Aestheticizing Murder: Hitchcock’s Rope, Nietzsche, and the Alleged Right to Crime of Superior Individuals

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This paper explores intersections between nihilism, the death of God, and the aestheticization of murder by considering the use of Nietzsche’s theory of the overman in Hitchcock’s Rope. This theory is invoked to justify the gratuitous murder around which the film’s plot revolves. Although the interpretation of the overman in Rope does not substantially differ from other stereotypical readings of Nietzsche’s philosophy put forward in the twentieth century, Hitchcock’s film is nonetheless particularly interesting for it explores the fundamental issue of intellectual responsibility. The paper will thus focus on the most philosophical aspects of Rope, paying particular attention to its literary sources and contextualizing the reference to Nietzsche’s overman. The final section will be dedicated to the analysis of both Nietzsche’s and Hitchcock’s role in the progressive tendency towards the aestheticization of murder in nineteenth- and twentieth-century European culture.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationViolence and Nihilism
EditorsLuís Aguiar de Sousa, Paolo Stellino
Place of PublicationBerlin, Boston
PublisherDe Gruyter
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9783110699210
ISBN (Print)9783110698954
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022


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