John Nash’s Relationships in “A Beautiful Mind” Short Summary

    The movie “A Beautiful Mind” was inspired by the life of John Nash, a mathematics professor who was ultimately diagnosed with schizophrenia. When he arrives at Princeton University, Nash is assigned a roommate even though he was promised a single room. Charles becomes his best friend, and he forms awkward relationships with a group of other graduate students. After graduation, he meets and marries his student, Alicia, and includes Charles and his niece in his circle of friends. He is approached by a mysterious government agent named Parcher who enlists him for top secret code-breaking work. Alicia witnesses a series of erratic behaviors which lead to Nash’s diagnosis and the realization that Parcher, Charles and his niece aren’t real – they’re a figment of Nash’s imagination and an effect of the schizophrenia. Eventually, Nash receives treatment and decides that rather than taking medication, he will just ignore the hallucinations that are a part of his illness.

    Accordingly, Nash has several illusions as a result of his disease. The first was his roommate, Charles and his niece, Marcee. Nash had a close relationship with both of them, and was devastated to realize that neither of them was real. His next delusion was William Parcher, who enlists Nash to crack secret codes for the government. This work makes Nash feel important and useful, but causes him to become paranoid when he thinks the Soviets are after him. Both delusions have a positive effect on Nash for a while, because Nash had few close friends and Charles and Marcee served as a substitute. Nash’s work with Parcher gave him the confidence to pursue his mathematical theories. Even though Charles, Marcee and Parcher are figments of his hallucinations, Nash was able to encounter them and still understand that they did not exist.

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    Alicia Nash was a loving and patient woman who never abandoned her husband, in spite of his delusions and nearly drowning their infant son. As a result, he trusts Alicia when she shows him the abandoned mailbox in which he has been leaving “top secret” documents, and agrees to seek treatment at a psychiatric facility even though he is convinced that the doctors are Soviet spies. Because of Alicia’s love and patience, Nash has the courage to deal with his disease, ignore the delusions and to re-enter the world of academia.

    John Nash’s mathematical brilliance led to his Nobel Prize in Economics and also to the code-breaking hallucinations that finally brought his illness to light. This brilliance was also the motivation to ignore the delusion so that he could return to Princeton and work as a mathematics professor and researcher. In spite of seeing Charles, Marcee and Parcher at every turn, Nash’s love of mathematics leads him to do whatever it takes to continue his work and ignore the hallucinations.

    I most identified with Nash’s relationship with his work. This passion for mathematics led Nash to overcome his illness and continue working in the field he loved. As a student, I know that I have to ignore the things that will distract me from my education, such as relationships with the opposite sex, relationships with friends, and the usual trials and tribulations of being a young person going to school (finances, car trouble, my work schedule). While I don’t have anything as horrific as a mental illness to distract me from school, everyday distractions often make it difficult to get to class every day and on time. Therefore, much like John Nash, I often have to ignore the things that will keep me from meeting my goals and to continue in the right direction.

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John Nash’s Relationships in “A Beautiful Mind” Short Summary. (2016, Aug 01). Retrieved from