Dualism in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho Essay

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The characters in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960) each have a dual nature that is masterfully portrayed through character development and use of mirrors throughout the film. The very first shot in Psycho is zooming in from an open view of the city where it is a bright and sunny day. As the shot zooms in further and further it comes into a dark and shaded room that shows Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) and Sam Loomis (John Gavin) having an affair in a undisclosed hotel. This is dualistic image is just one example of many that Hitchcock has placed in this film.
Marion Crane is the first main character that is focused upon for the first half of Psycho. “All that Marion Wants, after all, are the humble treasures of love, marriage, home, and family.” (Brill 227) [up and down] This is the reason why Marion steals the money in the first place. The money is her first real chance at escaping the life of meeting at cheap hotels in secret. The opening scene shows the lack of money and personal isolation that Marion has while making love in secrecy in a hotel that “aren’t interested in you when you come in, but when your time is up.” Marion is desperate for any type of companionship with Sam even claiming she would happily live in the spare room at his work.
The progress of Marion in Psycho is followed very closely by her appearance and her apparel. “…the bag is a transgressive agent associated with stealing, escape, and independence.” (Gottlieb, Brookhouse 151) [Sarah Street 151] Before any crime was ever committed, Marion wore a white bag that matched her underwear and her clothing. After the money was taken, she made a choice to place the envelope of money in her black bag, rather than her suitcase which would completely hide the mone...

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... Marion Crane eventually ends up slumped over, very dualistic to that of a bird with a broken neck staring blankly upward. The stare of death that remains on Marion’s face is a mirror image of the birds that hang in the parlor of the motel, permanently stuck staring out from death.
The angles of the shots when Marion and Arbogast are being murdered are from a very high up view to symbolize even further to create a duality between Norman’s mother and a bird. “Hitchcock’s camera, initially indentified with the love-bird, now comes to occupy the gaze of the death-bird in a series of high-angled shots that accompany the murder of Marion […] swoops down to murder Arbogast on the landing of the gothic staircase.” (Gottlieb, Brookhouse 296) [Richard Allen] Both murders relate to a frenzied bird swooping down from high above and attacking its prey with its vicious beak.

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