Legal and law institutions use a psychopathy checklist called the PCL-R. It is a 20 question checklist rating psychopathic behaviors and traits such as manipulativeness and superficial charm, as well as previous juvenile delinquent acts and lifestyle choices. Each item is rated on a scale of 0-2: 0 being not at all, 1 being little or some indication of, and 2 being an absolute indication of. Getting a minimum score of 30 deems that a person has the traits and qualities of a psychopath, and is likely one. Here’s the full questionnaire:
Knowing this, I’d like to discuss a popular movie with famous actress Kathy Bates, Misery. The movie Misery is an adaptation of Stephen King’s novel Misery. In the movie adaptation, the character of Annie Wilkes is portrayed by Kathy Bates and the character of Paul Sheldon is portrayed by James Caan. In this movie, there are themes of violence and insanity distinguished in the character of Annie Wilkes. Annie Wilkes is a complex character; she is devoutly religious but has severe behavior and personality issues. During Annie Wilkes’ episodes in the movie, there is a side of her that is shown that can be considered psychopathic.
After a thorough examination of the movie with the psychopathy checklist, Annie received an overall score of 23 in accordance with the PCL-R. This indicates that she is not a psychopath, but is near consideration. It is hard to establish an accurate overall score, as the movie does not portray Annie throughout her entire life. The PCL-R is most effective when a subject can be interviewed about their life and naturally observed in an environment to identify behaviors. Although Annie is seen as a psychopath to many viewers who watch this movie, there could be other factors at play such as an array of personality disorders. Overall, it seems that Annie has an array of issues with impulsivity, behavior, and obsessions, and she knew what she was doing. It could be argued that her killing newborn babies in a hospital she worked at is enough to be considered a psychopath, but nonetheless, she does not have the characteristics necessary to be labeled a psychopath amongst the legal system.
Now, this is a good example of why it is important to make an accurate examination of inmates and prisoners, even if it is a lengthy session. Using the PCL-R, experts are able to make assumptions of psychopathology in the cases of those who need it.