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AstroChuck's avatar

Why are lunatics often portrayed as thinking they are Napoleon?

Asked by AstroChuck (37378points) August 12th, 2008 from iPhone

This one has perplexed me for some time.

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21 Answers

cheebdragon's avatar

I didn’t know they were…

but speaking of napoleon, his birthday is on Friday

syz's avatar

My suspicion would be that it’s a commonly recognized disorder (Napoleon/Napoleonic complex) and is at the same time mildly humorous. While mocking mental illness is no longer PC, making a reference to an illness that seems so inherently ludicrous allows some leeway.

Sueanne_Tremendous's avatar

The hand-in-the-jacket thing always gets me too. He had to take it out sometime…

jlm11f's avatar

as is cheeb’s :) (birthday i mean)

Les's avatar

If what you mean is the Napoleon Complex, isn’t the colloquial definition of that phrase someone who has a physical (or mental) “short“coming (haha), and who feels the need to over compensate for that fact? See here
Like I would say that some of the women that work in science feel they have to be overly aggressive in the workplace because of a perceived Napoleon Complex on their side as feeling unequal to men.

Or are you talking about something else?

AstroChuck's avatar

@Les- Regarding his “short” comings. Actually, Napoleon wasn’t very short. It was reported at his autopsy that he was five feet two. But he was measured using the old French system (royal foot). He was actually 5’ 6 1/2”. And from what I’ve read, he wasn’t short in the other department either.

Les's avatar

@AC: yeah, true. But that is why we say “Napoleon Complex”. Because he is thought of as being a short guy.

cheebdragon's avatar

5’6 is pretty short for a man…....

AstroChuck's avatar

Hey. I happen to be 5’6”. And 200 years ago 5’6” wasn’t short for a man.

cheebdragon's avatar

I never said it was short for a man back then…...
But today you are shorter than the average joe…are you not?

AstroChuck's avatar

Yeah. I think average height for men in the US is 5’10” and 5’4” for women. I’m actually just a hair taller than five six. And although I’ve been called crazy, I don’t think I am Napoleon. I’m actually Augustus Caesar.

jlm11f's avatar

it’s ok AC, i am 5’2”. I fail the average height for a girl too :(

AstroChuck's avatar

My wife is 4’11” so I get to laugh at her!

cheebdragon's avatar

jeez I’m taller than both of you….

AstroChuck's avatar

cheeb, you’re a freak!

cheebdragon's avatar

tell me something I don’t know….

shilolo's avatar

Its not just Napoleon that people with psychosis “emulate”. People with delusions of grandeur (typically manics or schizophrenics have been known to believe that they are Jesus, God, various Presidents, other famous historical figures and so on. For example, when I lose my mind, I plan to become one of the most famous people on the planet, Andrew.

AstroChuck's avatar

True, but media seems to be fixated on Naploleon when it portrays the insane. At least that’s the way it once was. I haven’t seen it as much lately. I just want to know how it all started. Were there possibly several cases of people believing that they were Mr. Bonaparte?

shilolo's avatar

Probably. Whenever there are “historical figures” who are active in the public consciousness, those people are more likely to become the subjects of another persons’ delusions. In truth, in my 7 years in medicine, I have never seen anyone who believed himself to be Napoleon, but I have seen many Jesuses…

AstroChuck's avatar

Won’t the proper term be Jesae?

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

no, the plural of Jesus is Jesii, or Joosus. As in Geese = Goose; Jesus = Joosus

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