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Friday, July 28, 2017

Suicidal Thoughts in the Novel Don Quixote - Malaysian Journal of Medical Sciences, Vol. 23, No. 2, 2016, pp. 65-69

Suicide and mental illness is a public health problem that is very poorly understood. In the recent years, there have been more efforts made in the Global North to reduce the negative connotations in regards to suicide. United States Congress in 1990 established the Mental Illness Awareness Week, which was a project by the National Alliance of Mental Illness to create awareness and educate people regarding mental illness. However, these views are very science oriented.

The concept of suicide in the last century has been medicalised, where suicide is always linked to mental disorders. This narrative has discouraged fields such as sociology and history’s perspective on suicide. This article looks at fictional material which is also a source of information to understand suicide. This study aims to improve our understanding of suicide by examining the early 17th Century Spanish novel called “Don Quixote” By Miguel Cervantes.

The study translated different accounts of suicide and suicidal thoughts which they categorized and listed under the appropriate heading. The results suggest that there are no complete accounts on suicide however, there are five indirect statements that suggested that suicide was a mean of dealing with stress. From these five accounts, three of them were linked with dealing with a loss of a loved one. There was another account of a person pretending to attempt suicide for manipulative purposes.

This study concludes that in the early 17th century Spain suicide was a way of dealing with stress. This provides evidence that suicide can occur in the absence of a mental disorder.

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