The scene in Midge’s apartment reveals that Scottie was a fairly average man firmly rooted in reality before his near-death experience. Scottie was a lawyer who joined the police force as a detective in hope of one day becoming chief of police. But Scottie has become acrophobic and is so disturbed by his condition that he quits his detective job. His restlessness and aimlessness are so palpable that when he takes a job sleuthing for Gavin Elster, he is perfectly positioned to get caught up in the world of dream and illusion that Elster and “Madeleine” create for him. He yearns for his life before the accident on the roof, and Madeleine’s apparent possession by a figure from the past is attractive to him, despite his initial skepticism.
By the time Scottie attempts to re-create Judy in Madeleine’s image, it is clear that he has become completely lost in the world of illusion and fantasy—so lost that he can no longer articulate rational reasons for his behavior. When Judy asks him what good it will do for her to “become” Madeleine, Scottie answers very genuinely that he doesn’t know. And yet he is driven to make the transformation happen, even at the risk of driving away Judy. The revelation of Judy’s true identity shatters Scottie’s illusion. Rage at the dissolution of his dream and at Judy’s trickery now possesses him.