Antisocial Personality Disorder: A mental disorder in which a person consistently shows no regard for right and wrong. They are also proven to ignore the feelings and needs of the people around them. People with this disorder tend to antagonize, manipulate or treat others harshly or with an indifferent mindset. They show no guilt or remorse for their behavior.
A Hulu original TV show, “The Great” depicts an occasionally true story of Emperor Peter III (Nicholas Hoult) and his wife Catherine (Elle Fanning) undergoing a very unhappy marriage. Emperor Peter III shows some signs of antisocial personality disorder early on in the show. He shows little appreciation for his wife as soon as she arrives in Russia. He even goes as far as to tell her that she smells “funny,” which is frankly because she had to leave her country in order to travel to Russia and become empress.
The ill-prepared emperor makes it his mission to take out his unhappiness and his own insecurities onto his wife. He buys her a bear as a welcoming present to Russia. Then the next day he kills the bear in front of her. She becomes extremely upset and reveals her feelings to him during a party with other rich young adults. Peter III takes this as a personal insult and ends up punching his wife in the stomach. Threatening to perform more acts of physical violence if she ever embarrassed him again. He also showed other signs of violence to her in situations where he wasn’t provoked.
Catherine undergoes many instances where she is forced to keep her mouth shut in hopes of creating a better Russia in the future. Throughout the series, Peter III has several different mistresses and has no remorse when cheating on his wife. Eventually, he decides to pay an act of kindness in his own mind and gifts Catherine a lover. Catherine is unsure of what to do with Leo (Sebastian De Souza) at first. She tells Peter III the morning after they spent the night together that she was grateful and that he could go back to where he came from. Peter III took this to mean that she didn’t like Leo and he wasn’t satisfactory. As a result, he ended up punching Catherine’s lover in the gut and kicking him repeatedly until she convinced him that she was just being silly and was delighted at the thought of keeping him.
As many people with antisocial personality disorder, Peter III prays on anyone that he feels are weaker than him. His favorite mistress Georgina (Charity Wakefield) was keen on staying around the emperor just to reinstate her place in the court. Forcing her husband and Peter’s “best friend” to stay there right along with her. In one of the episodes, Georgina suffers some major abrasions to her neck and when her husband finds out that Peter III was the cause of it, becomes extremely angry. He takes matters into his own hands and takes his anger out on the emperor.
Catherine takes numerous steps to overthrow Peter III with help from some friends. Something interesting about this is that she actually did plan to overthrow him in real life and was eventually successful. Throughout the TV show, however, Catherine plots to steal his spot as the true leader of Russia. Each time that she fails, she becomes distressed and less and less hopeful. Leo is a continuing source of inspiration for her.
Peter III struggles throughout the television show to admit to himself that he will never amount to the great military leader that his father was. When asked to help plan strategic military plans, Peter III had very poor assessments. Each time that he tried to, the powerful men that made up the military would put him down and laugh behind his back. The emperor never handled this well, but there was one instance that he became immediately violent after. He felt that after he was done giving one of his speeches, he had been been ridiculed by one of the men in the military. He challenged him to a dual, but instead became irrational and stabbed him in the gut. His fate being death.
People diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder have a difficult time admitting that they can do any harm. They would also much rather blame someone else for their unhappiness than themselves. Peter III shows this behavior multiple times in the TV series. The emperor chooses to hide these qualities of himself and uses his ability to be charming in order to do so. One of the things that he questions repeatedly is why Catherine doesn’t like him, but everyone else seems to. He also drinks almost whenever given the opportunity. Which something that he struggled with in real life, according to Catherine’s diary entries about him.
Peter III has many qualities that point to him having antisocial personality disorder. He surrounds himself with people that he considers weaker or that he can in some way put down. The emperor has a hard time admitting when he is wrong. Peter III viewed himself as an intellectual with worthwhile ideas. He was certain that he was the best fit for the job. Even though he had taken credit for a number of the Catherine’s ideas.