Rebel without a Cause


Throughout Rebel Without a Cause, Plato displays some very disturbing behavior. The movie opens to our heroes being taken in by police for various crimes. While Jim and Judy had committed minor, fairly harmless crimes, Plato had killed innocent animals. He shows little to no remorse for his actions suggesting psychopathic tendencies. Further on towards the end of the movie, he displays similar behavior. When threatened by others, Plato acts overly violent. His aggression draws far past the instinct of self defense; He seems to nearly disconnect from reality and achieve a state of hyper aggression.


Through the layered writing of the movie, it is made very clear that Plato has abandonment issues. From my observations, I hypothesize that Plato misses his father significantly more than his mother. While his mother is still somewhat involved, his father is completely vacant from his life. An obvious scene which entertains this idea is when Plato received an alimony check from his father. He immediately escalated to state of rage involving taking a gun with next to no context of what he was going to use it for. These triggered fits of rage almost clue at psychosis. Another example that proves that Plato longs of a father more than a mother is his immediate connection with Jim. While Jim may be at the same age as Plato, he is a strong male character which can be seen as role model. Plato shows little to no connection to his female caretaker, while he shows near obsession to Jim.

Emotionally Undeveloped

While nearly all the of the characters in this movie seem to have a Sixth grade emotional level, Plato especially stands out. As I've discussed before, Plato lacks cognition to his emotional response. More than often he acts without thinking, like when he pulled out a gun after discovering his father's alimony check.

Family Issues

It is very apparent that Plato didn't have consistent parental figures in his life. His father is far gone from the picture and his mother is always away. More detrimental than Plato's parent's vacancy is their lack of love for him(a problem which Judy shares), this is the ultimate factor of his delinquency. Examples of this include when Plato's mother spends his Psychologist money on a personal trip to Hawaii, or when Plato's father sends his alimony check with no other context.


The chickie run in Rebel Without a Cause symbolizes the desperation and intensity of need for acceptance and social recognition in teenagers. In this competition, two young men risk their own lives in order to determine who's stronger than the other or who's the 'chicken'. This type of competition is very instinctual, but has become obsolete in our society.


Plato's actions and behaviors resulted in his untimely death. This did not give him the opportunity to change, even when he had the potential with the support of Jim and Judy. This factor makes Rebel Without a Cause a tragedy, some many conflicting factors could've changed Plato's fate.


Exploring the roots and causes of teenager's delinquency is a major theme in this movie. Our three rebels; Jim, Judy, and Plato all experience issues at home, especially with their parents. These teenagers act out in result of their relationship with their parents. Jim's mother and father argue constantly, and he wishes his dad would 'man up' more. Judy's father refrains from displaying affection towards her, causing her to seek out attention by dressing more racy causing her relationship with her father to grow worse. Plato simply lacks any love or even recolonization from his parents.

Which rebel is the most severely disturbed?

Plato is the most disturbed rebel, to the point in which his behavior results in his death. As I've stated before, Plato's delinquencies are far more severe than the other rebels. None of the other rebels was responsible for killing or harming another being. Plato often even displays behavior in which is seems he is disconnected from reality causing his emotions and experiences to be amplified.