Vertigo: A Darker Side of Human Nature Essays

Vertigo: A Darker Side of Human Nature Essays

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In the essay "On `Sleeping Beauty'," Francine Prose argues that the movie Vertigo is about "a sort of modified necrophilia: not exactly sex with a corpse - literal graveyard amour - but rather sex with a woman who only appears to have left the world of living" (223). This statement certainly has many ties to the movie. Vertigo, Hitchcock's masterpiece, secretly reveals men's sexual desire and obsession towards women, especially for those who appear to have lost touch with the real world. One may recognize the central character, Scottie, as a person who is surrounded by all kinds of emotional faintness due to his great loss of love. However, the action that Scottie has taken after the suffering tells the audience the whole different story; Scottie has committed "modified necrophilia" (223) as the movie progresses.

The movie Vertigo tells the story of John "Scottie" Ferguson, a hapless detective who becomes traumatized when he watches a fellow cop plummet to his death from a rooftop. This event leaves Scottie with a disabling acrophobia, which forces him to take a time off. During his break, an old friend Gavin Elster asks Scottie to come out of retirement to follow "Madeleine", his wife, and investigate her strange behavior. He reluctantly accepts, and while following her, ends up falling in love with her. His obsession and love towards Madeleine grows more and more as the time passes.

Scottie is a desperate man who, upon suffering the loss of his true love, descends into the pits of his very soul to redeem "Madeleine's spirit." After losing Madeleine, Scottie turns into a psychologically disturbed man. In the movie, his attitude towards Judy occasionally frightens the audience with his very obsessed facial expres...


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...e describes that "Scottie [has] turned the warm-hearted, down-to-earth Judy into an exact replica (a mannequin) of the icy, ethereal - and, by that point, dead - Madeleine" (224). This argument also leads to an idea of possessive sexuality, where Prose once said "they all seemed perfectly capable of telling the larger and smaller differences between a female college student and a Barbie doll. Moreover, the male's inability to see women as fully human ..." (225).

In conclusion, the movie Vertigo was not only about the male desire towards unconscious women and obsession, but also about a darker side of human nature. One may state that the movie is about passionate love but it clearly shows that the men can be fanatically preoccupied onto one another. Released in 1958, Hitchcock's Vertigo was an incredible exposition of sexually possessed love and obsession.

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