a house is essentially being placed into a family while you are away from home learning about witchcraft and wizardry. Your house is made up of the people you will live with, go to classes with, play Quidditch with and everything in between. You basically spend 24/7 with them. Your Hogwarts house is your home away from home.

When you get sorted into a house, it is based on your personality traits. The people in your house are typically like-minded people who display the same characteristics as you.

When you’re a first year at Hogwarts, the minute you set foot in the castle you are swept into the Great Hall to have the ancient Sorting Hat placed on your head. This Sorting Hat decides which “family” you’ll be spending your seven years with.

For some, it is very obvious which house they will be in, due to certain personality traits they possess. For others, they may exemplify traits that fit a multitude of houses and are uncertain where they may end up.

To find out where you belong, you can take the official "Harry Potter" Sorting Hat quiz at Pottermore.com. For all you muggles out there, these are the characteristics that the houses possess and what your house says about you:

Gryffindor: The house of the brave, loyal, courageous, adventurous, daring and chivalrous. Those who stand up for others are typically Gryffindors. Brave-hearted is the most well-known Gryffindor characteristic, and Gryffindors are also known for having a lot of nerve.

Gryffindors are people who hold a multitude of qualities alongside the ones listed, making them a very well-rounded house. People who are Gryffindors are often people who could fit nicely into another house but choose to tell the sorting hat they want Gryffindor (there's that bravery). "Do what is right" is the motto Gryffindors go by.

Being a Gryffindor means that you're probably the adventurous and courageous friend, and you are usually known for doing what is right.

Ravenclaw: The house is known for their wisdom, intelligence, creativity, cleverness and knowledge. Those who value brains over brawn can be found here. Ravenclaws often tend to be quite quirky as well. "Do what is wise" is the motto they strive to follow.

Though Ravenclaws can be know-it-alls sometimes, they most likely do know what the wisest decision is.

If you are known for being the quirky friend, the smartest in the group or just great at making wise decisions, you're definitely a Ravenclaw.

Hufflepuff: This house values hard work, dedication, fair play, patience, and loyalty. Hufflepuff’s are known for being just and true. "Do what is nice" is their motto.

Hufflepuff is known as the “nice house” and believes strongly in sparing peoples feelings and being kind. This is not to say that Hufflepuffs aren't smart or courageous. Hufflepuffs just enjoy making others happy and tend to be more patient towards people.

If you ever find that you are too nice for your own good and cannot bear to hurt someone’s feelings, congratulations, you are a Hufflepuff.

Slytherin: This is the house of the cunning, prideful, resourceful, ambitious, intelligent, and determined. Slytherin's love to be in charge and crave leadership. "Do what is necessary" is the motto of this house.

Slytherin is a fairly well-rounded house, similar to the other houses. They are loyal to those that are loyal to them just as Gryffindors are and are intelligent as Ravenclaws.

Slytherin house as a whole is not evil, despite how many dark wizards come out of this house. That is merely based on the choices of those wizards (so if your friend is a Slytherin, don’t judge, it doesn’t mean they are mean people). Slytherins do, however, have a tendency to be arrogant or prideful. This is most likely due to the fact that everyone in Slytherin is exceedingly proud to be there.

What Hogwarts house you’re in says a lot about the person you are, the traits you possess and how you may act in some situations. But in the end, your house is really just your home that is always there for you. Always.


Cover Image Credit: Warner Bros Pictures

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Picking Passion Over Pressure Is The Answer To A Fulfillng Life

Don't crack under pressure, flourish with passion.

67
views

What motivates your actions? The answer to this critical question can determine whether or not you are living a fulfilling life. Many of us follow a social script as if we are reading lines from a play. We succumb to the influence of those around us and roam aimlessly in the direction of the masses.

The concept of living within the confinement of certain "norms" is an expectation society calls us to uphold, and it is not an entirely negative idea. But when life becomes "a series of motions to go through", this expectation can become problematic. When you find yourself stressed out about doing whatever it is you think that you have to do, stop and ask yourself if it makes you truly happy. Are you pursuing your passion or are you just performing under pressure? To find true contentment in your life, pick passion over pressure.

Be an individual before an identity.

When people first introduce themselves to a new friend or group of people, they are quick to jump to aspects of their life that compose their identity. Many of us define ourselves by what it is we do, and not necessarily who we actually are. For example, this can include identifying as a member of a club or sports team or even defining yourself based on accolades and accomplishments you have achieved. While these are definitely adequate ways to distinguish yourself from others, have you ever stopped to look beneath the surface? It is important to know what unique qualities make you an individual and not just a part of a larger entity.

By viewing yourself as an individual, you will find your passions in life more easily and find genuine enjoyment in all that you do. Taking on an identity will only hold you under unnecessary pressure to fulfill a role that could leave you feeling unsatisfied later on.

Become self-aware.

To find out what makes you truly happy, you need to establish a clear sense of who you are. Fostering self-awareness is a journey, and it can be discovered through life experiences. In order to figure out what you love doing, push yourself out of your comfort zone to figure out what you don't love doing. This can mean joining a new club, taking a challenging class, or working in an environment that you are unfamiliar with. Once you begin to discover how you react in certain situations, use these personality traits to your advantage.

Don't make the same mistake twice, and avoid taking on a position that you know would not be compatible with your lifestyle. By becoming self-aware, you will discover your passion more easily and will be able to take on realistic opportunities that will prove to be fulfilling. When you try to become someone you are not, it will seem like there is always a lingering pressure to "keep up the act", and it will be harder to accomplish tasks because you don't truly enjoy doing them.

View outside opinions with a filtered lens.

Don't let others dictate your future. When you make life decisions based on what other people think is best for you, you will be pleasing everyone except yourself. Consciously decide whose opinions are valid, meaningful, and constructive to your life. This can include the wisdom of close friends and relatives, professors, or a boss that has known you for years. By finding out who knows you best and who truly desires the best for your life, you can tune out the background noise and hone in on the few voices that actually do matter.

Place value in what these people have to say, and take the words of others with a grain of salt. Avoid letting irrelevant or negative opinions linger in your mind. If you allow the influence of others to infiltrate your decision making, you will find yourself in many regrettable situations and unsatisfied with the outcome of your choices. By subscribing to the helpful advice shared by those closest to you, you can foster your true passion.

Practice positive thinking. 

You can't find out what makes you happy in life without actually experiencing what happiness is. To discover your passion, adopt a positive mindset. Get out of the habit of mentally putting yourself down, and take the word "can't" out of your thought process. The more mental blocks you put on yourself, the less likely you are to have good experiences. Release your inhibitions and train your brain seek positivity in any situation.

Don't allow minor inconveniences to disturb you, and remind yourself of the saying that "it is only a bad day, not a bad life." In doing so, the positive choices you make will lead you in the direction of your passion so that you can live a fulfilling life.

Be open to new ideas. 

Keeping an open mind will allow you to experience life from a new perspective. Even when something seems foreboding, treat it as a lesson. If you cannot think of a positive quality for the situation you find yourself in, then don't assign your circumstances any qualities at all. If you keep a neutral mindset, you will eliminate the possibility for disappointment. This will encourage learning and growth, which are essential in your journey to finding your true passion.

Being open to new ideas will help you avoid sticking to the status quo. By taking part in something you have never done before, you are less likely to find yourself confined by what others expect you to do.

Related Content

Facebook Comments