Introduction a cultural piece of work from the director



Cinema is widely known to be an element that has throughout
the years helped to advance psychoanalysis, thus why there has been an
influential connection between particular films and certain characters that
resemble and almost mirror most psychoanalytical theories which have been developed
by psychoanalysts Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. It can be argued that the
Freudian theory mainly gives a deeper insight in psychoanalysis which
correlates more to cinema, particularly highlighting Sigmund Freud’s
personality development which involves the Id, Superego and Ego thus why
majority of films and cinema have more of a deeper relationship and insight
within his theories than Jung would have. Psychoanalysis has developed over the
years and the modern aspect of it not only focuses on the unconscious but
emphasises the means of capable works of cultural values through the use of cinematic
films. Hitchcock’s movies had a huge impact in psychoanalysis mainly to do with
their deep connection between psychoanalytic theories conducted by Freud at the
time. The cinematic film ‘Psycho’ (1960) is still to this day seen to be a
cultural piece of work from the director Alfred Hitchcock with themes of the
Oedipus Complex and personality development due to the clashes of the egos in
them as it is stated that the movie itself relies very much on Freudian
theories. For many reasons, this particular Hitchcock film is used as an example,
due to the many Freudian connections in the movie. Specifically, ‘Psycho’ as it
is noted by many film analysts and historians at the time as the first appropriate
“psychoanalytic thriller” (Kaganski 2010). As self-explained by the
title of the film, it is a movie that is directly based on the Freudian theory
of the Oedipus complex. Till this day within modern society, cinematic films
are still used to describe and represent psychoanalytical theories and Freudian
theories through the use of art and culture.

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About the artefact


The cinematic movie ‘Psycho’ (1960) was directed by the famous
director Alfred Hitchcock however was based on a novel written by written by
Robert Bloch (1959) who based his novel on a disturbingly true story of an
excessive serial killer who was known to be psychotic. Many critics describe the
film ‘Psycho’ to be part of genre that involves fatalism and the mood of pessimism
in which the characters for example ‘Norman Bates’ lives a life that has not
been fulfilled and human desires are not reached (Palmer 1986). The Freudian
element to this movie especially, comes across the aspect of the construction
of Norman Bates personality type. First of all, the movie starts with a traumatic
incident that affected Norman Bates which then caused a sensation of, this then
causes almost a loss of “the self” which explains why Norman’s mother’s
death that caused him to act out psychotically. Therefore, it is suitable to
mention that Hitchcock’s film ‘Psycho’ is structured and almost based on the
psychoanalytic procedure and theory. The film ‘Psycho’ starts with the
character Marion Crane who is an office worker, her boss asked her to handle
$40,000 for the business, Marion saw this as an opportunity to start a new life
due to the fact she can’t marry her boyfriend due to money problems, therefore,
she leaves town with the money and ends up in a motel in which Norman Bates a
young boy with a pressurizing mother manages due to a heavy rainstorm that
disrupted her trip to California. However, during the night at the motel Marion
changed her mind about escaping with the money and decides to return back to
her work place with the money the next morning. Unfortunately, during that same
night at the motel, Marion decides to take a shower and while she is taking a
shower, an anonymous individual enters her bedroom in the motel and stabs her
to death. Throughout the movie, it is later on revealed that Norman has kept
his mother alive within his mind due to his multiple personalities, therefore
the fact his personality is mainly dominated by his mother’s existence within
his mind, Norman murders anyone he personally feels attracted to. In the final
scene of the movie, viewers find Norman in prison, traumatised by his mother’s
self, thinking of how to prove his innocence and not plead guilty of murdering
multiple people due to his psychotic condition.


Oedipus Complex and
Freud’s theory relating to the artefact


The ‘Oedipus Complex’ is a psychoanalytical concept theory that
was developed by psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud in 1910 and the theory itself was historically
advanced from an ancient Greek tragedy in which Freud used to interpret childhood
development into adult development and how an individual’s shape of personality
occurs due to their parents. Within the idea of psychoanalyses specifically,
the famous Freudian theory states that all young boys are destined and born to
direct their first sexual drive unconsciously towards their mothers and direct their
violent impulses towards their own father and the Oedipus Complex is stated to
occur within the specific age range of three to five years old during a child’s
phallic stage that Freud also describes as the stage that if a child is born
into an ‘abnormal family set up’ then it may lead to the child having unusual
relationships with its mother and/or father which may lead to the child growing
up with characteristics such as vanity, self-obsession, sexual anxiety and
feelings of envy (Freud 1930) also again occurs within the stages of
adolescence, therefore Freud concluded from this theory that if the young boy
at this stage does not restrain his sexual drive towards his mother he cannot and
will not be able to develop a normal personality later on in his life. In
relation to Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho’ it is suggested that the theory of the Oedipus
Complex is seen to be the main psychoanalytical connection from the cinematic movie
as the character ‘Norman Bates’ reflects upon this idea of expressing sexual
impulses towards his mother (Boulton, 2010). The character of ‘Norman Bates’ is
a clear example of an individual (a young boy to be exact) not repressing his
sexual drive towards his mother and later on proven that this is the reason he
killed his own father which was out of jealousy as his father took his mother
away from him, thus directing his violent impulses on his father and directing
his sexual desire towards his mother thus why the character of Norman Bates is
a clear example of the outline of the Freudian theory the Oedipus Complex.
However Norman Bates committing these crimes self explains why he later on
developed a split personality due to his guilt he tried to keep his mother
alive by living her ‘life’ for her in his own persona and mind. Overall the
cinematic movie of Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho’ is a vivid example of how the Oedipus Complex
occurs and how it can disrupt an individual’s personality and way of thinking
later on in adult development and this is shown through the character of Norman
Bates and his relations with other characters such as Marion and others he
murdered such as his father. This cinematic film is also self-explanatory on
how an individual may act out when guilt is transferred upon them. This therefore
amplifies Sigmund Freud’s theory and illustrates at the time how psychoanalysis
was developed after watching psychological films such as Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho”


