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Roberto the Optimist „This is sad and beautiful world“ 

Patient: Bob, the character (actor: Roberto Benigni ) from the movie "Down by Law" (1986), directed by Jim Jarmusch 

Observation

Bob is optimistic person. An Italian who understands minimal english and all the time he writes words and phrases in his notebook. His opening line in the movie is: „This is a sad and beautiful world“ when he talks to Zack.

Yes, it is a sad world where live pimps, murderers, alcoholics, criminals, but also beautiful because these same people help each other and give a hand to survive together.

About his appearance: he has large and prominent nose and messy hair, partly bald. He is average hight and slender, about 35 to 40 years old.

His next scene in the movie is his arrival in cell at the prison. He was arrested for the murder of a man in defense ("If you hit me and you want to hurt me, than I will hurt you too"). He was attacked by men who have discovered his cards cheating (while he gambls he thinks he manipulates skillfully). He says: „I am not a criminal, I am a lion.“ While trying to become friends with his cellmates he jokes: „ If looks can kill, I am dead now“  and he offers a hand for handshake. As friend he attempts to make jokes and in that way start conversation and make connection with them.

Bob has an irrepressible need for conversation and he talks a lot, make jokes and having fun. He loves poetry, movies and he usualy uses quotes and makes an analogy between reality and sentences from movie or poem. Hi is smiling even when it is not appropriate time for it, trying to keep a good spirit. He talks with himself when he is alone. He seeks for company and he has aversion to stay alone.  Friendly, benign and constantly in search for contact with people (looking in the eyes, touching people by hand). 

He finds himself to be in the middle of argue between his cellmates, trying to be friend with them in small prison cell („Not enough room to swing a cat“).

In the scene during their escape from prison he find himself in front of the water. He realises that there is only one way to make it. He needs to ask for help from other prisoners to swim across the river because he doesn’t know how to swim.  After they say no in first, he is left alone, shivering, scared, breathes rapidly. He talks with himself and how he hates dogs (he hears them in distance) and he hates water  and pray for salvation. He prays for his life even if gardes caught him that he stays alive. Another scene when he is alone again, in the woods, while he talks with himself about mother and his family. He makes a dinner after he catches a rabbit in the wood and lights a fire.

All the time his efforts are for him to be in the good mood although he get criticized for his smile on the face. It fits a quote from Robert Frost’s poem:

„Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.“

The others think about him as foolish and incompetent which he denies successfully after he manages to find a way to escape from prison and to caught a rabbit in the woods. Meanwhile other two man are arguing and found no food.

In the end of the movie they eventually chance across a house in the forestand after he entered and start a conversation with Italian woman, they are surprised how he managed inside the house and how she made a dinner for him. That’s his salvation. „And now I have falled in love, at last. I have finded my new home. She has asked to me if I stay here, to live together with her forever and ever. Like in a book for children.“ Happy end for Roberto.

Analysis

I would point Roberto’s blah-blah, babbling all the time, laughing and making jokes, sometimes foolish behavior. Optimistic and gentle in nature. He needs contact with people and his anxiety when he’s alone. Then he talks with himself. Fear of dogs and water. And yet he is capable of murder and throwing ugly words to people in italian when they don’t understand them. Emotional status is the most evident and his remedy will be the most suitable from plant kingdom in homeopathy. 

Themes

Humor and  talking: making jokes, laughing, amusement  for him and others,  babbling all the time

Artistic disposition: love for poetry and cinema, music and dancing

Friendship: seeks contact with people (looking in the eyes, touching by hand, huging), doesn’t like to be alone, „we are friends“, social games and gambling (also he is card cheater)

Family: talks about mother („Very strange mother, my mother.“), father („My father, no. He's very strong, but with the rabbit he is afraid.“), sisters, wife in the end of the movie

Rubrics

M, affectionate

M, amorous

M, amusement, desire for

M, anxiety, alone when

M, anxiety, walking, amel.

M, benevolence

M, charming others

M, cheerful

M, thoughts, persistent, humorous

M, company, desire for, alone agg, when

M, dancing

M, embraces, companion his

M, loquacity

M, fear, dogs of

M, fear, water of

M, forsaken feeling

M, foolish behaviour

M, gambling, passion for gambling

M, hopeful

M, laughing, serious matters over

M, jesting

M, mildness

M, sentimental

M, smiling

M, speech, loud

M, speech, phrases, in high- sounding

M, talking, himself to

M, taking himself,  alone only when

M, talking, desires to talk to someone

M, teasing

M, vivacious

Stomach, hiccough 

My choice of rubrics

M, hopeful

M, jesting

M, talking, himself to

M, company desires for, alone agg. when

M, fear, water of

Selected remedy

STRAMONIUM – Effects of this remedy are first of all at  the brain. Suppression of excretion and secretion in the body. Delirium tremens state. Very talkative, laugh, sing, rhyme, cursing. Quickly alternating periods of sadness and joy. Religious mania (there is praying to God when Robert is in the scene by the river bank and he is left alone and abandoned because he can’t swim). This is the difference compared to Hyoscyamus who doesn’t have religiosity as his characteristic. He can not stand solitude or dark conditions, must be in society and in the light! See at water or shiny objects brings spasm. I decided for this remedy primarily because the sentence "This is a sad and beautiful world" – it is both present in Stramonium state with alternating of sorrow and joy. It belongs to the plant kingdom.

Differential diagnosis

Hyoscyamus niger: affects the nervous system of all. Persons are irritable, nervous, hysterical character. They are afraid to stay alone, that someone is poisoned him. Lasciviousness and mania, do not cover in the bed. Foolish smiling, laughing at all, very talkative, dementia senilis, superstitious. Muscle cramps, spasms and convulsions. Typhoid fever.

Lachesis: another kind of venom or snake origin. It works on blood, purpura, septic conditions, diphtheria. Delirium tremens with the confusion and trembling. He does tolerate nothing thight and what is around neck like band. Talkativeness, appeal (as with stramonium), restlessness, mental effort is the best in the evening hours. Religious madness. Diseases of prolonged sadness, fear, disappointment in love and jealousy. After the sleep Lachesis enters in aggravation. 

Potency

1M- There is only a mental picture of the remedy without the physical symptoms.

Miasm

Acute miasm- quick reactions, react to the situation at the time, quickly produced and quickly passes.

There is also psoric miasm where there is a struggle to survive. In the state when he is left alone decline in acute miasm.

Forecast

I expect that the patient will be calmer, to acts less foolish ( he was in prison because of cheating ) and to behaves more like an adult person.Time when he spends alone that he doesn’t see as so stressful experiences.

Reflection

Roberto is a person who radiates and with whom you can always laugh. A person who has chosen a path that is rarely traveled.

Branka Popović

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