Monstrosity Within Psycho Essay

1530 words - 6 pages

Natasha CoxThe character of Norman Bates in Hitchcock's 1960s Psycho, allows the audience to sympathise with his monstrous behaviour and understand how isolation, domination, and subordination help to create the monstrosity that is within Norman. We see this through the cinematography, narration, and sound used in the film. Due to his isolation from society he falls into a dark place and commits murder. The narration in this film helps show that Norman is dominated by his overbearing mother, and it is the warped relationship that helps us sympathise with Norman instead of hating him. Within this film Hitchcock recreates our ideas of what it means to be a monster, is it the actions that one performs that makes them a monster, or is it what has driven him to be so monstrous that is the true monstrosity?Norman Bates is a monster in the eyes of viewers purely because of his violent acts of murder, coupled with his perverse stalking tendencies. Within this film Bates murders Marion and Aborgast, and we later find out he murdered his own mother and her lover ten years ago. When an audience envisions a monster, they would typically see a grotesque Frankenstein like creature. Norman Bates, visually, does not strike the audience as a monster. If anything he looks like such an average man that anyone could completely overlook him as a side character in the film. Yet Norman Bates is a murderer. He is Hitchcock's most violent and well-remember monstrosity. We see Bates as a very real type of monster. These violent crimes are brought on by his fragile mental state, yet we are only aware of the true extent of Bates crimes towards the end of the film. We see this beginning in one of the very first conversations Marion and Norman share. The camera shots used help to create an illusion of Norman as a stalking figure in Marion's life, even though they just met. When Norman leaves Marion in her motel room for the first time, Hitchcock leaves us with a frontal framing shot that is completely different from the shots used in the rest of the scene. (Rothman, 1982) His reasoning for doing this creates the illusion that the camera is now what Normans gaze would have been had he not left the room. It create an uncomfortable feeling that even though Marion is alone in her room, she is still the object of Normans gaze. This frames him as a stalking, obsessive, and domineering character. Hitchcock uses many subtle camera shots to show these aspects of Norman's character. This idea of Norman as a sexual predator is only doubled when he leaves her room, only to return to his office where he moves a painting aside, ironically the biblical painting of Susannah and the Elders, (Bellour, 1986) to reveal a hole in the wall that allows him to see into Marion's room as she undresses. A key-hole effect is used, to allow the audience to 'see what Norman is seeing'. (Bellour, 1986) This scene cuts between the close up shots of Norman's eye watching Marion, and a key-hole medium shot of...

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