Report on Theory of Analyzing a Character

Report on Theory of Analyzing a Character


The movie “A Beautiful Mind” is a biography of award-winning Mathematician John Forbes Nash. This movie is based on the book by the same title Sylvia Nasar, which entered the New York Times bestseller list for books which were based on biographies. The movie was released in 2001, directed by Ron Howard and starring Russell Crowe as John Nash. However, when the movie was directed, it was done with the motive of showing the character of Nash and his issues related to his mental health condition. The movie also focuses on the people around Nash who are affected by his mental health condition especially his wife Alicia who supports her throughout the film. John Nash was a renowned mathematician in the United States, who became famous because of the game theory and the differential equations which are used in children's textbooks in today's era. Various theorems of Maths like Nash equilibrium, Nash embedding theory etc are named under his name and are quite popular. He won the Noble prize and the Abel prize both awards for his contributions to game theory. The centre character of the movie is John Nash whose life takes a turn when the schizophrenia disease gets over him and destroys his life at that stage. The movie is shot brilliantly and hence there is no doubt why the movie is an Oscar-winning movie after all. 

Analysis of Character John Nash 

The character of John Nash who has been shown in the movie is complicated. He is shy and very unsocial at times but at the same time, he can be cocky. At times he has been shown as a very foolish character but in some instances, he shows his brilliance and gets the deserving Noble prize for his contribution to mathematics. The mind of this character is quite complex, and it makes the viewer get the feeling that many things are going around his mind at one point in time. The character is seen struggling while coping with his mind. It's quite amazing to see how a brilliant student faces the trauma of a serious illness like schizophrenia. In the movie it is shown how he deals with this issue, what were the consequences of his illness and how his loved ones were affected by his illness. Nash does not speak a lot and often communicates very less with people because of which may be this disease got into his mind and he started to see various things which never existed. John has been always a mysterious genius who distances himself from people, he didn’t have many friends, only one or two were his good friends except the character of Charles who is not a real character, it’s just in the mind of John who sees him as a result of schizophrenia (A Beautiful Mind - The story of John Forbes Nash Jr, 2020). 

John Nash and Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs 

Maslow’s theory of the hierarchy of needs can be associated with the character of John Nash who is shown in the movie. This theory states that there are certain desires which motivate people to achieve things in their life. The basic needs which any person desires to achieve are food, water, and shelter. People do work hard to achieve these things in their lives. However, John Nash did not lack any of these things the next level of the hierarchy is the safety part. John has delusions that he worked for the Pentagon administration and helped them in deciphering codes. However, when he got married to Alicia, he wanted to quit this job which was not possible as per his delusions. The doctor who wanted to help him seemed to be a Russian spy to Nash who would like him to get locked in the hospital and prevent him from doing the confidential work which he was doing for the US government (2020). 
He wanted to guard his safety and wanted to protect his wife and his baby which was about to come. There was a need for safety for which he was living and struggling in the hospital. The doctor also found out during his treatment that Charles Herman was an imaginary person whom Nash considered as his best friend. The doctor found out from the university that Nash used to live alone in his room and there was no roommate. The reason Nash used to see Charles as his imaginary roommate was the need for love and care which Nash always lacked. He was not a social person, the boys in his University used to bully him and he used to confine himself inside the room as he saw another guy in the same university be his competitor. Nash wanted to talk to someone in actual who could motivate him and love him the way he wanted. His wife Alicia also fulfilled his need for love, as she was the only girl with whom he felt connected and she married him despite all odds and stayed with him till the end. 

Communication Competence 

The character of John Nash is a genius in mathematics whose communication skills are very bad. He is a person who is more comfortable with numbers and theories instead of interacting with people and loving them. When people talk to him, he usually offends them or speaks to them in a blunt manner which does not seem appealing to them. An example of communicative incompetence from the movie, it has been shown when a lady approaches Nash directly and requests him to buy a drink for her, he bluntly says that he cannot afford the same so they should cut the drinks and move to sex which is a very odd conversation to start with a lady in a first meeting. (publisher], 2020) 
In another example, when Alicia who happens to be a student in John’s class has a crush on him, one day when they were sitting and Alicia asked him to talk about her, he bluntly says that he hopes that their relationship should soon conclude into sex which is a weird way to talk to a lady. Alicia, however, funnily takes his talks and kisses him in turn. Alicia's skill and eagerness to recognize John optimistically are important to their interpersonal success. There are many instances in the movie in which Alicia covers their incompetence of John and always tries to motivate him in his life. 
Reflected Appraisal of John Nash 
At the beginning of the movie, it has been shown that John Nash is full of ambition and wanted to achieve something big in his life. He thinks very highly of himself which tends to be quite arrogant at times. However, to think that he is a genius is not incorrect but could have been a little humble with other people. John always use to think that he was much smarter than his classmates. He did not use to attend the classes initially as he says himself only that these books are not meant for him and he is wasting time in the university. However, till the end of the movie, one of his friends whom he thought of as his rival helped him to get back to his normal life yet again. 

