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death_note

sociopathic

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Feb. 25th, 2005 | 04:37 pm
mood: thoughtfulthoughtful
posted by: vikki in death_note

Sociopath Raito (link by subdivided)

While it bugs me when people declare they have certain syndromes without actual clinical evaluation (and sometimes even without it), I personally believe myself to be somewhat sociopathic ... one of the harder-to-recognize mental diseases in our world. And I think it'd be safe to say that Raito/Light is truly sociopathic.

The wonderful thing about sociopaths is that they appear to interact with the world in a completely normal way ... but their thought processes are foreign and frightening.

pretty much spoiler-free - nothing after chapter 40 for certain. Sorry if this information is ridiculously old - it was just on my mind.



superficial charm
Raito can use his words to devastating effect. Ridiculously persuasive, he finds it remarkably easy to convince people to see thing his way, do what he wants them to do, and gain their trust. People believe of Raito only what he wants them to believe. His natural and apparently easy way with people makes people fall neatly into his patterns of thought.

manipulative and conning
Along the same lines as charm, Raito can manipulate people into situations and force them to do things as he wishes using his superior planning abilities and conning skills. In Raito's mind, people are little more than pawns that he is destined to rule.

grandiose sense of self
Raito fully intends to rule the world, and really believes he is best qualified to do so. Need I say more?

pathological lying
Raito never compulsively lies as some sociopaths do, but he does lie constantly and easily with a perfectly straight face. Lies don't bother him; they are just as valid as the truth in his mind.

lack of remorse, shame, guilt
Despite the fact that Raito is killing at will and manipulating those around him to kill, Raito never feels a twinge of guilt himself. After he recovered himself from the first few deaths he caused, he went on to be a ruthless, impulsive killer. He coldly plans murders and executes them.

shallow emotions
Raito doesn't seem to feel any of the emotions he exercises very deeply; most of his outer emotions are contrived or performed to evoke certain reactions. Inwardly, the only emotions he seems to feel with any depth are contempt for L and a conviction that he himself can do no wrong.

incapacity for love
Raito holds no one in high regard except himself, and he obviously doesn't care enough about his family to be concerned what would happen if, say, someone found his hidden Death Note and the house burned down as a result. The convincing statements he makes about killing Kira himself if something happens to his father are hard to read; is he just lying, or does he really care that much about his father that he would kill himself?

need for stimulation
Initiating arguments; sparring with L; Raito keeps himself entertained in many ways. Although he seeks to kill L, he seems to enjoy keeping one step ahead of the investigator always. He lives as close to the edge as he possibly can.

lack of empathy
Raito does not sympathize; he merely uses. The emotions of those around him are tools to be used and played with. He uses the fear he creates in the poplace to control them, and he looks forward to using that fear to rule them.

lack of realistic life plan
Raito's life plans are to rule the world. Any questions?

criminal versatility
Raito murders people for a hobby. He also chooses to lose his memory in order to prevent himself from getting caught at his crimes. He has an easy time manuvering around people while hiding his true nature.

sociopathic tendencies not shown:
impulsiveness
promiscuous sex life
juvenile delinquency
irresponsibility


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Comments {26}

Elihice

(no subject)

from: elihice
date: Feb. 25th, 2005 09:46 pm (UTC)
Link

impulsiveness

Not even killing the TV "L" at the beginning?

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Cadet

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from: cadet
date: Feb. 25th, 2005 09:57 pm (UTC)
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While what you bring up is interesting, I think it's a bit silly to analyze Raito or L or anyone in Death Note with these sorts of conditions.

Raito becomes corrupted by Death Note. Same way Frodo becomes corrupted by The Ring or any other sort of character. It shows him as a normal, over achieving student, but then he gets Death Note, realizes what it does, and starts to over analyze it and what he should do with it. It's a matter of human nature, in my opinion. People will either use something that is powerful for 'good' or use it for personal gain/ 'evil.' And most of the time, when people use something powerful for "good" it ends up evil anyhow (ex: fighting for peace type situations).

