Christian Bale

By: Christina Torres



Christian Bale is a famous English actor. He was born in Wales in 1974. He is famous for his roles in The Empire of the Sun (only 13 years old), American Psycho, The Machinist,
Batman Begins, and Terminator Salvation (Biography for Christian Bale). His role in The Empire of the Sun is what first got the attention of the public. In 2011 he won an oscar for Best
Supporting Actor for his role in The Fighter and a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor for the same film. These are just two of many that he has been acknowledged for. His
grandfather was a stand up comic, his great-uncle was an actor and his mother was a former circus performer (Christian Bale). It only seemed natural that Bale also go into show
business. He is the youngest child with three older sisters. Two also chose a career in the entertainment business; one being a musician and the other an actress (Christian Bale). Bale
landed his first job at nine years old in a British television commercial (Biography for Christian Bale). His father was a commercial pilot so his family never stayed in one place for a long
period of time (Christian Bale). He has lived in several countries such as England, Portugal and the United States (Christian Bale). He currently lives in California with his wife Sandra
and daughter Emma.

Neo-Analytic Perspective

The neo-analytic approach is based on the Freudian psychoanalytic approach, but theorists expanded the perspective to more broadly describe the self. Carl Jung's theory says the
psyche is divided into three parts. The first part is the ego which is the conscious part of personality. The ego embodies the sense of self. The second part is the personal unconscious
which contains thoughts that are not currently part of conscious awareness. The third is the collective unconscious which is a part of the mind that has a deeper level of the
unconscious. This part contains archetypes. Archetypes are universal emotional symbols. There are two archetypes that Bale portrays in his personality. One is the anima which is a
female element in a man. This archetype says that every man has a feminine side. Christian Bale shows his feminine side when he is accepting his oscar at the Academy Awards. He
showed some emotion and teared up when he said “[Thanks to] my wonderful wife and our little girl, who's taught me so much more than I'll ever be able to teach her” (Oscars). In our
society if a man shows any kind of emotion, it is considered feminine. The other archetype Bale portrayed was the persona and shadow. Bale puts on a socially acceptable front when
he is being interviewed, goes on television, or is accepting an award. However his dark side came out when he yelled at and threatened a fellow crew member on the set if the
Terminator Salvation. He lost his temper when the director of photography accidentally ruined a scene by walking onto the set (Bale Went Ballistic). Bale went crazy. He used profanity,
called the man an amateur and yelled at him in front of the entire crew (Bale Went Ballistic). In our society this is unacceptable and no one really expected this from Bale.

This angry outburst also shows an aggressive drive and an aggressive style in Horney's theory of basic anxiety. Bale was not happy that the crew member ruined his scene by walking
right into the view of the camera. Shooting this scene was a goal for Bale and he wanted it to come out perfect since it was part of his job. Horney believed that basic anxiety could be
directed at everyone, so the internal agitation would be focused outward on the world. People react to basic anxiety with a passive style, aggressive style or a withdrawn style. Current
findings within the neo-analytic approach say that later born children are more creative. Bale is the youngest child and his career choice makes him quite creative. Actors need to be
creative in order to bring life into each character they take on. Christian Bale also addresses Alfred Adler's social issues. The three social issues are occupational tasks, societal tasks
and love tasks. He completed the occupational task by pursuing a career in acting and taking it very seriously. He loves being an actor and did not want to do anything else. He
completed the societal task by developing friendships and creating networks which goes hand in hand with his career. He addressed the love task by marrying his wife and having a
family with her.

