To apply the principles of personality theory to the behavior of a television character - Essay Example

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As a means of implementing personality theory, this essay diagnoses a television character. The specific character being examined is Spartacus. Spartacus is a slave living during the time of…
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To apply the principles of personality theory to the behavior of a television character
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Principles of Personality Theory: Television Character Personality theory works to examine and diagnose character elements in a human As a means of implementing personality theory, this essay diagnoses a television character. The specific character being examined is Spartacus. Spartacus is a slave living during the time of Greek and Roman antiquity. Spartacus is brought to House of Batiatus, a training camp for gladiators. At this training camp Spartacus quickly demonstrates that he is an adept gladiator and rises through the ranks. Spartacus begins to gain great fame and increased freedoms; however he soon comes to discover the conditions surrounding his wife’s death. In these regards it is revealed to Spartacus that his wife was murdered. In an effort to seek revenge Spartacus organizes a slave rebellion with the slaves of Batiatus. This rebellion then goes on to inflict considerable damage in terms of bloodshed on the Roman legions.
The specific personality trait being implemented in diagnosing and examining Spartacus is humanistic personality theory. This theory advances along a number of theoretical grounds. One of the most seminal aspects of this approach is its embrace of a hierarchy of needs. Abraham Maslow first posited the hierarchy of needs as a series of stages humans advance through on gaining a greater sense of purpose and security (Abrams 2008, p. 111). In addition to the hierarchy of needs humanist personality theory considers human actions and purpose in a different way than other personality theories. In these regards human actions are regarded as entirely dependent on the will of the individual, rather than their subconscious, cognitive, or behavioral dispositions. This perspective on personality situates the individual’s growth and mental well-being on their pursuit of their full human potential (Hoffman et al. 2009, p. 239). Ultimately then it becomes the individual’s responsibility to structure and achieve these higher forms of personal fulfillment.
In examining Spartacus, it’s clear his behavior functions clearly within the humanist dynamic. The first consideration relates to Spartacus position as a slave as related to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. While Spartacus base line physiological needs are satisfied in the slave camp, he must clearly fight to achieve greater levels of safety and esteem. Spartacus success as a gladiator then can be read as a necessary search for these higher levels on the hierarchy. As Spartacus makes the concomitant discovery that his wife has been murdered and that his pursuit of needs on the hierarchy has hit a glass ceiling, he restructures his human motivation. In this way rather than continuing to fight as a gladiator Spartacus organizes a slave revolt. This revolt constitutes Spartacus search for greater levels of safety and esteem, but in larger humanist terms also constitutes his personal search for self-actualization. In the gladiator slave camp Spartacus is not able to reach his full potential. The slave rebellion, despite going up against nearly impossible odds, then represents for Spartacus an existential means of creating meaning and securing higher order needs in an otherwise restrictive social order.
Abrams, M. (2008) Personality theories: critical perspectives. Los Angeles, CA: Sage Publications.
Hoffman, L, et al. (2009). Existential psychology East-West. Colorado Springs: University of
the Rockies Press. Read More
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