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The Caine Mutiny

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  • Pages: 4
  • Word count: 863
  • Category: Disorder

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While watching this film, there are many things in Captain Queeg’s behavior that stick out as abnormal or even strange. After a period of time, even the Captain’s crew begins to suspect that he may be struggling with a mental problem. They use a mental disorder book to try and figure out on their own what problem he might have. The crew comes to the decision that Queeg has Paranoid Personality Disorder. The DSM IV criteria for this diagnosis to adhere to four of the seven symptoms. There are a few that could correlate with Captain Queeg’s behavior and give some evidence that he could in fact have PPD.

(1) suspects, without sufficient basis, that others are exploiting, harming, or deceiving him or her. This could be related to the incident that occurred with the strawberries going missing. Queeg had this set idea in his mind of what happened, and whenever one of the other members of the crew tried to tell him that he saw the mess boys eating the strawberries, Queeg said that he was lying to him. He was suspicious of almost every action by the crew, thinking that they were all out to get him or trying to deceive him. (2) is preoccupied with unjustified doubts about the loyalty or trustworthiness of friends or associates.

Queeg said multiple times that no one on his crew was loyal to him. In court he said that all of his crew members were disloyal to him, even though he had written in the reports that one of the crew was very loyal and hardworking. (3) is reluctant to confide in others because of unwarranted fear that the information will be used maliciously against him or her. Captain Queeg had also said many times that being a Captain is a “lonely life” or command is a “lonely job”. This could be different for Queeg if he had people to talk to or to confide in. (4) perceives attacks on his or her character or reputation that are not apparent to others and is quick to react angrily or to counterattack. This could be shown through the way Queeg reacted to the crew members that were not dressed properly the way he had instructed, or when the men did not put on helmets or life jackets when he said. He took the disobiedence to heart and was very angry that his orders were not followed even though they were small, simple issues.

Before the diagnosis of PPD was talked about by the crew in the film, my initial reaction to how the captain was acting was due to having Bipolar Disorder. This seemed to click for me whenever I saw that Captain Queeg tried to reach out to the crew whenever he was beginning to feel like something bad was happening with him. He began saying that he wanted the crew to be a family with him and was almost sweet even though he had normally only yelled at them. In order to be diagnosable for bipolar disorder, one needs to have evidence of a manic episode.

The DSM lists a few symptoms of a manic episode: 1. Psychomotor agitation or retardation nearly every day. This is one of the most visible things that could give evidence to him having a manic episode. Queeg was always moving the steel balls around in his palm like a nervous habit. It seemed to be as soon as he got stressed or nervous about anything he would begin to twist them around in his hand, maybe this helped him keep calm, but it was obviously something he felt like he needed to do. 2. A distinct period of abnormally and persistently elevated, expansive, or irritable mood, lasting at least one week. Although this could be said to just be Queeg’s personality, it seems to be extreme that he would always be that angry. Everything that was done on the ship seemed to be met with anger and irritation by Queeg. He needed perfection and no arguments against him.

The reason that he cut his own line on the target was because the crew was too scared to ask him where they were supposed to go and kept going left even though it just made the ship turn 360 degrees. 3. The mood disturbance is sufficiently severe to cause marked impairment in occupational functioning or in usual social activities or relationships with others, or to necessitate hospitalization to prevent harm to self or others, or there are psychotic features. This seems to be the biggest part of what was going on in Captain Queeg’s life. His disturbance had effects on his job as captain, people were unable to trust him in his decisions. His crew had their doubts on his competence especially in the situation where the ship was in trouble during the storm. If Queeg had been able to keep good relationships, there would have been no reason for the crew to not trust his decision, but instead they were forced to disobey him and follow the orders of another crewman even though this would be considered a mutinous act.

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