Shadows of Reality versus Cave
Truman Show is similar to Plato’s Cave because in both scenarios characters spend almost their whole lives understanding shadows of reality. In Plato’s Cave, the prisoners later experience reality when one of them escapes from the cave and returns to inform them about the experiences outside the cave. In Truman Show, Truman realizes the fallacy of his live reality, and therefore, he cannot look at his role the same way again (Brearley and Andrea 433).
Truman’s exit from the cave to another world seems impossible until he uses various strategies. The first strategy is based on the realization that his whole world is being controlled or set on a self-clock, and this awareness makes him more interested in experiencing life outside the cave or island. Upon this realization, he predicts actions that happen in the real world including a lady riding a bike, a man carrying flowers, and the passing of a Volkswagen beetle. These predictions come to pass, and this marks Truman’s sight of the daylight that his idea of what is real is challenged and presented with something more than what he wants to believe to be true. This sets the stage for a completely new dimension, which influences his exit from the island believed to be a “cave.”
Another strategy used by Truman to exit the “cave” is acting spontaneously. In the show, when Truman acts spontaneously, a road is conveniently blocked to keep him from leaving the island. Truman reverses and drives away from the road but he finds out that the road is clear when he returns to the same point. He realizes that such actions are not common in the real world but only in the cave, and this makes him more interested in exiting the cave for the real world (Brearley and Andrea 436). In the show, Truman’s spontaneous actions allow him to test his theory about his reality. He becomes more concerned when he realizes that people prevent him from leaving the island because of his spontaneous actions.
To prevent Truman from leaving the island, his lover convinces him during their stop at the bridge that he cannot drive over water. This is Truman’s first encounter with such a situation, and he does not know what to do. With the thought that his lover is preventing his exit from the island, he forces her to drive while he accelerates the car to cross the bridge. Through this, his exit from the island becomes a reality.
Several other barriers prevent Truman’s exit from the island. For instance, immediately after crossing the bridge, there is the fire across the road, which tends to prevent his exit. However, Truman drives through the fire despite the imminent risks, a move that keeps his hopes of exiting the island alive.
Truman’s exit is later curtailed by an alleged explosion at Seahaven Nuclear Power Station (Brearley and Andrea 438). His is angered and agitated by the sight of the explosion and believes it is an attempt to prevent his exit from the “cave.” Police officers at the station prevent him from crossing the scene and order him to go back to the island. He jumps out of the car and runs towards a nearby forest. His attempts to escape are unfruitful as officials at the scene of the explosion chase after him. His lover makes no attempt to help him out, an indication that she is strongly against Truman’s decision of leaving the island for a new world where he can experience reality.
Brearley, Michael, and Andrea Sabbadini. “The Truman Show: How’s it going to end?” The International Journal of Psychoanalysis, vol. 89.2, 2008, pp. 433-440.