Social comparison of John Nash 

John used to compare himself with nobody. He had this tendency to think that he was already a smarter student than the other members of his class as he thought that attending classes and completing assignments will not do anything good for him. However, that was quite incorrect on his part as it's shown in the movie that his professor was not happy with his grades and warned him that if he doesn’t improve then he might not get a placement as well. After all, he had to work on his University education and complete the degree which led him to be a professor at Princeton University. 
Self-Fulfilling Prophecy of John Nash 
John was a patient with schizophrenia, he always used to believe that somebody wants to hurt him and his family so to protect everybody he confined himself in the hospital knowing the fact that his wife was pregnant and he needs to save her from the Russian spies as per his delusion. It was Nash's self-fulfilling prophecy that he believed something bad is going to happen and destroy their lives. This behaviour influenced his wife Alicia who always supported him but when he came back from the hospital, he used to skip the medication which is a usual thing to observe in these kinds of patients. This was the reason why he was not aware that he is going to drown his baby. His wife kept the baby away from him in the fear that he could hurt him any day because of his false expectations (Self-fulfilling prophecy, 2020). 

Applying the Pillow method in John Nash's character 

The pillow method is a method of securing and delivering compassion to an individual with whom the dispute is. Compassion is characterized as the capability to re-create another’s viewpoint. The concern of this method is whether the character of John Nash is a good communicator or not, it is discussed in the below table (Pillow Method Building Empathy Exercise, 2020). 


My position is correct

The opponents position is correct

Both are correct and incorrect may be

I disagree that John Nash had good communication skills he was a very unsocial person who failed to interact with other people.

John Nash was a genius in mathematics. He loved to play with his numbers which made him part distance from other people which was understood.

John Nash was quite blunt and straightforward in his approach while speaking to other people which is not found in many people and hence is unique.

Of course, according to the movie, the social skills of John Nash were nil, and he struggled to interact with people around him. However, he always tried to interact instead of confining himself to others which is good quality.


Emotions and Expression 

The best emotional scene would be considered that one in which John tells Alicia that he will take the baby for bathing, Alicia was doing some homely work and then suddenly she hears the crying of her baby. She rushes towards the house and gets surprised that her baby is lying in the bathtub and John is trying to close the window out the fear that the Russians are coming to attack his family. This was a heartbreaking scene in which it's prevalent that John wants to save his family but at the same time, he forgets that the baby is lying in the bathtub. 

Non-Verbal Communication
John was an unsocial person; he was not a good communicator, but he tried to use his nonverbal communication skills very well in the movie. In an example from the movie, initially, when there was a formal meeting among the students, the way John showed his genius skills by throwing light on the tie of a student and evolving a theory. In another example, in his delusion when he sees the person telling him that he is the most distinguished person in history who can decipher codes, he nods his head showing that he already knows this fact. 
Listening and Relating 
John Nash was not a good speaker but a good listener. As per resources, genius people speak less and listen more. This notion fits well in the character of John Nash as he has this quality of listening to people and acting after thinking. For instance, boys use to bully him at the University and he never showed his anger against them. Also in an instance in the movie, the professor shows him a scene where other professors were gifting pens to a retiring professor for his accomplishments, Nash listened to him carefully and in the next scene came up with an improvement in his academic career. 

Relationship analysis 

John and Alicia were a couple who were born to be together till the end. 
Knapp’s relationship model describes how relationships grow up and end. This model is grouped into ten different steps which come under two connecting phases Knapp’s relationship escalation model and Knapp’s relationship termination model. The relationship of John and Alicia adapted the coming together model in which they initiate that is the phase when Alicia asks Nash for a dinner, experimentation stage is when they explored each other and decided to marry, they intensify their relationship and decide to plan a baby, the integration stage occurs when Alicia takes care of her husband after coming back from the hospital, the final stage is bonding which shows in the last scene when Nash receives the Nobel prize and applauds his married life with Alicia (2020). 

To conclude the essay, the movie “A Beautiful Mind” shows different phases of the character John Nash who was a genius and at the same time was a patient with schizophrenia. The relationship between John Nash and the people around him is a delight to watch.