From the beginning, Norman Bates was perceived as ‘shy and nervous, but still friendly’ sort of character. He seemed to have a crush on Marion but she already had a man. This lead to audience sympathy which soon changes to an uncomfortable feeling when his hobby of taxidermy is revealed. The stuffed birds in the movie often symbolize and reflect certain characters’ personality. In the case Of Norman, the birds used to symbolize are mainly shown in the parlous scene where he is eating dinner with Marion.
There is a large owl with its wings spread out on one side and an equally large crow on the other side of the room. There are also smaller rids like sparrows on the table next to where Marion is sitting. Owls and crows are mainly predator birds and as they are shown looming dauntingly over the sparrows, this could symbolize Normal’s predator status over Marion. This is the first thing that symbolizes his sinister nature as it shows him having a superior power over her. The use of birds could also symbolize his conflict with his mother when he states, “… But she’s harmless.
She’s as harmless as one of these stuffed birds. ” This statement could be restated as he thinks of her as harmless because she is dead and unresponsive like his stuffed birds. This sets a creepy mood in the scene and enhances his sinister nature as he doesn’t show much regard to the fact that he’s comparing his mother to a dead bird. These examples prove that symbolism is very important when establishing the mood that Norman is setting in a particular scene. Much of the symbolism used also leads to revelations made in the future so these examples also lead to foreshadowing.
Foreshadowing is another key aspect used in enhancing the sinister and creepy personality of Norman Bates as it gives you insight into his mindset and starts leading you to taking inferences on his sanity. For example, during the dinner in the parlous scene, Marion asks Norman if he’s ever considered sending his mother away to an institution as a way of getting away from her controlling nature. Though she didn’t mean it offensively, he is immediately angered and says, “… A boys best friend is his mother. ” and “… E all go a little mad sometimes. ” This could mean that his mother is an incredibly vital part of his life as he is defending her. It is an example of foreshadowing as it leads to revelations later on where she is such a huge part Of his life because she basically ‘is’ him or his ‘other persona’. Another example of foreshadowing would be when he says, “… She’s as harmless as one of those stuffed birds. ” As those birds are dead, it would be foreshadowing because it is basically implying that his mother is also dead.
Foreshadowing is also shown in the scene where Norman dumps Marina’s car (which also held her dead body in it) as he is seen smiling while the car sinks. Any normal person would be fretting anxiously and freaking out, probably not smirking as they commit a crime. This example would be foreshadowing as it shows him possibly having some sort of psychotic disorder because he doesn’t act as a sane person loud and it lead to revelations of how in the end, he did actually have a mental issue.
Therefore, foreshadowing is a very important aspect used in the film to support, enhance and give greater understanding to Norman dates’ mindset and way of thinking. Equally as important as foreshadowing in the movie is also the lighting used to establish a darker characteristic in Norman. Lighting is an important tool used in the movie that supports details about Norman being a dark and sinister character. Though it is a black and white movie, Alfred Hitchcock did a marvelous job showing the differences between good character and bad character with the use of lighting.
The lighting would get darker or brighter in a different Scene depending on whether it is Norman that is being shown or an opposing character. For example, when Marion and Norman were talking in the parlous, Marion always seemed to be brighter than everything else while there was a constant shadow surrounding Norman. This was particularly strange as they were in the same room and the backcloth was also the same for the two of them. This supports the idea that Norman is the antagonist as he is shown in the shadows which is most often accompanied with dark characters in movies.
Another example of how lighting enhances his evil persona would be during the shower scene. Everything in the bathroom is all white and illuminated but as the ‘psycho’ approaches, there is a darkness that fills the entire room as Norman (or Mother) approaches to kill Marion. This was very effective to showcase his character as it made him seem really dark and unapproachable. A final example would be at the very end of the movie, when Normal’s psychological disorder is revealed and ‘Mother has taken over’.