The Joker Peeta Mellark (at the end of Mockingjay) Hannibal Lecter There are many emotional, psychological, mental, and physical disorders that can turn "good" people to "bad". Physical disabilities could either be the result of the villainy (think Darth Vader) or the cause of it due to resentment over mistreatment by a cruel society. Emotional, psychological, and mental disorders could push “normal” people over the edge, or could make them more likely to turn violent in the wrong situation.
The Disturbed: OriginsPsychopaths, sociopaths, narcissists, and many other characters with a broad range of disorders have been portrayed in fiction and mythology since the beginning of time:
- Circe poisoned the sea as revenge for the fact that Glaucus was in love with Scylla, thus turning Scylla into a six-headed monster.
- Tantalus stole from the gods, stole Zeus’ favorite dog, then roasted his son alive and fed the parts to the gods.
- Narcissus, the god for whom “narcissism” was named, was so vain and self-obsessed he fell in love with his own reflection and starved to death because he couldn’t pull himself away from his pool.
- are not receiving effective treatment
- have a previous history of violence
- misuse alcohol or drugs.
- being male
- being a young adult
- having had a troubled childhood
- having problems with drug and especially alcohol abuse.
- A family history of violence
- Genetics (“Violence is likely a polygenetic phenomenon, with many genes acting in a coordinated fashion to produce an aggressive phenotype.”)
- A family history of antisocial personality disorder
- A family history positive for homicidal ideation and attempts
- Disturbed homes
- A low concentration of 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA), a metabolite of serotonin
- Drugs that increase norepinephrine activity in the central nervous system (CNS)
In StoriesIn the cases where people with mental illnesses turn violent, the violence can often be more extreme than “neurotypical” people unafflicted by these disorders:
- The Joker of DC Comics is a psychopath and sadist, who uses his chemical engineering expertise to craft vicious, deadly gags to match his warped sense of humor.
- Harley Quinn of DC Comics comes from a broken and dysfunctional home, and portrays symptoms of histrionic personality disorder. Her infatuation with the Joker ultimately causes her to give in and become a villain alongside him, as a result of his abusive and manipulative relationship.
- Hannibal Lecter doesn’t fit any one psychological profile, so the psychiatrists call him a “sociopath” because they don’t know what else to call him. He exhibits some psychopathic and sociopathic tendencies, and is a cannibalistic serial killer.