Gregory House
by Ngoc Bui

Gregory House, M.D. is a fictional character in a self title series on FOX network portrayed by Hugh Laurie. House works at the Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital as a head of the Diagnostics Department specialize in infectious disease and nephrology. House’s character was been described as a misanthrope, cynic, a narcissist, curmudgeon, witty, self-righteousness, sarcastic, stubborn, clever and so on. His character is often being compared to Sherlock Holmes.

Early Life
House was born on June 11, 1959. House was a product of an affair between his mother, Blythe, and family friend who was a Unitarian minister, at that time she was married to John House. House’s father was a Marine pilot who was away on active duty overseas. Because of his father, most of House’s childhood and adolescence, House had lived in a variety of countries, such as Egypt, the Philippines, and Japan. House is fluent in several languages including Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese, and Hindi. House did not have a good relationship with his demanding father. House once tells this story about his father “...he liked things the way he liked them. And he believed in discipline. He was right, I suppose, because I hardly ever screwed up when he was around. Too scared of being forced to sleep in the yard or take a bath in ice." (#312). House often rebelled against his father and was punished by John House. Those punishments cause House to have physical and emotional discomfort. Despite the fact that House was not John’s biological son, John still treated House as his own son. Because House has many disagreements with his and he was always on the move causes House to be something of a loner. Therefore, House uses his interested in many different activities, such as chemistry, playing the piano and guitar to keep him occupied.
House got admitted into Johns Hopkins Medical School. House was one of the best students with a very high GPA. However, he was caught cheating and was expelled. Later House got accepted in Medical School of the University of Michigan. House completed his college degree in nephrology and infectious diseases.
House was romantically involved with Stacy Warner, and both of his colleagues Dr. Lisa Cuddy and Dr. Allison Cameron. Stacy Warner was a lawyer. They went on a horrible first date, but however, she moved in a week after and they separated after five years. During those five years, House suffered from muscle death in his leg. House reject the suggestion for amputation and instead he underwent a procedure to bypass circulation around the dead muscle result in intense pain during the healing process and further resulted in cardiac arrest. Then House was put into a chemically induced coma. Stacy Warner, acting as House’s medical proxy, decided to go with Dr. Cuddy’s suggestion to remove the death muscle that save House’s life but left him with a permanent pain in his right leg. Stacy and House separated after that incident. House relied on his best friend Wilson for emotional support and narcotic pain killer Vicodin for relief.

Psychoanalytic Aspects of House’s Personality

Oral Stage - House is definitely stuck at the oral stage. Throughout the series, we see House always either swallowing his narcotic pain killer Vicodin. Just like a child turn to their mother’s breast or the bottle for satisfaction and security, House turn to Vicodin for help every time he experience pain in his right leg. Often he over uses the pain killer medication, and mistreated for his comfort medication through stressful events.

Oedipus Complex - House is also suffering with Oedipus Complex. Throughout his childhood, House has involved in many disagreement with his father, John House. Because John was a very strict and demanding man, House cannot make a mistake when John is around, or he would be force to sleep in the yard or take ice bath. House has this unresolved unconscious tension of fear with his dad. A successfully developing boy turns to identification with his father (Friedman,Schustack,73). This explain House’s demanding personality upon his colleagues. We can see House’s demanding and crude responses his colleagues in these dialogs.

House: "So, when I said "no psych meds", I'm just curious, which word didn't you understand?"
Foreman: "The Haldol had nothing to do with the bleed. You know that. I used it purely as a chemical restraint."
House: "Oh, great, well, that's good to hear. So she won't experience any of those pesky little side effects you get when your motives aren't pure."
(Season 1, The Socratic Method)

A Contemporary Trait Approach: The Big Five

House would score possibly a 3 on extroversion scale. House have trouble making friends, but the problem here is not because he is introverted, but because have trusting issue and unable to open himself to anyone. However, House is not afraid to say what is on his mind so that would put in a little further away from the introversion scale. Also, House might be a lazy person, but when a mystery diagnostic sparks his interest, House will be the most energetic and enthusiastic and try his best to solve it.

House: "I've been alienating people since I was three." (Season 1, Detox)
A patient's wife: "You got a big 'Keep Out' sign stapled on your forehead."
(Season 1, Sports Medicine)
Cameron: House doesn't believe in pretense. Figures life's too short and too painful. So he just says what he thinks." (Season 1, Pilot)

House would definitely score a 4 on agreeableness scale. Even though, to people who do not know House, example a patient, would thinks House is a sarcastic, cold, snarky old man who like to mocks people’s weaknesses, however, House seem to care for his colleagues and his patient. House’s willingness to take risks and experiment with his patients extends to his own health.

House would score a 2 on the conscientiousness scale. House is a very careless person. House dress in un-iron jeans and button down shirt, with an old blazer. House have this dirty poor hygiene looks. He also likes to take risk on patient’s life and not thinking about the consequences that he might put himself into.

House: "take risks; sometimes patients die. But not taking risks causes more patients to die, so I guess my biggest problem is I've been cursed with the ability to do the math."
(Season 1, Detox)

House would score a 5 on the neuroticism scale because his emotional stage sometime is stable and sometime is instable. House is calm and contented when he is treating his patient. That way he can tell the diagnostic in one observant look. Other times, House is often moody and tense because of his leg’s pain.

An example when House is contented:
A patient: "Why did you fight for me? You risked so much, and you hardly know me."
House: "You're my patient."
(Season1, Control)
An example when House is moody:
House: "This is exactly why I created nurses. Clean up on aisle three!”

House would score a perfect 10 on the openness scale. Based on his early life biography, House cultivated a variety of interest in chemistry, music, sport, and most of all mysterious diseases. House sometimes would go to the extreme sometime even hurt himself to solve the mystery diagnostic.
House once injected himself with blood from a sick patient to test if a blood transfusion caused his symptom (Season 4, You Don’t Want To Know)

Wilson: "You know how some doctors have the Messiah complex, they need to save the world? You've got the Rubik's complex, you need to solve the puzzle."
(Season1, DNR)


David Shore (Writer) & Brian Singer (Director). (2004) FOX TV [Television Broadcast] House M.D. (Season 1)
David Shore (Writer) & Leslie Glatter (Director). (2007) FOX TV [Television Broadcast] House M.D. (Season 4, You Don't Want To Know)
Gregory House. Retrieved April 10, 2010, FROM
Friedman, H. S., & Schustack, M. W. (2009). Personality classic theories and modern research.
Boston: Pearson.