To this end, the essay will present a brief biography of Mel Gibson. It will then apply lifespan development theories in an effort to find out why he seems so self-destructive and angry. Finally, this essay will apply two theories of personality in an effort to illuminate Mel Gibson's inconsistent behavior.
Mel Gibson is fifty years of age. Although he is generally considered to be an Australian, he has strong connections to the United States of America. He was born in Peekskill, New York, the sixth of eleven children. Mel's family moved away from new York City when he was quite young and they settled on a farm. Mel's father worked seven days a week and was often away from home; consequently, the family was raised primarily by their mother. She was unable to drive, which only contributed to the secluded nature of his upbringing. They were very much an isolated family.
In 1964, when Mel was only eight years old, his father suffered a serious injury and lost his job as a brakeman for the New York Railroad. In the short-term, times were difficult. The family had to leave the farm, which by all accounts they enjoyed, and move into smaller and cheaper accommodations. Mel's older siblings were forced to find jobs to help support the family. In addition to the financial austerity, Mel's father was a strict and devout Catholic who had at one time studied for the priesthood. His father was known to speak disapprovingly of the moral decline of the sixties and to preach severe adherence to traditional Catholic doctrine (Mel Gibson Biography, 2003: np).
Mel's family then experienced some good luck. Mel's father won $145,000 in compensation for the aforementioned work injuries, and then he won an additional $21,000 on the Jeopardy game show. This was a substantial amount of money. Mel's father decided to move the family to Australia. During this trip to Australia, the family stopped at many international destinations. Mel visited Ireland, Scotland, England and Rome. Being Catholic, the family toured the Vatican. When the family finally arrived in Australia, Mel was enrolled in a strict Catholic school, St. Leo's College. Mel was known to have rebelled against the strict Catholic regime and to have been harassed by schoolmates for his American accent. Mel described this experience as getting "whacked around for smoking, fighting, not following their stupid rules" (Mel Gibson Biography, 2003: np). He was subsequently pulled out of this Catholic school and enrolled in a state school where he "became a proper Aussie bloke, drinking , brawling and the rest. He did date a little, but usually with his mates along, being extremely shy" (Mel Gibson Biography, 2003: np).
Upon graduation, Mel considered both the priesthood and a career in journalism. Initially, he worked as a laborer at a bottling factory; his sister, however, persuaded him to apply for admission to the National Institute of Dramatic Arts at the University of South Wales, and he was admitted. Mel grew a beard and left his hair long. Suddenly, he conquered his stage fright and became a very successful student performer. He soon thereafter started getting small film roles and had a brief relationship with a woman named Deborah Foreman "who, once it was over,