What is the importance ofrecurring motifs to anunderstanding of
Power &FreedomThe motif of power and freedom seems to suggest that men hadthese privileges in the past but not in the present time. GavinEstler tells Scottie that he misses the days when men had“power and freedom”. This motif also appears again whenScottie is researching Carlotta and the bookshop owner explainsthat the wealthy man who controlled Carlotta and took away herchild was able to do so without punishment due to men havingmore power and freedom to do such things in those days.Scottie is constantly reminded of his lack of power and freedomthroughout the film and he longs for the days when he felt hehad these things. We as an audience assume this to be the timebefore his near death experience on the rooftop, which is one ofthe scenes in the film where we see Scottie in his mostvulnerable state – suggesting a lack of power. Scottie himselfmentions “freedom” and “power” when he is dragging/chasingJudy up the stairs near the end of the film.
Bouquets ofFlowers The bouquet of flowers is a very subtle but important motif within Vertigo. We first notice the flowers when Scottie follows Madeline to a market where she purchases a small bouquet, which we later find out replicates the one in the picture of Carlotta. Some say that this bouquet is a representation of Madeline – delicate, perfect, beautiful. The audience sees the bouquet several times but one of the most noticeable/memorable times is when Madeline is stood at the edge of San Francisco bay plucking the petals off the flowers and throwing them into the water. It has been said that this destruction of the bouquet mirrors Madeline‟s self-destruction while she prepares to throw herself into the bay. After Madeline‟s death we are shown a graphic depiction of Scottie‟s nightmare in which we are shown an animation of a bouquet, similar to Carlotta‟s, swirling round being disintegrated. This has been described as “a symbolic representation of Madeline‟s death”. During the time when Scottie is trying to transform Judy into Madeline he buys her a single flower. This is not to remind the audience of the bouquet as some might expect, but instead is a reminder that Judy does not possess the same perfection as Madeline did, however she does hold a small „seed‟ of it. This suggests to the audience that Scottie transforming Judy into Madeline make her a more ideal character/woman.
Tunnels &In Vertigo Tunnels and Corridors seem to be a representation of the passage towards death. The firstCorridorstime we see an example of this is in the rooftop scene at the beginning of the film, whereby Scottie isclinging to a gutter for his life and the camera looks over his shoulder, straight down the side of thebuilding and uses a tunnel effect to emphasise the „passage towards death‟.During the scene where Scottie and Madeline visit the forest, Madeline describes the recurring dreamshe‟s been having and states that she “walks down a long corridor” and that nothing but darkness anddeath wait for her. She also describes a „corridor-like grave‟ waiting for her.Another example of the motif is when Midge walks away from Scottie for the last time, where we seeher walk down a long corridor that darkens around her. It has been said that this symbolises a „death‟of Midge as she loses all hope of rekindling her romance with Scottie.This motif is most acknowledged in the scene outside Judy‟s apartment when she comes back dressedas Madeline. Her walking out of the darkness and up the tunnel (corridor) suggests the resurrection ofMadeline.
SpiralsThroughout the opening credits there are a range of different spirals shown, the mostevident being the spiral that emerges from the woman‟s eye. This immediateintroduction to spirals makes the audience more likely to notice the recurring motifthrough the rest of the film. In the first scene when we see Scottie‟s colleague fallfrom the rooftop and land on the street below, his limbs are splayed in the shape of aspiral which could suggest that the events have taken an unexpected turn, whichallows the audience to assume this will happen throughout the rest of the film.We are next presented with an obvious spiral during the scene where Scottie followsMadeline to the museum where Carlotta‟s portrait is presented. In the scene thecamera zooms in on Madeline‟s hair which is pinned up in a bun shaped like a spiral,symbolising the mental and physical „wind-up‟ that Madeline will put Scottie through.The final spiral we take note of is the staircase that leads to the tower. The first timeScottie runs up it to stop Madeline from committing suicide we see his vertigo stophim being able to save the woman he loves. This is emphasised by the camera shotthat tunnels down the middle of the staircase.The structure of the film could also be symbolic of a spiral. It seems to be a cycle ofScottie falling in love with a woman, then losing her to death. He does this with bothMadeline and Judy.
Thank you for wat chin g! watching! By Rhiain & A lex Alex