The “Allegory of the Cave” and the “Truman show.”
The“Allegory of the Cave” and the “Truman show.”
The“Alegory of the Cave” was a dialogue by Plato in the “TheRepublic” illustrating the impacts of education and in nature andwhat would happen if there was no education (Jowett, 12). Thedialogue was narrated by Socrates describing a particular group ofindividuals living while chained in caves throughout their lives.Because the people are bound on the cave fortifications, they canneither see whatever lies in their sides nor can they perceiveanything that is found on their backs (Weir and John, 86). As such,they can only recognize the objects that lay conventionally ahead ofthem. The individuals see the shadows created by passing objects andprojected on the walls.
Thestories of the shadows on the walls are the only thing they areexposed to, and thus the information from the images is the ultimatetruth and the reality (Janć, Petar, and Damir, 63). One of theprisoners was freed and watched the statues, and realizes that theshadows are not real and that they have always been exposed to thewrong information. The prisoner comes into the reality andunderstands that fire and statues are the real things while theshadows are false and non-existence (Weir and John, 97). The cave wasa stage which represented individual believes while the prisoner whowas exposed to reality was an individual who becomes aware that thereis truth beyond common beliefs.
Accordingto Plato, the philosopher was like a freed prisoner because they canperceive and understand the truth that is outside the common beliefsof people (Weir and John, 67). Individuals who perceive truth willhave attained the cognitive phase of thought where they understandthe goodness of nature. Consequently, individuals cannot be able toenjoy the fruits of knowledge until they perceive the reality of thething and attain truth altogether (Jowett, 34). Education is thus atool that can drag individuals out of common beliefs of falsehood inlife enclosures and direct then to reality and true freedom.
“TrumanShow” is an American satirical film released in 1998 featuring JimCarrey who in the film is referred to as Burbank Truman. The moviedirector is Peter Weir (Helen, n.d). Burbank is an unwelcome baby whohas been raised inside a massive dome and the events televised dailyto the entire world. The objective was to capture Truman’s behaviorand emotions. He is discouraged from traveling by instilling fear byprinting and broadcasting messages that demonstrate the dangers oftraveling, exposing him to a dog that makes him fear, subjecting himto fear water (become aqua phobia) and death of his father in atragic boat accident (Janć, Petar, and Damir, 57). Truman managesto behave in the way that the corporation that planned theconfinement did not expect.
Althoughhe was supposed to marry Meryl his co-student, he married Sylvia, anactress who planned and succeeds to take him away from cameras andcaution him that he was living a fake life. Despite being reassured,Truman remains confused until one day he succeeds to escape throughthe improvised tunnel (Helen, n.d). He manages to conquer the fear ofwater and takes a boat ride. Many attempts are made to prevent himfrom escaping such as attempting to sink the boat by broadcasting thestorm of artificial lighting and printing message meant to inculcatemore fear. However, Truman persists and can escape.
Theevents in the “Truman Show” borrowed heavily from the Plato’s“Allegory of the Cave.” The reason is that Plato’s cave couldbe interpreted to be the film’s gigantic dome that serves as astudio for broadcasting Truman’s daily life events (Janć, Petar,and Damir, 89). The people that they lived together in the dome werelike the shadows in the Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” and thusnot real people. The modern day improvement is the fact that theyhave been changed to people to make the presentation more real andperceivable in the contemporary setting. In the Plato’s “Allegoryof the Cave” one of the prisoners succeeds to free himself anddiscovers the reality of the situations.
Accordingto Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” the individual is aphilosopher because he recognizes the reality through cognitiveapproach (Janć, Petar, and Damir, 78). Similarly, Truman in the“Truman Show,” also manages to free himself from the dome andlearns how things are supposed to be and the reality of thesituation. Truman is modern day philosopher who will not relent untilthey have known the truth. In Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave”and Truman in the “Truman Show,” people are depicted asindividuals who are satisfied by what they know and have and thusbelieves in conformity because they were opposed to reasoning (Weirand John, 97). Peter Weir featured the issue of satisfaction that wasoriginally in Plato’s “Allegory of the cave” but found a way inwhich awareness could be unlocked through other people. The directorof the “Truman Show” borrows from Plato’s idea thatirrespective of how elaborate fortifications are hinderingindividuals from obtaining the truth, some will always freethemselves.
Inthe “Truman Show” introduction of fear and other hindrances totruth exist because modern man is believed to reason and work out fora solution as compared to the individuals who lived during Plato’stime (Janć, Petar, and Damir, 102). At the same time, a dome withmuch improvement in contemporary technologies has been used to matchthe needs of modern day’s life. Technologies have been used inprinting messages, TV broadcast, cameras among other technologies. InPlato’s “Allegory of the Cave” the metaphor of the cave is usedwhich matches the modern day`s dome but equivalent to the structuresthat existed during Plato’s time.
In“Truman Show,” one individual manages to struggle, persist andovercome the fear that had been instilled in him and thus freeinghimself just as it is in the Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave”(Weir and John, 97). From this information, it is clear that only afew individuals who can overcome may indeed overcome the bondage ofignorance. As such, this shows that process of gaining knowledge andwisdom to judge situations which according to Plato is the duty of aphilosopher is unique and can only be possible through perseverance,courage, and determination.
Theduration of imprisonment in both cases occur for an extensive period.For instance, the people in the cave were imprisoned right from thetime of their childhood while in Truman in the “Truman Show” wasan unwelcome baby detained from the time of his birth (Janć, Petar,and Damir, 94). This phenomenon shows that individuals may spendtheir entire life without acquiring knowledge, wisdom orself-awareness. In the “Truman Show,” the situation is improvedto match contemporary life because it takes teamwork to achievegreatness and success (Weir and John, 76). The reason is that,although Truman takes a long time to unlock the situation his reasonis opened by his spouse Sylvia. Accordingly, in the contemporarysociety, knowledge could easily be gained through teamwork andpersistence (Janć, Petar, and Damir, 87).
Thechaining of individuals in the Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave”could be likened to media-fictitious illusions in the “Truman Show”(Janć, Petar, and Damir, 93). The situation is improved in to meetthe needs of the contemporary society by addressing media excesseswhich are the most burning issues during the time that the movie wasacted. Forged landscape is created in Truman’s life is afabrication of the media. Besides, improved means of communicationthrough news, advertising, messaging greatly improve the situation asexpected in the modern society.
Likeour contemporary media landscape, the film becomes convincing andreal, with believable story lines and simulations (Weir and John,78). Improvements are munificently demonstrated in Truman genuinenessand proficiency as an actor. Truman’s “Truman Show” is a modernrepresentation of Plato’s “Allegory of the cave” wherecharacters, situations have been modernized to enhance understandingand conceptualization of the idea that it is possible to acquire theknowledge and truth. That only happens when one acquires knowledgeand wisdom through unchaining from folly and indifference (Janć,Petar, and Damir, 83).
Helen,Mirren. “TheTruman Show.”YouTube, Uploaded on 29,November, 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qxw5x8Rk7nQ
Janć,Petar, and Damir Boras. CriticalLearning in Digital Networks., 2015.
Jowett,Benjamin. Allegoryof the cave.Loss Angeles: Enhanced Media Publishing, 2017.
Weir,Peter, and John C. Tibbetts. PeterWeir: Interviews., 2014. Print.
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