The Role Of Mothers In Notorious, Pyscho, And 'The Birds'

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In nearly all of Hitchcock’s films, behind many male characters lies a strong mother figure. In keeping with Freudian psychology, the mother plays an important role in our understanding of the characters. During his career, Hitchcock’s own mother had passed away and many critics speculate that he crafted these mothers to express those repressed emotions. Three films with particularly interesting mother characters include Notorious, Pyscho, and The Birds. Each have a very unique backstory but remain a central part of the movie’s storyline and our understanding of the son. In Notorious, Madame Sebastian is a vicious and controlling mother figure. Pyscho features a mother that controls half of Norman’s mind, and The Birds displays a mother with…show more content…
Unlike Psycho and Notorious where the mothers are directly causing violence towards other women, Lydia seems much more passive. We learn from Annie that she does not fit the Freudian model, rather she might just be afraid of losing her son. The fact that Hitchcock decides to even have a character bring up the Oedipus complex though is notable. Lydia acts hostile towards any woman that she believes her son might leave her for. For her, it seems that Mitch is both her child and almost a husband figure. Mitch returns home every weekend and refers to his mother as “darling” and “dear”. In something of a foil, we learn that Melanie’s mother is very much the opposite of Lydia, instead of overbearing that she got up and left. Everything down to the hair and dress of Lydia and Melanie shows the conflict that Mitch must choose one or the other, between motherly love and romantic love. This conflict leads to a battle of jealousy between the three main women in the film, but primarily Lydia and…show more content…
Once Lydia no longer felt threatened by Melanie the attacks subsided. Lydia was also one of the few characters to remain unscathed by the birds. Annie was killed and Melanie was debilitated during the attacks, but after that the birds became tame. The motherly jealousy was lost when the two suitors that her son might leave for were no longer seen as a threat. Like a bird, Lydia was very protective of her children and it took until Melanie was helpless as a child for the attacks to end. Once again it can be seen that the mother, this time more indirectly, was responsible for the violence that occurred to the women around her

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