When Ian Fleming first committed the exploits of HM Secret Service agent James Bond to the page, modern psychology was still in its adolescence and a clinical definition of a psychopath hadn’t yet been arrived at.
Despite this, the writer managed to basically write the most perfect manifestation of a functioning psychopath there’s ever been.
The Hare Psychopathy Test is a checklist, designed by psychologist Dr. Robert Hare, as a sentencing guideline for judges to determine the level of psychopathy symptoms present in criminals.
There are 20 traits in total which Hare identifies as indicative of a psychopathic personality. Let’s see how many 007 displays…
Glib, Superficial Charm
Say one thing about film psychos like Patrick Bateman and Hannibal Lector, they’re nothing if not charming.
Sure, they wouldn’t think twice about gutting and perhaps eating you, but they’d still make entertaining dinner guests.
The same could be said of Mr. Bond. Whether he’s trying to seduce an obviously damaged woman for perfunctory, emotionless sex, or swapping witticisms with an enemy he’s about to shoot in the head, he manages to do it with the dead-eyed charm of a psychopath.
Grandiose Self Worth
Yep, James has definitely got that!
Any secret agent who willfully uses their own name despite the obvious dangers of doing so, definitely has delusions of grandeur.
Also, he doesn’t just introduce himself like you or I would, he’s devised a slick catchphrase around saying his own fucking name. ‘The name’s Bond’ – pause for effect while looking steely eyed and cool – ‘James Bond.’
Need For Stimulation, Proneness To Boredom
Psychopaths are generally thrill seekers who’ll engage in risky behaviour to give them that burst of adrenaline.
Most non-criminal psychopaths – like the men who run our banking industry – will satisfy that using cocaine and prostitutes but James is a different animal.
He prefers getting into shootouts while slaloming down ski slopes or killing henchmen in novel and interesting ways involving pens… and also prostitutes.
Well he is a spy.
Despite the fact that he inexplicably tells every one of his enemies his real name, everything else which comes out of his mouth is a lie.
Lack Of Remorse Or Guilt
In over 50 years of Bond, he’s never been on a mission where he hasn’t killed another human being (often followed by a sadistically pithy pun).
In some cases, like Goldeneye, he’s managed to end the life of 47 people or For Your Eyes Only where he unnecessarily kills some random, unarmed henchman by pushing his car off a cliff with his foot.
From Dr. No to Quantum of Solace, Bond has killed 352 people. That’s more than any serial killer in history.
And does he even fucking blink or hesitate? No he doesn’t. You won’t find James laid out on a psychiatrist’s couch, crying about the people he’s killed.
No, he’ll be sat on the edge of his bed, naked with a gun in one hand and a dry Martini in the other, with a dead-eyed stare looking at his own reflection while an impossibly beautiful young woman implores him for more sex.
Limited Depth Of Feeling
Apart from that time when he cried in the shower with Vesper Lynd (and even then he still looked like he didn’t want to be there), James has rarely ever exhibited an emotion.
The most he ever seems to manage is a mild sense of satisfaction when he kills an enemy, makes a glib joke after killing an enemy, has sex with a woman, or makes a glib joke before having sex with a woman.
He’s certainly pathological…
Promiscuous Sexual Behaviour
Nothing really needs to be said on this other than, he’s James Bond – if he can’t fight his way out of a sticky situation, he’ll certainly fuck his way out.
Across all 24 films, he’s slept with 55 women.
That may not seem like a lot but when you consider that a lot of them wanted to kill him or that many of those times happened when a megalomaniacal lunatic was trying to destroy the world, then it’s actually quite impressive.