The protagonist, Ivanovich Poprishchin is a titular councilor who has noted his sentiments in a diary. From the onset of the diary, it appears that the protagonist is unsatisfied with the way he is treated at his job, stating that the chief has been unpleasant to him and he has been informed he often “rush about as though he was possessed”. The protagonist believes that his colleagues are “certainly envious” of him because he is favored by the director (Gogol, 1852, p.2). From the protagonist’s diary, it seems that he is not involved in any romantic relationship although he reveals an interest in his director’s daughter, Sophie, often getting hopelessly lost” whenever he sees her (p. 2). Moreover, it appears that the patient likes things to be in order, making it clear that one of his colleagues who is an “ungainly” associate has a “shabby coat” and an “ugly mug”. But he likes the fact that everything in the office is done “proper and gentlemanly” and there is more “cleanness and elegance” (p.2). He argues this is the main reason why he had not resigned. This suggests that the protagonist could be exhibiting symptoms of OCD.
One of the unusual aspects about the protagonist is that he wrote that he heard two dogs(Meggy and Fidel) having a conversation-claiming that he ‘heard’ a voice called Meggy, and Meggy replied “No, Fidel, you are wrong”. The fact that the protagonist believes he heard the two dogs conversing is strange because one knows that dogs do not speak, so he could be hallucinating. Although he is astounded to hear the dogs “talk human language” he considers it no more a surprise because “these kinds of things have already happened”. The protagonist is also convinced that he discovered letters the dogs write to each other. He claims he heard Meggy declare that “perhaps Polkan did not bring you the letter” (p.3). according to the Protagonist, the writing of the letters looked somewhat “doggish”.Although the protagonist knows that dogs do not talk nor write, he makes it clear that these kinds of things have already happened and that he has been hearing and seeing things that no other man has heard or seen, suggesting that he may be hallucinating.
As the diary progresses, the Protagonist is convinced that the letters contain information about him, claiming that Meggy describes his hair as a “truss of hay” (p.10). He is also convinced that the chief clerk wants to harm him stating that the man “hates me implacably” and has “plotted against me”. This suggests that the protagonist could be imagining people intending to hurt him. On page 11 of the diary, it becomes apparent that the protagonist is imagining things because he believes that he is the newfound king of Spain, stating that “Spain has a king; he has been found, and I am he”. The protagonist’s thoughts also seem to be erratic because he no longer knows the months nor how long they last for. For example, he refers to his diary entries as “Marchember 86, February 30th, 34 March and February, 349” (p12, p13, p14). This is an indication of disorganized thinking because there is no month named Marchember nor is there a month that lasts for 86 days.
Moreover, he notes February 30th, claiming that he is in Spain where there are cast-iron roads and the “steamers go very fast”. This shows that the protagonist has lost rational thinking because he does not realize he is in a mental institution, thinking that he is in Spain to rule and all the blows to his head are “ceremony of old-time chivalry” (p.13). His beliefs become more bizarre when he is convinced that the “moon is repaired in Hamburg and that humans cannot see their noses because they are on the moon”. This is an indication of the protagonist’s delusional beliefs because when he is being tortured in the asylum, he thinks that these are signs of “powerful customs in Spain” (p.14.). In the last entry of his diary, it seems that the protagonist has realized he is not in Spain to rule. He describes the anguish he endures noting that they “take no notice of me” and do not “see nor hear me”. The protagonist also cries for his mother to come to his rescue because he can no longer endure the pain.
Based on the DSM-5 and the symptoms displayed by the protagonist, three possible diagnoses can be a made-schizophreniform disorder, schizoaffective disorder, or Schizophrenia. These are the possible diagnoses because the protagonist seems to be displaying hallucinations and delusional symptoms. For example, from the onset of the diary, the protagonist reports that he “heard a voice call” and later makes it clear that two dogs are having a conversation. This shows that the protagonist was perhaps hallucinating because one knows that dogs do not talk. For the protagonist to be diagnosed with schizophreniform, the following criteria must be met, A. Two or more of each of the following-delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, grossly disorganized or negative symptoms, exist for a significant amount of time for a duration of 1-month or less. B.an episode of the disorder lasts at least 1 month but less than 6 months. C. Schizoaffective disorder and depressive disorder have been ruled out because no major depressive or manic episodes have occurred concurrently with the active-phase symptoms. D. The disturbance is not due to the physiological effects of substance abuse. The protagonist’s symptoms meet 2 out of the 4 DSM-5 criteria (C, D). The protagonist’s symptoms lasted for more than one month, so he did not meet criterion A because one does not know how long the protagonist’s symptoms are going to last because he was taken to the mental health institution.
The second possible diagnosis for the protagonist is that he might be suffering from schizoaffective disorder. According to the DSM-5, an individual must meet four criteria to be diagnosed with this disorder. A. an uninterrupted period of illness during which there is a major mood episode. B. there must be delusions or hallucinations for 2 or more weeks in the absence of a major mood episode during the lifetime duration of the illness. C. Symptoms that meet the criteria for a major mood episode are present for most of the total duration of the active and residual portions of the illness. And D that the disturbance is not caused by the impacts of a substance or another medical condition. Based on the protagonist’s diary, he met two out of the four criteria because he displayed symptoms of delusions and hallucinations for 2 or more weeks. Secondly, the disturbance was not caused by the effects of substance or a medical condition as one is not sure of any medical conditions the protagonist may be suffering from.
The third possible diagnosis for the protagonist is schizophrenia. Based on the DSM-5, the protagonist must exhibit the following symptoms in order to be diagnosed with schizophrenia. A. two or more of the following-delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, and grossly speech. B. For a substantial amount of the time since the start of the disorder, level of functioning in areas such as work have declined. C. Constant signs of the symptoms endure for at least 6 months. This 6-month period must include at least 1 month of hallucinations and delusions and may include periods of prodromal or residual symptoms. D. Schizoaffective disorder and depressive disorder have been ruled out because no major depressive symptoms have occurred alongside the active-phase symptoms. E. The disturbance is not due to the physiological effects of a substance. F. If there is a history of autism spectrum or a communication disorder of childhood onset, the additional diagnosis of schizophrenia is made only if delusions and hallucinations are prominent. Symptoms of the protagonist meet 5 out of the 6 criteria for schizophrenia. Although the protagonist does not meet criterion C, as one does not know how long the protagonist’s symptoms endured for, the fact that he was talking to an asylum indicates that his symptoms may persist for longer periods.
Based on the DSM-5 criteria, one has established that the protagonist is suffering from schizophrenia because he met most of the criteria for schizophrenia. For example, the protagonist displayed grandiose delusions where he imagines he is the new king of Spain. His delusions persist to a point where he believes Spain and China are the same country and that a barber wants to spread Mohammedanism all over the world. Although his symptoms meet most of the criteria for schizophreniform, his hallucinations and delusions persisted for more than one month-worsening to the point where he is taken to an asylum so one has come to the conclusion that schizophrenia is an appropriate diagnosis for the protagonist. However, one would like to further investigate delusional disorder and OCD as the protagonist displayed symptoms of these conditions. Further investigation allows one investigate the reasons for these symptoms and rule them out if not applicable to the protagonist.