The Symbolism Of Death In The Film Vertigo

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Vertigo is an excellent example of how cinematography can be used to express the symbolic nature instilled in a story’s script. Alfred Hitchcock’s direction of the picture creates a complex enigmatic atmosphere, rarely fully understood by the casual audience or even the most experienced of film critics. One, of the many thematic undertones in the film, Vertigo utilizes the motif of tunnels and corridors as a symbol for the path to both literal and figurative death. This prevalence of death is in association with the theme that death is both alluring and terrifying to the characters in the film. In the first scene of Vertigo, the main character Scottie is seconds away from his imminent death as he hangs from the ledge of a tall building. His…show more content…
She says that she is thinking “Of all the people who were born and died while the trees went on living.”, and doesn’t like knowing she has to die. The tension climaxes here as Madeleine finds the release of death irresistible yet is frightened by the prospect of a looming end. She expresses explicit morbidity in the sequoia forest, stating that “everything must die” and comparing the years to her death to the rings of a cut tree. Madeleine shares a recurring dream with Scottie in which she walks down a long corridor where nothing but darkness awaits her. She also dreams of a room in which there is a corridor-like open grave. Her character seems to have evolved in this scene for the purpose of keeping Scottie close. He, already infatuated with her, has more reason to “mend” Madeleine as her attraction to death seemingly increases. In reconsideration, it is actually Judy Barton’s true voice exhibited here. Judy realizes that once she fakes Madeleine’s suicide, she will cease to physically exist for Scottie and their burgeoning love affair will inevitably end. The ruse of Madeleine and her death is also a figurative death to Judy who can no longer express her adoration of Scottie. The meaning of the trees’ name, sequoia sempervirens, indicates Scottie’s later obsession of recreating Madeleine long after her death and keeping her

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