Learning ObjectivesIdentify Key Terms: • Vertigo Introduce the ‘Castration Complex’Apply the Castration Complex tokey scenes from Vertigo
‘Vertigo’ Vertigo “a sensation of dizziness or abnormal motion resulting from a disorder of the sense of balance”The fact this is the films title gives us reasonto think that Vertigo is a key component ofthe film and the characters and deservesclose inspectionThe sensation of Vertigo is created byHitchcock in these scenesIt was created by zooming forward whilstthe camera tracks backwards
‘Vertigo’In his essay “Hitchcock’s Films Revisited: Vertigo” film theoristRobin Wood writes: “The sensation has been explained Ibelieve, by psychologists, as arising from the tension between the desire to fall and thedread of falling... an idea it is worth bearing in mind in relation to the whole film We are made to understand what it feels like to be so near death, and to have deathmade so temptingly easy – a way out of pain and effort”
‘Vertigo’We do not see him get down and it appearsthat there is no way down for ScottieIt could be argued that the entire film is apsychological journey through the mind ofScottie as he contemplates both thepossibility of life and the possibility of givingup •Do you agree with thisThis idea introduces the theme: DEATH AS statement?BOTH ATTRACTIVE & FRIGHTENING as amajor theme of the film •How could you argue that this was true?
The Castration ComplexThe castration Complex is an area of psychology developedby Sigmund Freud “Castration Anxiety is the conscious or unconscious fear of losing all or parts of the sexual organs, or the function of them”According to Freud, when a child (male)becomes aware of both male andfemale genitalia he assumes that thefemale’s penis has been removed andbecomes anxious that his penis may becut off by his rival (father)
The Castration ComplexCastration Anxiety may also be metaphorical and refer tobeing castrated metaphorically – to have a masculinefeature removedThis can refer to being degraded, dominatedor made insignificantMen will usually go to extreme lengths tosave their pride and/or perception restoredThe quest for restoration can often take theform of proving virility or sexual dominance
The Castration Complex How can we argue that Scottie has been a victim of the ‘castration anxiety’?During the film’s opening sequence Scottie, aPoliceman whose purpose is to protect others, failsand see’s a cop fall to his death attempted to savehimHe develops ACROPHOBIA and suffers from Vertigo (A masculine features is removed from Scottie)He is removed from duty and his role in society hasbeen restricted from him – he has effectively been‘castrated’
The Bell TowerAnalyse the following scenes and makenotes on the following:At what moments does Scotties weaknesshinder him?How does his Vertigo restrict his masculinefeatures? • What he is unable to do when he suffers Vertigo?How does he attempt to cure hisAcrophobia?
The Bell TowerThe Bell Tower in the film was designed as aphallic symbolScottie encounters his castration as he findsout that that Madeleine is out of his controland runs up the bell towerWe see here that he is suffering fromCastration Anxiety and that he believescastration can be cured by up-ward movementAs the film progresses he continually tries to
The Bell TowerScottie is unable to prevent the death ofMadeleine because his Vertigo restrictshimHe is effectively restricted from protectingothers (a part of his previous life) – arepresentation of his castrationRead the notes on your handout andhighlight key points