Moral Insanity In Truman Capote's In Cold Blood

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In the early 1800’s, The Sociopath Personality Disorder was known as “moral insanity”, an apt description for those individuals who cannot adhere to society’s norms (Bellows). Hidden behind charm or camouflaged by a dare-devil lifestyle, these corrupt individuals can hide their deficiencies for years before they are discovered. In his recounting of the Clutter family murders, In Cold Blood, Truman Capote gives us a glimpse into one of these monsters. During Capote’s analysis of the crime, it becomes evident that Richard “Dick” Eugene Hickock is a sociopath. One of the earliest times in the story when Dick shows that he is a sociopath is when he shows a lack of remorse. On page 112, Dick runs down an injured and starved dog. This was not an accident; Dick purposefully swerved from his lane to hit the poor animal. Even more, he regularly makes a habit of hitting, or “splatting” as he gleefully refers to it, dogs. A further time when Dick shows absolutely no remorse for horrible acts is after he murders the Clutter family. Just minutes after committing the deed, Dick is joking around about the murders. This shows that not only does Dick have a complete lack of remorse, but he actually takes pleasure in the pain of others (especially when he is the cause of it). While not the only tell of a Sociopath, lack of remorse is a major way to identify one. Another way to distinguish a Sociopath is their displays of “promiscuous sexual behavior, rape, or infidelity”. Dick is a textbook case for this indication. Multiple times throughout the book, there are mentions of Dick being a rapist and pedophile. For example, on page 278 Dick writes that he believes the true reason he went to the Clutter house was because he wanted to rape Nancy. Another mention of…show more content…
“Profile of a Sociopath”. Mcafee. 4 February 2010. Web. 15 February 2010. Capote, Truman. In Cold Blood. New York: Vintage International, 1965.

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