Nosferatu begins with a man by the name of Hutter going to visit Count Orlock’s castle in Transylvania to try and sell him a house located in the town of Wisbourg, Germany. When Hutter arrives at the castle, he is able to get the Count to purchase the house. He later comes to believe that the Count is really a vampire, based off of a book he just read, due to the bizarre occurrences in the castle and impending feeling of darkness he feels presiding over the castle. The Count leaves Transylvania on a ship and makes it to Germany, leaving Hutter locked in his castle. Hutter manages to escape and rushes home to try and save his wife, Ellen, who is in the very town the Count is moving in to.


Looking specifically at the fears laden in Nosferatu, we see many. One, we see the theme of otherworldliness. Nosferatu is this rat-like early “Dracula” character, with long fingers, big eyes, and bat-like ears. He appears very animalistic, and definitely does not look like a normal member of society. This stems to the red scare and the fear of immigrants common at the time (refer to history of the time). Psychologically, we can look at Nosferatu as mentally ill in his animal-like urges, which Freud would relate to repressed sexual urges. The act of his drinking the blood of a young maiden clad in her white (virginal) nightgown is full of sexual meaning, and appears to mimic the act of intercourse. Freud would argue Nosferatu to be a representation of the impulses of the id acting freely without the control of the ego or superego to control his sexual drives or impulses.


The theme of religious upheaval can be seen too, in the tainting of the young and virginal maiden, Ellen. In the film, Nosferatu’s victim willingly opens her bedroom window for him to invade her room (in a trance-like state) before going to bed. Nosferatu comes to her bed side and sinks his teeth into her neck, and Ellen arches her back as though in deep pleasure. For the times, this demonstrated the shifting away from the pure Victorian ideology of a woman to a more sexual woman, who was moving out of the eye of the catholic church and into a new era of science. The woman began to revel in their sexuality and dance in clubs in outfits that would have shocked earlier women. These heavy sexual undertones in Nosferatu indicate the fear of a moving away from traditional views of women and religion. With abandonment of religion comes, as some would argue, the losing of certain morals (like no sex before marriage – which Ellen symbolically thwarts in this film).




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