How the Id,
Superego and Ego relate to the artefact


Another Freudian theory that Sigmund Freud adapted in
psychoanalysis was the development of the personality structure. Freud divided
an individual’s personality into three sub divisions; the id, the superego and
the ego. The ‘id’ is known to be the most important part of the personality
structure that Freud developed at the time. The ‘id’ is described as the part
that allows individuals to meet our personal basic needs, the id is seen to be
developed when new-born and Freud believed that the id is particularly based on
our ‘pleasure principle’ specifically aiming to suggest that an individual’s id
wants whatever seems pleasuring at the time with no thought of morality or
being realistic. The ‘superego’ is another part of the structure of personality
and the ‘superego’ is described to be what controls the id’s needs and has the
function of persuading the ego to turning into a more realistic and moralistic perspective.
The superego involves two sub-systems; the conscience and the ideal self. The
conscience is known to punish the ego through creating feelings such as guilt
and regret and the second sub-system which is the ideal self is described to be
an imaginary thought of how you may be or what you may become, for example it may
represent aspirations, goals and how to appropriately behave as a member of today’s
society. Lastly the third sub-division of the personality structure that
Sigmund Freud developed is the ego. The ‘ego’ is known to be the organized and
most realistic part that moderates between both of the id and the super-ego
that creates desires and needs. The structure of personality that Freud
developed, specifically has a connection with the cinematic film ‘Psycho’ as
the character Norman Bates showed feelings of guilt when he killed his mother
and felt the need of comfort through his id so acted out and ended up having a
split personality with his mother to fulfil his need of comfort. However, he
also lacked having some sort of personality structure thus why he is described
as a very disturbing character within the movie, therefore explaining how if personality
is disrupted from a young age it can later on affect the adult development
stages as Freud states when explaining the stages of fixation as Norman Bates
developed a dysfunctional superego. The Bates Motel itself can also be seen as
an ideal explanation of the three structures of personality. For example, the
top floor can be reflected as the superego as the mother lives on the top
floor, and it acts as the moral aspect over Norman’s conscious. Then the ‘ego’
acts as the ground floor of the Bates Motel which acts as a reality principle in
which Norman allows himself to control his impulses. And the Id is seen as the
basement of the Bates Motel where darkness is illustrated and his pleasure principle
comes out no matter what he has to do or how he has to act to fulfil his needs
at that moment.


How certain scenes
and certain characters in the artefact link to psychoanalysis and Freudian


The scene where Marion is brutally stabbed to death in the
shower is one of the most famous scenes in the film. The fact Norman Bates
murdered Marion while she was taking a shower with a knife is not seen to be coincidental.
As it can be argued that it may have a deeper meaning in relation to Freudian
theories and psychoanalysis. At the beginning of the movie it may appear to
viewers that Marion was going to be the protagonist of the entire due to the
fact the movie began with her stealing money and her asking a shower may
represent the water acting as a way to wash away her guilt for being a thief to
her business and boss and suddenly this was disturbed by a shocking flash of
violence and a scene of death. This may be in reflection to what might be occurring
in Norman Bates psyche as he may have thought his life was going well or when a
child he was destined to have a good development in life however this was
disturbed by the death of his father and his disturbed development of the
phallic stage. Relating to the phallic stage again, the knife in represent in a
Freudian perspective can also be justified to mirror a phallic symbol. In a
psychotic manner, Norman Bates fulfilled both his needs of feeling jealous over
his mother and fulfilling his own pleasure by penetrating into Marion’s body. The
second murder scene, involved the detective Arbogast. This scene wasn’t as
shocking as the first murder scene of Marion’s death. When Arbogast entered the
Bates Motel it was predictable that something horrifying was going to occur. There
is a main difference that is clearly different between both murder scenes that occurred
in the movie and is hard to avoid the idea of the split personality Norman
Bates has, thus why it is exaggerated how relatable Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho’ is to
Freudian theory and culture throughout the years.


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