Jessica Jones and Kilgrave as Mental Illness

Netflix’s Jessica Jones was released in November 2015 and has had a great response over the past few months. Mental illness is something the protagonist struggles with in the form of PTSD. The villain, Kilgrave, has the power to control the minds of others. He is also the cause of Jessica’s PTSD and haunts her through just the knowledge of his existence. To what degree is Kilgrave representative of various forms of mental illness? Can the metaphor of Kilgrave=mental illness be extended to depression, anxiety, attachment issues, schizophrenia, etc.? Are certain aspects of mental illness shown in the show through him? (I.e. No one believes in his existence=mental health stigma, people who have been "kilgraved" constantly fear his return, etc.)

  • I'm very interested in your point about how people don't believe his effects are possible/exist, and it's true he can damage people's minds. However, I think that even an extreme extension of mental illness would not have the word-for-word control that Kilgrave has, or be quite so exterior to the victim/survivor. However I think that the therapy group touched on how it unsettled them that he sometimes made them indulge in their unacceptable desires. – IndiLeigh 8 years ago
  • Perhaps not. However, I actually have severe depression, and I found that the show spoke to me on a very personal level, which is what prompted this topic. I feel like I lose control when I'm depressed, and it's a bit frightening, because I don't know what I'll do. I can try to stop the downswing, but sometimes it's impossible, and suicidal thoughts are hard to ignore. It's a bit like having a little Kilgrave in your head. – Laura Jones 8 years ago

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