Allegory of the Cave in “the Truman Show”

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Schmidlapp 1
Joe Schmidlapp
17 October 2012
Allegory of The Cave in “The Truman Show”
It is undeniable that Plato has influenced generations and civilizations long after his life. Plato has inspired countless philosophers, writers, poets and intellectuals. Specifically, Plato inspired Andrew Niccol to write the script for The Truman Show based on The Allegory of the Cave. The Truman Show puts a modern twist on the Allegory: a young man Truman is unknowingly the subject of a reality show where everyone he has ever known is an actor. He has no idea that everyone and everything he has ever known: his family, friends, job and even the island on which he resides was created by the show’s director, Christof. Truman’s journey to discovering the reality of his situation closely parallels The Allegory of the Cave. Plato’s Allegory of the Cave is the transcript of a discussion led by Socrates regarding human enlightenment. In a cave, several prisoners are positioned and restrained from childhood so that all they are able to see is a wall onto which their shadows are projected. Without any was to refute their belief, they surmise that these shadows are their comrades and that they too are shadows. This is their reality. Then, one of the prisoners is freed and begins to explore his surrounding. Suddenly, he is shown that his reality is not as it was before. There is an entire cave, not just a wall. There are other objects and people; not just shadows. Then, the prisoner is forced out of the cave and into the rest of the world. He now sees the world for what is really is and his reality is further changed. The more he learns, the closer to the full truth he gets. Truman represents the freed prisoner in his “cave”. He first “knows” that he is Truman Burbank; he was born to his mother and his father, whom he lost at sea on a boating trip gone awry. He has been lifelong friends with Marlon. He is married to Meryl Burbank. Then, suspicious events begin to...
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