Study Guide

Seven Madness

Madness

MILLS: Who knows? So many freaks out there doing their little evil deeds they don't want to do.

Is this a definition of madness—someone doing something he or she doesn't want to do? Are people who are "mad" acting against their will? If so, does this make John Doe mad? He definitely wants to be doing what he's doing.

MILLS: The voices made me do it. My dog made me do it. Jodie Foster told me to do it.

This is Mills in one of the movie's funnier lines. Jodie Foster is a reference to John Hinckley, Jr., who shot Ronald Reagan to impress the actress. It didn't work.

MILLS: Come on. He's insane. Look. Right now, he's probably dancing around in his grandma's panties, rubbing himself in peanut butter.

Mills is on a roll here. He wants to demean John Doe to make him a less intimidating figure. Unfortunately, Doe is exactly the opposite of what Mills wants him to be.

MILLS: He's a nutbag. Just because the f***er's got a library card doesn't make him Yoda.

One more funny line here, as Mills tries to reduce John Doe to a crazy person, although we're not sure if they have libraries on Dagobah.

SOMERSET: There are 2,000 notebooks on these shelves, and each notebook contains about 250 pages [...] Placed on the shelves in no discernible order. [...] Just his mind, poured out on paper.

Besides killing people, the craziest thing Doe does might be compiling these notebooks. If these crimes were happening in the days of the Internet, Doe would have the most insane Twitter feed ever.

JOHN DOE [in journal]: What sick ridiculous puppets we are. What a gross little stage we dance on. What fun we have dancing, f***ing, not a care in the world. Not knowing that we are nothing. We are not what was intended.

This is one of Doe's crazier thoughts. It sounds like he's quite the nihilist here. And, in slightly different language, this is exactly how Somerset feels. Is he crazy, too? If that's true, what is the point of his mission? Does he think he can change this?

CAPTAIN: About the only thing we know about that guy right now is he's independently wealthy, well educated, and totally insane.

The captain jumps on the "John Doe is insane" bandwagon because the more murders they discover, the harder it is to believe that anyone reasonably sane could be committing them. But, what is a "sane" murder, anyway?

SOMERSET: If John Doe's head splits open and a UFO should fly out, I want you to have expected it.

Mills might provide some comic relief, but Somerset gets in what might be the film's funniest line. John Doe doesn't even seem human by the end of the movie. Maybe this was the studio's alternate ending to explain everything?

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