Traits and Skills Perspective

The trait and skills perspective focuses on the traits, motives, and skills aspects of personality. Within this perspective there are the five dimensions of personality known as The Big
Five. The five dimensions are extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness. Extroversion is how social or assertive a person can be. On a scale from 1-5,
five being the most extroverted, I would rate Christian Bale a 3. He easily makes friends with the crews on his movie sets, and he is in control of his life and can make his own
decisions. However, he is a very personal man and prefers to have a private life. He was quoted saying “I don't want to know about the lives of other actors and I don't want people to
know too much about me” (Christian Bale). He is not the kind of person to seek out the press. For agreeableness I would rate him a 4. His is altruistic and modest. He puts a lot of time
into charities such as Greenpeace, the World Wildlife Foundation and the Redwings Sanctuary (Christian Bale). In addition he and his wife own two dogs and three cats that they
rescued off the streets. Bale is also humble. When he was accepting his award at the Oscars he said, “What a room full of talented and inspirational people. What am I doing here?”
(Oscars). He is a well known actor with a lot of talent and he took the spotlight off himself to recognize the other gifted people in the room. I would give him a rating of 4 on
conscientiousness. He is a very hard working man and is dependable on going to work everyday. Bale is very serious and dedicated to his work. When he was hired for the lead role in
American Psycho, he prepared himself physically by lifting weights for weeks (Biography for Christian Bale). Furthermore, he lost more than 60 pounds for his role in The Machinist by
only drinking one cup of coffee and eating one apple a day (Christian Bale). He looked like a skeleton. For neuroticism I would rate him a 4. On the set of Terminator Salvation he lashed
out at the director of photography and lost control of his emotions. Lastly, I would rate him 5 on openness. As a successful actor he has a creative imagination and uses it to his
benefit. He is very open to new experiences and cultures because as a child he moved around a lot and had to adapt to new environments. The Big Five was created through factor
analysis which looks at the correlation between different traits. It predicts useful and important life outcomes, but it does not mean that these are the only traits found in personality.
There are narrower traits within these five broad ones.

Another aspect of the traits and skills perspective is meta-accuracy which is how we think other people view us. This is generally not great, but better under certain factors such as
mutual liking. Bale has an idea of how people view him because he is in public eye and is constantly being observed by audiences. In one specific situation, Bale knew how others
viewed him after his outburst because it was all over the radio and the internet. People said he thought he was better than everyone else and puts himself on a pedestal
(SirKnobofCheese). He disagrees because he knows how lucky he is to be in the position that he is in. Henry Murray was the founder for a study on personality that was based on
motives. Motives are internal psychobiological forces that help induce particular behavior patterns. They can also be personal strivings or life tasks. He found 4 needs that people had
when they wanted to respond in certain ways under given conditions. The four needs are need for achievement, need for affiliation, need for power and need for exhibition. The need for
achievement is the need to succeed on tasks that are set out by society. Bale is a great example for the need for achievement. He is an actor who is successful and wants to stay
successful. It is important for his movies to do well in the box office and to get good critiques because that is what society expects from actors and their films. The need for affiliation is
the need to win the affection of others. People who have the need to affiliate value friendships. The need for power is the need to seek positions and offices in which one can exert
control over others. The need for exhibition is the need to show one's self before others. People who have the need to exhibit like to entertain, amuse and shock others. Christian Bale
does not have this need. He prefers to keep himself hidden away from the public eye.


After researching Christian Bale and his personality, I found it somewhat difficult to get to understand who he is as a person because he does not like to put himself out there. In spite of
this I found that according to the neo-analytic perspective, society does have a large influence on the way Bale behaves in different situations. This is shown through the shadow
archetype in his collective unconscious. His unacceptable side of personality comes out when gets extremely frustrated with the director of photography. Otherwise, most of the time
the persona archetype is in place. This aggressiveness was also a way that Bale was coping with the anxiety and stress of making a great movie. The Big Five dimensions of the trait
and skills perspective make each person unique with the rating system. Motives also influence the way Christian Bale acts in society. His need for achievement makes him very
focused on finding movie roles and succeeded in them. I like the fact that Christian Bale loves acting, but does not want to get caught up in the movie star lifestyle. It makes him
different from all the other actors out there.


Bale Went Ballistic [Video file]. (2009). Retrieved from ballistic/
Biography for Christian Bale. (2011). Retrieved April 16, 2011, from IMDb website:
Christian Bale . (2011). Retrieved April 17, 2011, from Advameg, Inc website:
Oscars (Creator). (2011). Christian Bale winning Best Supporting Actor [Video file]. Retrieved from
SirKnobofCheese (Creator). (2009). Christian Bale Apologizes for Outburst [Video file]. Retrieved from