Use of Duality in Alfred Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt


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Use of Duality in Alfred Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt

Alfred Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt utilizes dualism to express the juxtaposition of good and evil. The dualism expressed throughout the film is not only done through the use of juxtaposing characters, it is also accomplished through the use of dualism within a character, as well as the literal duality of people as being placed in shots as two’s. This element allows the audience to be drawn in, creating intrigue and mystery around the plot and the characters, because the audience now wants to figure out the strange behavior that is being exhibited. Having the dualism of the two Charlie’s allows the idea of them being two sides of one person to come out. Young Charlie is an innocent young woman, while Uncle Charlie is a murderer. The two seem to have a connection that’s deeper than the average niece and uncle relationship. This connection allows the dualism of the two Charlie’s to take on a life of its own and create a game of cat and mouse or the struggle between “hate and love” of oneself. The dualism that Hitchcock wants to create with the two Charlie’s is similar with the way he juxtaposes the all-American small town family with the “Merry-Widow Murderer” Uncle Charlie. It’s as though Hitchcock is making a social commentary on the nature of human beings, that we all have good and evil within us, the idea is choosing the part that will be expressed in your daily life.

The ending of the film follows the dualism that is exhibited throughout the film. Uncle Charlie gets killed (the good won over the evil) and during his eulogy we see young Charlie talking about Uncle Charlie and his actions juxtaposed by the wonderful things being said about him in the eulogy. This blatantly points out the dualism that Hitchcock works hard to incorporate throughout the entire movie.

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The dualism allows the audiences to be intrigued and be able to actually see the point that Hitchcock makes about human nature and the myriad of different sides to it. Having the duality involves the audience as well as allows the plot to be simplified for the audience. By using specific placement and specific characterizations of characters, Hitchcock allows for a deeper understanding of the message he’s trying to send.



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