The Talented Mr. Ripley

The Uncanny and Diagnosis of Mr. Ripley: A Freudian Approach College

Patricia Highsmith, the author of The Talented Mr. Ripley, portrays a protagonist on the precipice of insanity. Mr. Ripley shows many qualities of a person with borderline personality disorder, or more commonly called: a psychopath. A book titled, The Mask of Sanity by Hervey Cleckley, addresses multiple symptoms of borderline personality disorder, many of which can be seen in the character of Tom Ripley. These symptoms can help explain why Tom Ripley is so convincing and such a believable character in the novel. Along with the diagnostic facets in this story, one can witness elements of the uncanny in this thriller. Using Sigmund Freud’s article, “The Uncanny”, one can also see how Highsmith uses some key concepts of Freud’s article to create a sense of uncanniness. In order to better understand the state of Ripley’s mind, one must know the symptoms and behavior traits of a person with borderline personality disorder. The long list includes many deceptive qualities such as superficial charm, intelligence, unreliability, untruthfulness, lack of shame, egocentricity, failure to follow any life plan, etc. These general characteristics, taken from a multitude of different patient cases by Cleckley, provides the reader with the...

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