Essay on Psycho by Alfred Hitchcock

Essay on Psycho by Alfred Hitchcock

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Psycho by Alfred Hitchcock


     A running theme that is presented to the audience in Psycho is the opposition that exists between good and evil. This is shown throughout the movie among the different characters. Examples can also be taken from conflicts within the characters. Certain conflicts and how the characters deal with them and each other are what shape the structure of the movie. The perception that the audience receives of the characters change throughout the movie by the different conflicts that arise. These conflicts show the audience many sides of good and evil portrayed by the different characters.

     One of the first impressions of evil in this movie is the character Tom Cassidy. His character is an affluent middle aged gentleman. He portrays society’s perception of America’s upper class, snobbishly rich. Cassidy flaunts his money in Marion’s face. He talks of his eighteen-year-old daughter who is getting married the next day. As her wedding gift he is buying her a house with forty thousand dollars cash. He claims that she has never had an unhappy day in her life. Though this is unrealistic, he proudly boasts about how his money is to thank for this. Another thought from Mr. Cassidy is that money does not buy happiness, but it buys off unhappiness. His interaction with Marion was brief but very vital to the next turn of events.

Mr. Cassidy asked Marion point blank if she was unhappy. Her reply “not inordinately” shows that she is not completely happy with her life(Hitchcock). The major source of her unhappiness is the fact that she can not marry her beloved Sam until he gets his feet on the ground financially. She then takes Mr. Cassidy’s advice on using money to buy off her unhappiness by stealing his money. Marion never makes a clear-cut decision. Packing her suitcase suggests that she has decided to go through with taking the money. People are able to commit acts they know are immoral only if they inhibit their conscious processes (Rothman, 262).

Leaving the money on the bed while she packs suggests that she is unsure of her decision. Forcing herself to just “do it” she packs her car and leaves, heading for Sam’s hometown. While stopped at a stoplight she sees her boss and Mr. Cassidy crossing the street. This is the first sign to Marion that her attempt to steal the money is futile. Her thoughts are becoming less and less r...


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...she heads downstairs to look for her. As she does this she sees Norman running frantically for the house. She steps into the fruit cellar for a place to hide. Instead of finding a sanctuary she is terrified by the skeletal remains of an old woman. With this finding Lila cannot control herself and she screams aloud. With this a woman with long white hair runs down the cellar steps towards Lila with a huge knife. Sam screams right before the woman has a chance to harm Lila. A battle of strength between Sam and the woman then takes place. During the struggle a wig is knocked off of the woman’s head revealing Norman.

The audience is in disbelief at this point. The next scene takes place at the police station. Where a psychiatrist is busy talking to Norman. When he is done examining Norman he goes into the room where Lila and Sam are anxiously waiting. He then describes in detail what is going on in Norman’s mind. After his explanation the movie goes into the room where Norman/Mother is sitting alone. There is a fly in the room with her and she knows that people are watching her. Her last thought that the audience hears is her saying “Why she wouldn’t even harm a fly” (Hitchcock).

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