The Destruction of Identity in Vertigo, The Tenant, & Mulholland Drive

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The Destruction of Identity in Vertigo, The Tenant, & Mulholland Drive

The rudimentary form of narrative storytelling lends itself towards application to an individual subject’s life story due to the correspondence of a narrative’s finite bounds and the subject’s mortality. Vertigo (dir. Alfred Hitchcock, 1958), The Tenant (dir.
Roman Polanski, 1976), and Mulholland Drive (dir. David Lynch, 2001) are consistent with this idea because their narratives follow an individual human subject from an anecdotally significant beginning to their death. I will argue that the anthropomorphized narrative compels the subject’s suicide through the misrecognition of personal identity.
This occurrence brings about the themes of narrative
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Action motivates the story and conveys it temporally. (Barthes 18-
The proairetic code is the only one without which a narrative cannot subsist. The motivation in sequence establishes a dynamic plot, ceaselessly decreasing the distance from its conclusion. Aristotle clarifies the concept of narrative motion in The Art of
Tragedy is essentially an imitation not of persons but of action and life, of happiness and misery. All human happiness or misery takes the form of action; the end for which we live is a certain kind of activity, not a quality.
Character gives us qualities, but it is in our actions—what we do—that we are happy or the reverse. In a play accordingly they do not act in order to portray the characters; they include the characters for the sake of the action. So that it is the action in it, i.e. its fable or plot, that is the end and purpose of the tragedy; and the end is everywhere the chief thing.
(Aristotle 37)
The symbiotic relationship of characters—these are created with what Barthes terms the connotative code—and action seems menacingly inseparable, however Aristotle resigns the confusion to the narrative’s impetus. He argues that the character’s connotations are subordinate to and dependent on their actions, because the actions are the exclusive

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