Similarities Between Edgar Allan Poe And Alfred Hitchcock

1599 words - 6 pages

Similarities Between Edgar Allan Poe and Alfred Hitchcock Fear, terror and suspense are the most vivid emotions created by

Poe's stories and by Hitchcock's films. Several themes are common to
both:

the madness that exists in the world, the paranoia caused by isolation

which guides people's actions, the conflict between appearance and
reality

along with the double aspect of the human nature, and the power of the
dead

over the living. Not only the themes are similar in both men's work
but

also the details through which a story is written or shown. The
similar

themes and narrative techniques can be seen clearly in "The Fall of
the

House of Usher" and in Psycho.

For both Poe and Hitchcock, madness exists in the world. "The Fall

of the House of Usher" and Psycho are two very similar studies in
madness.

Roderick Usher and Norman Bates are both insane. They have many common

traits although they are also quite different. They are victims of
their

fears and their obsessions. Norman who seems agreeable and shy is, in

reality, a homicidal maniac who has committed matricide. He suffers
from

schizophrenia - he acts as both himself and his dead mother. Roderick

Usher appears strange from the beginning, almost ghost-like, with his

"cadaverousness of complexion" - however, he is not a murderer. He
suffers

from a mental disorder which makes him obsessed with fear: fear of the

past, of the house, of the dead. He finally dies, "victim to the
terrors

he had anticipated."

The way in which madness is projected in both stories is quite

similar as well. The short story and the movie both take place in a
dark

and gloomy house, a "ghostly house" - "a mansion of doom," writes Poe.
In

both houses there is the presence of a mysterious woman. For Poe, the

woman is Roderick Usher's sister Madeline who suffers from an
undefined

illness, seems to die twice, and appears as Roderick's double. For

Hitchcock, it is the mother who is at first seen as a murderer and
tyrant,

but who turns out to have been dead for years, and who lives only
through

her son's insanity. The death of both women is a source of mystery and

horror. In both stories the woman is kept in the lower section of the

house - Madeline in a coffin and Mrs. Bates as an embalmed corpse.
Other

narrative techniques tie the two tales: the dark and stormy night in
which

death takes place, the dead birds which Norman Bates stuffed - Poe's
most

famous poem is "The Raven" - the pond in which the House of Usher
disappea

rs and the pond in which Norman Bates entombs the cars and...

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