Mental Illness as a Factor in the Creation of the Contemporary Romantic

Dominika Szymańska


The paper discusses the image of a mad person in the movie Donnie Darko by Richard Kelly. I want to examine the deranged protagonist as a contemporary Romantic by comparing Donnie Darko’s features and his approach to society with concepts espoused by Romanticism. The focus is on schizophrenia as a condition that influences Donnie’s perception, providing typical symptoms displayed by the protagonist (thought disturbance, various types of delusion or hallucination, acts of antisocial behaviour) as well as problems in information processing. I argue that it is Donnie’s condition that makes him a contemporary Romantic – he sees more, feels more and, in the end, he trusts intuition and emotions rather than rational explanation. The eponymous character is a young, alienated idealist who believes that the world can be changed. Donnie refuses to accept social norms or rules as an exceptional and rebellious outsider in search of the meaning of life. Eventually, the Romantic fascination with freedom and nature corresponds to the perception of the illness as liberation of one’s true nature.


romanticism, schizophrenia, stream of consciousness, mental disorders, nonconformism

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Data publikacji: 2017-03-07 11:52:21
Data złożenia artykułu: 2017-03-07 11:35:14


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