Into the Mind of Freud through the Mind of Hitchcock
One of the philosophies that Hitchcock tackles is that of Sigmund Freud. Freud is known for psychoanalysis and his interpretation of dreams. Specifically, Freud’s theories can be seen with the character of Scottie in Vertigo. John “Scottie” Ferguson, who is the main protagonist in the film, is controlled by many factors in his subconscious which lead to his weaknesses and downfall. Some of those weaknesses include his vertigo and the way he deals with the death of Madeline. Furthermore, Hitchcock uses psychoanalysis to put you into the inner thoughts of characters like Scottie in the film.
One of Freud’s theories is the interpretation of fear. In Vertigo, this fear is represented by falling and Scottie’s “vertigo”. In Interpretation of Dreams, Freud says that “Dreams of falling are more frequently characterized by anxiety.” Scottie’s irrational fear of heights in characterized in the first scene of the film when he lets a fellow officer fall to his death because of he height he was at. Scottie embodies this fear which validates the theory as well as him showing Hitchcock’s great understanding of philosophy. Paul Duncan in his book Hitchcock: Architect of Anxiety, 1899-198...
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...ncept of being defined by their actions, Hitchcock shows the effect our actions have on our perception and on others around us. This concept added to the film allows the audience to think about how they are living their lives and how we can positively change our perception.
It is evident that Hitchcock’s Vertigo has vast philosophical undertones. Whether he did it intentionally or not Hitchcock shows knowledge of Freudian, humanistic, and existentialist theories. This makes for very broad interpretations of the films meaning which was not Hitchcock’s ultimate intention. His intention was for the viewer to see Vertigo as they wish to see. If they wish to view it as Freudian, humanistic, existentialist, or otherwise it is not an incorrect interpretation. The interpretation of the viewer is what best conveys the theme, message, and plot of Vertigo.
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