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Define madness - January 16th 2010, 01:55 PM

I'm currently in the infancy stages of writing a 3000 word comparative essay on the subject of Madness. Condensing the essay question from the 'issue of madness' to how society defines it.

I really need a literary definition of madness as a starting point to either agree or disagree with. I don't particularly want to go down the psychology route of 'atypical behaviour' or whatnot, as will probably add that in as a bit of a side note later.

So my question for you TeenHelp intellectuals; does anyone know a famous quote that defines madness?
As many suggestions as possible!!

Tah in advance
Louise
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Re: Define madness - January 17th 2010, 12:49 AM

AQA English lit A2?

I'm doing the same bloody essay (possibly)


oh and I like this quote...

'In every generation, there are quite firm rules on how to behave when you are crazy.'

philosopher Ian Hacking

I don't think it's quite what you're looking for though.
   
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Re: Define madness - January 17th 2010, 03:53 AM

“What is madness? To have erroneous perceptions and to reason correctly from them”. - Voltaire

"There's method in his madness." - Shakespeare

When I read both of these quotes, "politicians" came to mind. =P Don't know if it's what you're looking for, but both Voltaire's and Shakespeare's works are fun to analyze... especially if you're writing a 3000 word essay, and can't figure out how you're going to fill up all that space on paper. =/






   
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Re: Define madness - January 17th 2010, 04:19 AM

"And what is an authentic madman? It is a man who preferred to become mad, in the socially accepted sense of the word, rather than forfeit a certain superior idea of human honor. So society has strangled in its asylums all those it wanted to get rid of or protect itself from, because they refused to become its accomplices in certain great nastinesses. For a madman is also a man whom society did not want to hear and whom it wanted to prevent from uttering certain intolerable truths."
~Antonin Artaud

"I guess the definition of a lunatic is a man surrounded by them."
~Ezra Pound

“Madness is to think of too many things in succession too fast, or of one thing too exclusively”
~Voltaire
   
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Re: Define madness - January 17th 2010, 02:39 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by PSY View Post
“What is madness? To have erroneous perceptions and to reason correctly from them”. - Voltaire



"There's method in his madness." - Shakespeare

When I read both of these quotes, "politicians" came to mind. =P Don't know if it's what you're looking for, but both Voltaire's and Shakespeare's works are fun to analyze... especially if you're writing a 3000 word essay, and can't figure out how you're going to fill up all that space on paper. =/
I don't think you can really use the Shakespeare quote, it's from Hamlet, referring to when Hamlet is pretending to be mad and under "an antic disposition", so I wouldn't have thought it applies.
   
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Re: Define madness - January 20th 2010, 08:47 PM

They are all very helpful, thankyou
It'd probably be an idea to focus on philosophers and politicians, the later especially in the sense of 'society'.

3000 words will not be difficult, i always seem to manage to go over the word limits for essays (which is so not a good thing!).
And the Hamlet quote is useful, although not in a general definition of madness seeing as i'm comparing Hamlet with Catcher in the Rye and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest!

Rachel - yupyup AQA A2 English Lit, you most probably are doing the same essay :P
It's the love or madness choice coursework.


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Re: Define madness - January 20th 2010, 10:17 PM

Ah this essay is driving me crazy. I swear I'm on my 5th draft or something similar and my teacher is still scribbing all over it. Comment on the latest one I got back today - "your paragraphs are a bit bizarre, Rachel" ... Eh

Remember not to focus too much on context as it's only worth something tiny amount of the marks like 2%.

I'm comparing presentation of psychological or mental health problems in the women in Hamlet, The Yellow Wall-Paper and A Streetcar Named Desire. You actually gave me an idea for the introduction with this thread so thank you Seems bizarre really but I always write the introduction last!

but actually lots of people in my class are doing the same books/theme as you

we're doing love for the exam and madness for coursework. Fun times!
   
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