So I think, if anything, he might become a sociopath after Death Note corrupts him, but I don't think he had it before. It's really not "our" world that this story takes place in, I mean, there are shinigami runnin' around and all, it's a bit "magical." Overall, I think the most he probably suffers from is a bit of narcissism, but who can blame him? ;P

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Haiiro -灰色-

(no subject)

from: haiiro
date: Feb. 25th, 2005 10:15 pm (UTC)
Link

There is how the story itself started though...he already was saying that "This world is rotten" prior to actually finding the Death Note, which suggests that he at least had a little bit of that nature in him.
As many were saying on the other post regarding what Raito is really like, the Death Note perhaps didn't "corrupt" him, but rather amplfied his already exsisting distaste for the world around him.

But then again, he did freak out after the first time, quickly getting over it to nonchanlantly kill off more people. Then again, he seems even different from the self we saw at the very begining (right before his acquisition of the note)...so I don't know.

/I don't really know what I'm talking about x_x

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Cadet

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from: cadet
date: Feb. 25th, 2005 11:16 pm (UTC)
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Well, what I mean about corruption is like... taking a feeling and amplifying it. Like, I personally believe the world is pretty rotten lately too :P I wouldn't act on it... but hey, maybe if I had Death Note... chances are I probably would do something like Raito :X But I don't consider myself sociopathic... maybe I'm a bit blunt/cold at times but... I don't know if I'd go that far? Well, at least I'd consider it seriously.... but that's where I think Death Note kicks in... it sorta tempts you. Like a drug maybe? I mean, you got this power in your hands.... it's a shame NOT to use it. And when you feel like what you're doing is to benefit humanity... why the heck not? And that's what Raito starts out doing.. but then it becomes more and more sinister and he starts to work more from protecting himself instead of making his perfect society as he started out doing.

As for his nonchalantly killing people.... well, it's not like he's really standing there with a knife at someone's throat... I think it would be a LOT easier to kill people if you're, say, sitting at your desk, typing on a computer and pressing the button to let 500 bombs drop somewhere across the world, instead of taking a knife, wrestling someone down and slitin' their throat. It's so detached, it's probably easy to get caught up and not dwell on emotions. And then comes in Raye Penbar(or however his name is spelt) and that's really the first time he has to kill someone in front of him... and its hard for him.. but he does it and opens a new, sort of, door of evil. and that's where he crosses the threshold into 'evil raito.'

/hey, same here? lol

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kreugan

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from: kreugan
date: Feb. 25th, 2005 11:44 pm (UTC)
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LOL this sounds oddly like my Shakespeare class...

Am I making things up, or was there a post waaaay back when comparing Raito to MacBeth?

It would be interesting to see how many people consider Raito a hero or a villain. I mean, if you define him TRAGIC hero, there could be something there. Sorry if this is incredibly OT in terms of the original post -- I'm mostly winging it off of your discussion of whether the seeds of sociopathic-ness (?) were already there or if the DN was to blame for everything.

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Corina B.

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from: neko_no_baka
date: Feb. 26th, 2005 12:00 am (UTC)
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Am I making things up, or was there a post waaaay back when comparing Raito to MacBeth?



Now I see Misa saying "Out Damn spot!"

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kreugan

(no subject)

from: kreugan
date: Feb. 26th, 2005 12:19 am (UTC)
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Haha I could so see that. This needs to be an AU fic!

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please just take these photos from my hands

(no subject)

from: fiendery
date: Feb. 26th, 2005 04:52 am (UTC)
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[passerby icon-love]

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Haiiro -灰色-

(no subject)

from: haiiro
date: Feb. 26th, 2005 12:12 am (UTC)
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Your idea of "corruption" then was what I was thinking. I apologize for mistaking that.
.... but that's where I think Death Note kicks in... it sorta tempts you. Like a drug maybe? I mean, you got this power in your hands.... it's a shame NOT to use it. And when you feel like what you're doing is to benefit humanity... why the heck not? And that's what Raito starts out doing.. but then it becomes more and more sinister and he starts to work more from protecting himself instead of making his perfect society as he started out doing.

Okay, I get it now. Heh. It's one of those things where you end up trying to do "good", yet it soon turns to "harm", yes? Or the original desire becomes tainted with the power you use to achieve that?

What you say regarding the nonchalantly killing people commentI made is right, and I suppsoe I should have thought more on that before saying it. Though, that's not entirely what I meant to suggest. I suppose it would be easier to not really care if it was truly possible to kill so detatched like that. Then again, some people out there might not feel comfortable about it, as Raito wasn't completely in the begining, until, as you mentioned, the incident with Raye Penbar. Though, the fact that the "door to new evil" you speak of was opened at that point, his first time of killing someone that he would actually see in real life, and it didn't disturb him, speaks of the taint we are both in agreement of the Death Note possibly enhancing in him after that point, could speak of some latent sociopath-ness? Or maybe it was just the Death Note, as he did become an entirely different person after loosing his memories.

