the truman show symbolism

Lauren: Yeah. I know. Look, Truman, I’m not allowed to talk to you. You know. Truman Burbank: Yeah, well, I can understand, I’m a pretty dangerous character. -When Truman met Sylvia first time Everyone in the world has different characteristics and personalities. When many different characters make harmony together, it leads to great wealth in our lives. Not necessarily money, but the quality of life. However, every character around us cannot be wonderful and great to our lives.

In many different cases, some people are opposite to us, and that can bring us difficulties and pain. That is how our life goes, and that is how we try to overcome it. There are reasons why movies entertain us and excite us in fascinating ways; movies represent our lives. Many movies illustrate a world that we cannot reach but beside its circumstances, and the conflicts are similar. Therefore, the different characters that exist with possible circumstances in the movies tend to represent our lives.

In the film “The Truman Show” directed by Peter Weir (and written by Andrew Niccol, 1998) there are many different characteristic and circumstance examples of the Hero (Truman Burbank – Jim Carry), the Mentor (Lauren/Sylvia – Natascha Mcelhone), the Shadow (Truman’s fear and Cristof’s world – Ed Harris), and the Trickster (Meryl Burbank, Marlon, and all other civilian in Truman’s world – Laura Linney, Noah Emmerich and extras); thus, Joseph Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey theory is absolutely expressed within the Myth. “The Truman Show” is a 1998 fantasy comedy-drama film directed by Peter Weir and written by Andrew Niccol.

Casts include, Jim Carrey as Truman Burbank, as well as Laura Linney, Noah Emmerich, Ed Harris and Natascha McElhone. The film chronicles the life of a man who does not know that he is living in a constructed reality soap opera, televised 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to billions across the globe. Definitely, Truman Burbank is the Hero of the movie. Truman lives in a superficial world, where his life is surrounded by actors in a “fake” town. The town is enclosed in a giant dome decked out with high-tech simulations of the sun, the sky, the rain, and the wind are courtesy of the special effects department to create.

Truman alone who has no idea that he lives in a giant TV studio, as the rest of audiences watch him go from one stage situation to another in a nonstop telethon of reality programming the audience enjoys the pathos and the vicarious emotion. But into this fake heaven, unavoidably, appears a snake, the Shadow. After the staff makes mistakes that cause the invariability of the hallucination to break down, Truman figures out that his surroundings are full of staged scenes and events.

When he decides to escape, only to come up against both his own fears, leaving the superficial world, and fighting against the obstacles put in his way by the producer-director, Cristof; He acts as God in Truman’s life, making billions of traps to make it impossible for Truman to escape his created world. However, Truman stands against powerful storms and the obstacles set by Cristof, overcoming the Cristof’s mind. Ultimately, Truman successfully leaves the dome, leaving the audience in amazement. So the Cristof’s world and Truman’s fear are the Shadow of this movie.

Truman’s fear of water keeps him trapped on the island and forces him away from the outside world. This is the neurosis of agoraphobia that keeps this person locked in a false self. When he tries to grow into a fuller person in a real life, he comes up against the barrier of more defenses in the form of fire, the supposed radiation-leak and the people, who block him, catch him and take him back to his fake world. But he suffers through his fears and breaks through. He, however, overcomes these Shadows by his Mentor, Sylvia. Her name wasn’t Sylvia in Cristof’s world. She was one of the actresses using different name, Lauren Garlard.

However, she falls in love with Truman, and she tries to make him perceive the real world, where Truman thinks of as a TV show, before quitting the show. Truman wants to find her back, and he plans to go to Fiji because he heard from her face father that she’s moving out to Fiji, where turns out as a fake place. It motivates Truman to figure out outside world, where there is genuine relationship that Truman believes authentically. However, beside the Shadows, there are Tricksters named Marlon and Meryl Burbank in the movie, letting Truman be remained in the fake world.

Marlon is Truman’s best friend since they were seven years old. Truman always trusts and respects Marlon all the time. Truman always tries to get an advice form Marlon whenever he gets into trouble without knowing the fact that Marlon tries to keep him in a fake world, and this is what makes Marlon a trickster in the movie. So when Truman tries to find a real world other than TV show, Marlon deters Truman from finding one. Another trickster named Meryl who is Truman’s wife in the movie makes Truman think of her as his real wife, and she tries to make Truman stuck in the fake world.

Whenever Truman tries to leave, she prevents him from escaping the fake world in a same way that Marlon does to him. Therefore, Marlon and Meryl are huge obstacles to Truman. There are moments of Epiphany in the movie. It starts with the time when the staff’s mistaken older of Truman’s acting, which makes him realize something goes wrong. There are several motivations showing the epiphany such as meeting his father, checking the fake elevator that full staffs in, watching his wife’s unnatural specific commercial of the products, and being called by police of his name at the first time they met.

These are moments of Epiphany, but the most important moment of Epiphany comes out at the end of this movie. At the end, when Truman comes up against the enclosing wall and finds the door to the outside world, the movie producer still tries to make him have fear about the outside world and keeps him under his control. It is an interesting ironic moment when Truman takes steps to reach the door, just before the producer speaks to him; he is in a heaven-like setting.

Truman rejects this fake heaven and chooses to exile himself into the mundane world that is his natural home. He travels from fake, nature to true nature. “The Truman Show” has different kinds of characters, and they are expressed as the Hero, the Mentor, the Shadow, and the Trickster in the movie. These are symbols in expressing the thesis in this movie, which matches with the one of Joseph Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey theory of Myth. Therefore, Joseph Campbell gives great explanation regarding the Myth.

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