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Who Was The Brave Soldier Schweik Really? - Crazy Characters
Who Was The Brave Soldier Schweik Really? - Crazy Characters

Video: Who Was The Brave Soldier Schweik Really? - Crazy Characters

Video: Who Was The Brave Soldier Schweik Really? - Crazy Characters
Video: Good Soldier Svejk (1955) Похождения Бравого Солдата Швейка, ENG SUB, RUS DUB 2023, March

The hypomanic states of literary heroes, apparently, seemed to the writers less attractive than depression, so they are much less common in fiction. The most popular examples are not numerous, for Dumas it is the Musketeer d'Artagnan, for Shakespeare - Falstaff, for Jaroslav Hasek the hero is Joseph Schweik. But they are all famous and recognized. By what means?

One gets the impression that depression is more in demand in the fictional sense than manic gaiety. Thus, the majority of works of art, no matter how paradoxical it may sound, justify the existence in our life of something that is perceived by everyone exclusively negatively.

Let's take an example of a hypomanic character who surprisingly correlates with the personality of his creator.

The character of a work of fiction, especially one written by a classic of literature, can serve as a vivid illustration of a psychopathological state, as its clinical description in a psychiatry textbook

Schweik - the "idiot simulator"?

In the popular novel by the Czech writer Jaroslav Hasek, The Adventures of the Gallant Soldier Švejk during the World War (1921–1923), the hero, Josef Švejk, became widely known.

In the comic epic, Schweik is presented as a hypomanic and silly person, but his mental anomaly often resembles a mask, and his silly behavior is a mise-en-scene deliberately played out by him

His image is based on the principle of a comic hoax, aimed in part at the reader, who cannot fully guess where the hero's naivety ends and real cheating begins, and where zeal turns into a mockery and a parody of zeal.

At the beginning of the novel, Schweik ends up in an insane asylum, where he is examined by specialists. But Joseph fails to deceive them

Both doctors looked at each other, and one of them asked:

- Have you ever examined your mental state before?

“In military service,” Schweik answered solemnly and proudly. - Gentlemen, military doctors officially recognized me as a complete idiot.

- It seems to me that you are a simulator! Another doctor shouted at Schweik.

“Not a simulator at all, gentlemen! - defended Schweik. - I'm a real idiot.

From such "self-admission" the specialists fell into confusion and discharged the gallant soldier with a diagnosis of "imbecile simulator."

At first glance, Schweik gives the impression of a simple-minded and stupid person. In fact, he is a talented simulator and selfless adventurer, for whom the diagnosis "idiocy" is just a cover for outrageous antics.

The "official idiocy" of this gallant soldier is a means to emphasize the "militaristic and police idiocy" inherent in many totalitarian regimes that are approaching the stage of their disintegration

Apple from apple tree …

Jaroslav Hasek in Austrian military uniform
Jaroslav Hasek in Austrian military uniform

Jaroslav Hasek in Austrian military uniform. 1915 year

It is not for nothing that the popular character of Yaroslav Hasek is similar to the personality of the writer himself. Here is what psychiatrists describe to the author of the brave soldier Schweik: “His sudden disappearances and appearances, casual connections and binges, vagrancy, real anarchism, striving to shock, travel from the Eastern Front to Irkutsk and even the leadership of the Bugulma commandant's office during the revolution,“secret mission in Mongolia ", Eating" Chinese meat ", a huge capacity for work between merry spree, the creation of a fake" party of moderate progress within the law. " All this makes us think about the qualifications of the writer as either hypomanic or heboid”(Samokhvalov V. P., Kuznetsov V. E., 2015). In general, the apple falls not far from the apple tree.

Unfortunately, the novel by Yaroslav Hasek remained unfinished for a completely natural reason.

Returning from Russia, the writer began to drink again, lead a disorderly lifestyle, showing indifference to everything that does not bring immediate pleasure

He again turned into the same Hasek, who before the war played tricks all over Prague, was in a psychiatric hospital, harassed anarchists like him with his tricks. "On January 3, 1923, a heart that was obese from endless drunkenness and a naturally weak heart (Hasek suffered from endocrine disorders, which, by the way, can explain something in the mental warehouse of this extraordinary person) stopped forever …" (Buyanov MI, 1995) …

Was the brave soldier mentally ill?

Of course, the author is not always similar to the characters he describes, but it cannot be denied that the writer, willingly or unwillingly, endows his hero with some part of his personality. The shocking writer took care of the mystification of the image of his alter ego.

It is not difficult to establish a diagnosis for the author of the work himself, but the diagnosis of his character is more controversial

A hypomanic personality prone to sabotage and simulation, irony and complacent humor does not sound very psychiatric. But the invented character is not a real patient, especially since the brave soldier Schweik has become a favorite character of many people around the world. Books are still published in large editions, performances are gathering full houses, films are being filmed. Salute, Schweik! Salute, Hasek!


  • Buyanov M. I. Passion and Fate. M.: Russian Society of Medical Writers, 1995.
  • Hasek J. The Adventures of the Gallant Soldier Švejk. Parts I-II. // Hasek J. Works in four volumes. Volume 3 / Per. from czech. P. G. Bogatyreva. M.: True, 1985.
  • Samokhvalov V. P., Kuznetsov V. E. Psychopathology and Art in the System of Culture // Psychiatry and Art. M.: Publishing house VIDAR-M, 2015. P. 159–189.

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