(this makes no sense, I swear. It's so much babbling...forgive me)

Though, we can all agree that "evil Raito"--especially in his second coming so to say--is most certainly a sociopath, or at least close to it, even if he wasn't piror to being brought out in "normal Raito", right?
(even though we are discussing the mentality of a fictional person here...heh.)

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pretty much the nostalgia chick

(no subject)

from: vikki
date: Feb. 26th, 2005 12:41 am (UTC)
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I wouldn't act on it... but hey, maybe if I had Death Note... chances are I probably would do something like Raito :X But I don't consider myself sociopathic...

It's not the actual killing I'm talking about, though. You can be a sociopath without being a killer, and you can be a killer without being sociopathic. It's the mannerisms and mental processes that surround his killing that makes me wonder about whether or not Raito is sociopathic.

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subdee

reposted; bad html

from: sub_divided
date: Feb. 25th, 2005 09:57 pm (UTC)
Link

promiscuous sex life

Don't know about the "sex" part, but Light goes out a number of girls, and has no real attachment to any of them. Misa mentions Kiyomi, Yuri, and Mayu; there's also "Ms. Toudai" and the amusement park girl. L and chief Yagami both assume that Light is sleeping with Misa.

Also worth noting are some of the secondary characteristics on that page:

-Contemptuous of those who seek to understand them
-Does not perceive that anything is wrong with them
-Secretive
-Paranoid
-Only rarely in difficulty with the law, but seeks out situations where their tyrannical behavior will be tolerated, condoned, or admired
-Conventional appearance
-Has an emotional need to justify their crimes
-Incapable of real human attachment to another
-Unable to feel remorse or guilt
-Extreme narcissism and grandiose
-May state readily that their goal is to rule the world

I believe these speak for themselves-especially that last one. The first time I brought this up--before Light lost his memories--his sociopathic tendencies were somewhat up in the air. But they're pretty damn clear by now, I think.

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ellie

(no subject)

from: shuuku
date: Feb. 25th, 2005 10:52 pm (UTC)
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I was just thinking about writting something a lot like this..yours is better though. :'D

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(no subject)

from: deathlike
date: Feb. 25th, 2005 10:53 pm (UTC)
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There's always a good villian around the corner... (walks off merrily)

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Ansem, seeker of the cock

(no subject)

from: powercorrupts
date: Feb. 25th, 2005 11:05 pm (UTC)
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Well, I do adore those sociopath boys so...

As far as the whole "antisocial personality dissorder" bit goes, one thing to keep in mind, especially with personality dissorders, which are classified as not being primarily biologically controlled/caused/influenced/yougetthepicture, they're somewhat... malleable in level. Most people have some degree of it to them, just like most people are somewhat reactive-attachement, somewhat ocd-personality (this is different than the actual dissorder), somewhat hystrionic, etc. So yeah, lots of people might display behaviours that at times look quite like antisocial personality dissorder, but unless you've got it at an extreme level (typically, those who display it's traits are not referred to as sociopaths unless they have it in an extreme extent), it's probably not gonna interfere with who you are /too/ much.

As far as Raito being a sociopath? Hell yes. xD If I were to make a list of fictional characters I felt displayed the traits of a sociopath, he'd be right up there in the top five. (Let's see, Erik of PotO, Sephiroth of FFVII, Muraki of YnM... xDD Who else? Methinks I like the sociopaths a little /too/ much.)

Juvenile delinquency? But oh, so killing people before college doesn't count on that charge? Poor Raito, can't get any breaks. >=D

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EnohIO

(no subject)

from: enigma_o
date: Feb. 25th, 2005 11:55 pm (UTC)
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Hmm, actually seeing as how a similar discussion for L popped up recently, I wonder if the writer did intend this. I mean, he/she/they have access to the internet and libraries so I wouldn't be surprised if they had done some research. After all, writing death note must require quiet a bit of thought and planning any way, so why not do the research for the characters and make it more realistic.

Though whether Light is fully sociopathic or just had tendencies that got amplified by possessing the death note I don't know.

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Corina B.

