Themes of Existentialism

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The Themes of Existentialism in “The Shawshank Redemption”

Existential themes can be found in so many different mediums, such as in TV show, books, poems, music, dance and the list can go on and on. I must be fair in saying that “The Shawshank Redemption” is on a small list that I have as favorites. This film is full of existential platforms. The main character displays actions that lead us to believe that he believes he is free. The supporting character has a completely different view as to how he believes he is free. Together however, they are searching for the same thing, hope, which ironically one thinks he has it and the other denies him-self of even thinking he has it. Andy and Red are the two main characters and who are used to off set these contrasts and play an integral part for the writer to communicate how each see’s not only each other but also how they themselves see each other. Early on, in a couple of particular scene, the writer begins to give you an existential glimpse of the main characters spirit. The first, happens in the court room where Andy has a blank stare about himself and in the second, we see Andy smiling on the rooftop while gazing at his prison mates. The writer wants us to believe that Andy is having an out of body experience during the trial that puts him in jail for the murder of his wife and her lover, which we know he did not commit. A kind of a “WTF” moment, if you will. In the second scene Andy gives some advice to the captain of the guard concerning money while they are tarring a roof. For the advice and to draw up the legal paper work, Andy requests for the captain to buy beer for his “Co-workers”. Andy’s friend, Red simply states," we sat and drank with the sun on our shoulders and felt like free men. Hell, we could have been tarring the roof of one of our own houses. We were the lords of all creation. As for Andy he spent that break hunkered in the shade, a strange little smile on his...
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