Symbolism in the Truman Show

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Analyse how one or more symbols were used to present an important idea or ideas. In The Truman Show, directed by Peter Weir, three recurring symbols were used to present important ideas. These motifs; the dome, the circle and the chest present important themes, such as entrapment, repetition and an extreme invasion of privacy. These motifs are evident throughout the film, and reinforce the superficial nature of Truman’s life. The dome; the enclosure where Truman has lived his whole life; presents the important idea of entrapment. Truman’s hometown of Seahaven is a television set, built under a giant arcological dome in Hollywood. Due to his extreme aquaphobia; forced upon him by his father’s tragic drowning, Truman has no way of leaving this isolated community. Truman is trapped, with no means of escaping his superficial life. Peter Weir utilises bird’s eye view shots over the dome to demonstrate the dome in its entirety, and the inescapable nature of it. This shot shows the audience the true cage-like appearance of Truman’s life. His life in the dome is comparable to animals in a zoo; he has no privacy, no escape, and is being observed 24/7. The dome not only symbolises entrapment; it is the trap which Truman is caught in. The circular motifs represent the important idea of repetition in Truman’s life. Just like the cycle of actors who pass his house “Lady… flowers… dented Beetle”, his life is revolving in a never-ending circle. Truman’s life is boring; his days have little variability from one day to the next. Truman yearns for change and adventure, but his aspirations are never reached as he continues on this cycle. The filmmaker has used other circular motifs, such as the revolving door and the round-about, observed form a bird’s eye view shot, to develop the symbolism of Truman’s life being a continuous, repetitive loop. These motifs develop the audience’s understanding of Truman’s life, as they sympathise with his need for change and adventure. Our...
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