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from: neko_no_baka
date: Feb. 26th, 2005 12:04 am (UTC)
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I think that the writer has done research, very likely. You can't write about things that you don't know, not this well!

but makes you wonder whether any of them (writers) are watching us fans....

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Haiiro -灰色-

(no subject)

from: haiiro
date: Feb. 26th, 2005 12:15 am (UTC)
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And if they are, they're most likely laughing at us for trying to make sense out of it....

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sodapoplah

(no subject)

from: sodapoplah
date: Feb. 26th, 2005 12:44 am (UTC)
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if raito IS a sociopath, i'm all for it, baby.

i <3 sociopaths! (man, that should be on a button or something.) dilandou from escaflowne, a lot of characters from bleach, sephiroth from ffvii... they are all wonderful and delightfully psychotic. so maybe i don't really like sociopaths; just crazy pyro people that're completely nutters.

i wonder sometimes about raito's feelings for his family; a family is usually the most important thing in the world to a normal person - especially a good, loving family, which describes the yagami family from what we've seen. raito has to be pretty damn heartless to not care about them. i think in the beginning, raito was definitely a good guy. after he started using the death note, he still was, just maybe a little more 'batman'-ish. of course now, he's completely off his rocker.

pardon for the cliche, but there IS a fine line between genius and insanity, and raito crossed it about 30 or so chapters ago.

[now has image of raito and L in batman and superman costumes, respectively. hee!]

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pretty much the nostalgia chick

(no subject)

from: vikki
date: Feb. 26th, 2005 12:57 am (UTC)
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dilandau and all them aren't really sociopaths; they're psychopaths. Very different mental disease. ^^;;

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Ansem, seeker of the cock

(no subject)

from: powercorrupts
date: Feb. 27th, 2005 12:13 am (UTC)
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Not necessarily. I'd say almost certainly for Dilandou, but as far as Sephiroth, it's hard to say, probably. (IMO, I'd say almost definately, but hey-)

Especially because Squeenix doesn't give us nearly enough to go on. Fictional characters are too hard to psychoanalyze. xD

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Emera

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from: eluneth
date: Feb. 26th, 2005 02:13 am (UTC)
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Interesting analysis; it does help explain a lot of what I find bemusing about Raito. Even if he's not specifically meant to be a sociopath, it does relate to many/most of his character traits, just like that post a while back in which someone theorized about L's eccentricity being inspired by Asperger's syndrome.

I just read an article in Newsweek that mentioned that about 1/25 people are sociopathic, actually. Creepy.

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Angel Rogue

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from: angelrogue
date: Feb. 26th, 2005 05:22 am (UTC)
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Do you think he was a sociopathic tendencies to begin with, or do you think it's the notes fault? Maybe a bit of both?

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Kate Green Zombie Shooter

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from: karcy
date: Feb. 26th, 2005 06:33 am (UTC)
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I'm inclined to think that the Death Note doesn't really do anything to you apart from offering you the chance to have absolute power. The Death Note was an avenue that made him change, but he had always had it in him anyway - that staunch and unarguable belief that right is right and wrong is wrong, for an example. For Kira, if you're supposed to be dead, you're supposed to be dead. End of story.

I'd believe that he always had ambition, as most intelligent people do, and I believe that a person of great intelligence as he is would feel that conventional achievements in life would be a bit below him. So Kira wanting to be God, well, since God is the highest pinnacle of existence in the human imagination.

The rest is simply a belief that the end justifies the means.

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Angel Rogue

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from: angelrogue
date: Feb. 27th, 2005 04:34 am (UTC)
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Offering absolute power isn't a small thing. It's said that absolute power corupts absolutely. The more he uses the power, the more his sociopathic tendencies seem to manifest.

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(no subject)

from: anonymous
date: Feb. 26th, 2005 06:19 am (UTC)
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Interesting. I knew someone who had a bit of a mental/psychological disorder, and when I read Light in DN I found it incredibly amusing that Light's logic was a lot like his. What about megalomania? is that a subset of sociopathy, or something else entirely? I didn't study psych in any form.

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Xelyna

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from: xelyna
date: Feb. 26th, 2005 10:22 am (UTC)
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A very interesting thought! Although it's hard to say... when he gave up the Death Note, some of those characteristics changed, and then when he gets it back he goes straight back to sociopath... or maybe just psycho killerO_o;; Reminds me a bit of Illpallazo-sama in Excel Saga... "This world is corrupt!" XDD

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