Analysis of the suspense of Vertigo from the perspective of narrative

Topics: Alfred Hitchcock, Suspense, Audience Pages: 4 (1114 words) Published: November 25, 2013

Analysis of the suspense of Vertigo from the perspective of narrative


Hitchcock was known as the master of suspense, his films are good at making suspense from various perspectives (Sloan, 1995). Many articles have analyzed Hitchcock's suspenseful movies systematically from the elements including the cause, construction, characteristics and limitations. This article would explore the suspense-making of his film Vertigo from the perspective of narrative. The film uses the objective and subjective narrative way to enhance the depth of story. In order to create suspense and make the audience to immerse in intense viewing expectations, Vertigo manufactured visual spectacle and create an ever-changing dramatic tension. In this essay, the author would describe the narrative line of Vertigo first. Then, the analysis of suspense would be given.

The narrative line of Vertigo

In Vertigo, there is limited omniscient narrative but also omniscient narrative. Omniscient narrative means the film offers viewers a wealth of information about the story and they know more information than all the characters in the film (Abbott, 2008). Limited omniscient narrative refers to views’ information is confined to a certain character (Kirszner& Mandell. 1993).

The narrative model of Hitchcock's suspenseful movies basically follows the classic Hollywood narrative modes that create suspense and surprise through a compact plot (Thompson, 1999). The plot of Vertigo is not complicated. It contains two main narrative lines. Scottie tracks Gavin Elster's wife Madeleine, because he believes that Madeleine's soul is controlled by his grandmother was her and Madeleine is life-threatening. Scottie began his track in dubious. As the track progresses, he falls in love with Madeleine and believe her soul is controlled by Elster's grandmother. But then, because of his fear of heights, he cannot arrive to the top of the tower to save Madeleine when she commits suicide....

References: Abbott, H.P. 2008. The Cambridge Introduction to Narrative. London: Cambridge University Press.
Kirszner, L.G. & Mandell, S.R. 1993. Fiction: Reading, Reacting, Writing. Florida: Harcourt Brace & Company
Sloan, J.E. 1995. Alfred Hitchcock: A Filmography and Bibliography. United States: University of California Press.
Thompson, K. 1999. Storytelling in the New Hollywood: Understanding Classical Narrative Technique. United States: Harvard University Press.
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