Top-Rated Free Essay

Power

Topics: The Truman Show, Peter Weir, William Shakespeare, Ed Harris, 52nd British Academy Film Awards, Question / Pages: 4 (943 words) / Published: Nov 21st, 2013
With control comes power and power becomes a need for control. It is in our human nature that we feel a sense of individuality and in essence total self-empowerment of our own lives. No one is born with the aspiration to be submissive, though we are all born with the longing to lead our lives to our own fate. Though when all is lost, what is left? By exploring concepts and themes within the Shakespearean play “King Lear” and the film “The Truman Show”, we are able to comprehend a clearer understanding of power and control, specifically its effects on mental health and success through the utilisation of linguistic and film devices.
A lack of power results in the downfall of various aspects of our lives, particularly within our physiological well-being, resulting in a loss of self-empowerment and identity. In King Lear, Act 3 Scene 2, Lear rages and curses at the storm that metaphorically represents the physical, moral and psychological turmoil he endures triggered by his daughters and loss of power. Shakespeare’s use of personification heightens and pieces the frustration and anger filled by Lear. “Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! Rage, blow!” This demonstrates the abuse Lear is suffering from the betrayal of his daughters by comparing them to nature. There he was exposed to the elements, being ripped apart just as his daughters have done to him, turning their backs on him when he needed protection and ripping his humanity to pieces as he was blinded by their lies of undying love. It is evident that Lear has obliviously lost his sanity by rampaging at the storm, pleading it to release thunder as he is at his most vulnerable self being exposed. Blinded by his own power and loss of himself during the storm; he becomes less than human, ultimately affecting his mental health.
This mental and loss of sanity is also illustrated in “The Truman Show” where a man leads a life that was created entirely for him. Truman lacks in control over the events that occur in his life as they are entirely controlled by a conservative media crew. He slowly becomes insane as he realises eerie events occurring at certain times, such as his prediction of a woman on a bike, a man with flowers and a Volkswagen beetle passing his house. This is exemplified by the director through the use of diegetic sound of Truman yelling, rejoicing with tribal noises and emphasising his laughter upon proving this theory to his “wife”. The audience is positioned to view Truman as a completely changed character full of insanity and anxiety which has been caused by a drastic change of perspective on his “normal life”. This is further conveyed through the melodramatic tone and repetition of the dialogue, “They just go round and round. Round and round” Both texts consequently highlights the importance of control and power over an individual’s own life to benefit their mental and psychological being.
A life with boundaries and restrictions is one where individuals have no freedom and choice within their lives, limiting their achievements and success, as there is a constant longing to fulfil their destiny. During Shakespeare’s period, stereotypically women were to be submissive. However, in King Lear, Cordelia spoke the truth of her love for her father and challenged the power of social constructs at the time, highlighting her self-empowerment of building the audacity to go against her father’s wishes. “Why have my sisters husbands if they say they love you all?” Through the rhetorical question, Cordelia ponders upon her fellow sister’s undying love for their father by questioning if the mutual love they declare is shared between their husbands as well. The audience is positioned to see Cordelia as opposing her sister’s love and her father’s request, enhancing her self-empowerment and success by escaping the power of the stereotypical society.
Additionally, “The Truman Show” portrays self-empowerment. Despite Truman’s fear of the sea specifically storms, he hides away from society and cameras to find himself setting sail on a journey to discover the truth of his world. He gathers courage and self-empowerment by overcoming his fears, to achieve what he has been longing to do for all his life – explore. This is depicted through the high angle shot of Truman during the thunderstorm out in sea as he shouts, “Is that the best you can do?” as if he was speaking directly to someone. The high angle shot looks down on Truman, indicating that he is being looked down upon at his most vulnerable and powerless state creating a dramatic atmosphere, though his rhetorical question contradicts this as he mocks the weather. Through this, viewers are able to comprehend that Truman is finally himself as an individual as he is achieving what he had set out to succeed without the restriction from the society he lives in and the control of the media crew. Both texts have successfully proven that by developing self-empowerment, it can break an individual free from their boundaries.
Personally, both texts have ultimately heightened my understanding of the concept of power. Shakespeare and Peter Weir have included language and film techniques to convey strongly their own perspectives of power during their time period. Whether a lack of power caused King Lear and Truman to lose their sanity or boundaries restricting Cordelia and Truman to escape their realities to build on their self-empowerment, these two texts have taught me and proven that power isn’t just all about being in control, it is the way individuals choose to use their power which is reflected through their psychological well-being and success in future.

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