The Symbolism of Alfred Hitcock’s the Birds Towards Frederick Nietzsche’s Theory of Morality as an Artificial Restraint on Nature

Topics: Friedrich Nietzsche, Religion, Alfred Hitchcock Pages: 3 (1186 words) Published: April 17, 2013
In Alfred Hitcock’s The Birds, birds of all species all around the globe start to riot and spread havoc as they consistently begin to attack humans in flocks of waves. The theme of the film represents an act of revenge of nature towards humans due to our lack of morality to respect it and treat it as gentle and humble as it treats us. In the film it simply states that “millions of years of memory” stored in the birds' “little brains” have produced “this instinct to destroy mankind.” Hitchcock reflected this rationale when in a radio advertisement for the film he declared: “If you have ever eaten a turkey drumstick, caged a canary or gone duck hunting, The Birds will give you something to think about.” Presumably, this “something” is the possibility of nature exacting vengeance on humanity for, as Mrs. Bundy notes in the restaurant scene, its insistence on "making it difficult for life to exist on the planet." This theory is directly correlated towards the idea of Fredrick Nietzsche’s on morality as an anti-nature. Nietzsche declared that “God is dead,” in his rationale that “science had altered the balance between humans and nature … and that the commitment to religious belief of earlier times would give way” (Kaufmann 713). He speaks of passion, symbolized by the birds in the film, as a negative force that popular religious factors have embedded us morally to “stifle people’s natural behaviors” in an “often destructive impulse[s]” to make us “agree that we must kill the passions” (Kaufmann 715). This is evident in Nietzsche’s essay of “Morality as an Anti-Nature” when he states: “Formerly, in view of the element of stupidity in passion, war was declared on passion itself, its destruction was plotted; all the old moral monsters are agreed to this: il fault tuer les passions” (qtd. Kauffman 717). Although the film gives no explicit explanation for the bird attacks on the coastal hamlet of Bodega Bay, humanity and nature are nonetheless presented as both separate...
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