Psycho: Hitchcock's Schizoid Masterpiece

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Julianne Campbell
ENG 4U (Hachey)
October 1st 2010

Alfred Hitchcock's schizoid masterpiece Psycho cleverly portrays the theme of personality switching through characterization, setting and cinematography. There are two main examples of characters who show the sign of multiple identities. Norman Bates is a prime example of sort of personality switching, we see a major transition of his throughout this film. A not as obvious change is that of Marion Crane from a so-called good to evil transformation.

The first is the much more obvious Norman Bates. Hitchcock created Norman to be the epitome of the Oedipus conflict, he is a true “Mama's boy”, who would do anything to have his mother for himself. The audience learns in the film that his mother and step-father were found dead in bed further autopsy showed they were poisoned. Norman would have been furious to see this because of his sexual desires for his mother, he would see his step-father as a rival. It is impossible to not to take a reliable guess that Norman was behind the death of his parents. He finally has his mother to himself after their death, this is when Norman begins his transformation into his mother-his second personality. Marion Crane is also a fantastic creation of Hitchcocks'. He nowhere nearly as obviously portrays this message with her character; in the very first scene we are introduced to Marion and one of her multiple personalities, a secretive and less than respectable girl at play with her lover during her lunch break. Her character then shifts back to a humble secretary when she returns to work. Within the first quarter of the movie we see Marion transition from one the first personality to her second and then to the final personality she reflects when she flees the city.

Hitchcock's use of changing setting is a genius way to show the changing personalities of the two character previously mentioned. At the beginning of the film, Marion is dressed very light colours and...
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