"How does Alfred Hitchcock explore the duality of human nature in the film Psycho?"

Topics: Psycho, Light, Alfred Hitchcock Pages: 5 (1765 words) Published: February 21, 2005
Alfred Hitchcock uses many ways to explore the duality of human nature in his films, especially in the 1960 horror thriller Psycho. The duality of human nature represents our inner self, aspects that are mainly opposites, the light showing good, the dark showing evil, the natural and the unnatural, are just some examples of human nature. Hitchcock explored the duality of human nature using ways such as lighting, dialogue, camera angles, music, comparing and contrasting what different characters would do when facing the same problem and individuation. According to Carl Jung, individuation is when a person confronts they inner side (usually the dark, negative and evil side). He believed that successful individuation meant that a person not only confronted their dark side, but conquered it as well and that people needed to recognise and confront the negative aspects of their personality or their "dark" side would destroy the person. This means that inside everyone, there is a darker side, an evil and bad side, that must be confronted, or it will ruin you. By looking at the two main characters Norman and Marion, and two minor characters, Sam and Lila, we can see the duality of human nature. Both Marion and Norman are being confronted with their inner dark self, yet, Marion conquers her dark side, while Norman lets it take over his life. Sam and Lila, however, are mostly seen as good and "natural".

There are many key scenes throughout the movie Physco, which explore the duality of human nature. Some of these scenes include the opening scene, the scene in which Marion is driving away after taking the money and the parlour scene.

The blackness of Psycho's opening credits sequence symbolizes death and the opening scene of Psycho starts with a pan view of the cityscape of Arizona. The shot, from a wide pan into a dark bedroom, leads the viewer into a dark, secretive space, showing the viewer immediately that we will witness something secretive and dark occurring during the film. The viewer also knows that the theme of hiding from something is established, as the two are hiding their affair, and Sam is hiding, or shying away, from marriage to Marion. We learn that the two have money problems, from Sam, who says, "I sweat to pay off my father's debts and he's in his grave. I sweat to pay my ex-wife alimony, and she's living on the other side of the world somewhere", and "A couple of years and my debts will be paid off, and if she ever remarries the alimony stops." Marion knows the only problem between the two of them is money, and that if it wasn't for money, the two could be together. It is at this time, that Marion begins to confront her inner self, the need for more money, so she herself can marry Sam, and not have to worry about her job. When Marion returns to work after her "lunch hour" she complains of a headache. When Marion' s boss asks her to deposit $40,000 for him, "I don't even want it in the office over the weekend. Put it in the safe deposit box in the bank and we'll get him to give us a check on Monday instead..." Marion sees this as a chance for her to finally be with Sam and solve all her financial problems. Behind Marion's desk are paintings of sprawling lands, including images of trees, woods and natural landscape. These images juxtapose her isolation and show her desires for freedom.

The scene in which Marion is driving away from Phoenix is also a key scene in which Hitchcock explores the duality of human nature. We see Marion driving away, after she leaves Phoenix and after she meets with the Police Officer, trades her car, and as she does so, the audience sees how uneasy she feels, the tension in her expressions, and we hear the imaginary voices she is hearing in her head, about what may be happening because she has taken the $40,000. Marion is thinking about what the consequences of her "theft" were, and what is happening back in Phoenix. The audience hears the voices in Marion's head, the voices of...
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