If you are writing a philosophy paper on the Truman Show and how it relates to Plato’s work, then you came to the right place. The following sample paper shows how there is a strong relationships between the two and it is backed up by contextual evidence. Feel free to use this sample work free of charge, but use the citation (provided below) if you are borrowing ideas for your own work.
The Truman Show and Plato’s Republic
In Plato’s Republic, the ancient Greek philosopher raises many questions pertaining to the basis of human existence. Centuries later, The Truman Show raised similar concerns, picturing Jim Carrey, the film’s protagonist, in an alternate reality. In this paper, I will analyze and decipher the connections between the philosophical arguments brought forth in The Truman Show and Plato’s Republic, most notably the Allegory of the Cave dialogue. There are many similarities between both the twentieth century film and Plato’s philosophical writing, especially dealing with physical and psychological reality as well as the need for intuition and understanding, philosophical facets highlighted at the conclusion of The Truman Show.
A human beings’ state of reality has long since been conceptualized by philosophers, even before Plato. In The Truman Show, Jim Carrey’s character, Truman, grows up in an entirely fictional lifestyle. He attends school, obtains friendships and a close family, and even begins a career path with a local company. Truman believes he lives the life of any average person his age; a life that is entirely plausible to his knowledge. Yet to the outside world, that is the global community who live beyond the dome in which the “actor” is kept within, Truman’s life is but a mere fantasy; his escapades are a form of entertainment, and he his filmed 24/7 with no understanding of his predicament, until late in the film. The film hence poses a wide variety of philosophical questions, specifically dealing with the complications of physical and psychological “reality,” as Truman has no conception or understanding of his place amongst the world, and thus his true identity. Finally, this allegory dates back thousands of years and is still relevant today.
The Truman Show Analogy
Intriguingly, The Truman Show seeks to illustrate questions of reality on widespread levels. As I previously mentioned, Truman’s life is that of a false world. He has no real friendships or family members, and is displaced in an atmosphere that is entirely fictional. The Truman Show digs deep into such predicaments, raising a distinct philosophical question whilst doing so: what is “reality?” While Truman is seemingly presented with an alternate reality, who is to say that such a reality is not the same for everyone else in the film? For example, just as Truman has difficulty conceptualizing his reality, as he is continuously filmed by small cameras, who is to say that we are all not being watched by cameras we cannot fathom or comprehend? Or even by forms technology that we do not even know exist? These are questions that The Truman Show raises, illustrative of the difficulties posed by notions of reality and physical existence.
However, this changes when Truman finally understands and begins to question his reality, as he seeks to answer and more appropriately understand his life towards the climax of the film. As Plato would have it, this understanding is correlative to understanding the Forms; he believes that after an individual idealizes and conceptualizations various things, such a person would be more educated than another. Plato’s Allegory of the Cave is representative of that belief. On many occasions in the Republic, the philosopher notes that education will help a person progress both intellectually and even morally. Moreover, his conception of education was unparalleled during the time, as he believed that such teachings were the fabric of the “just city,” and were necessary for citizens to live the most just, or best, lives.
In Book VII, Plato finally introduces his famous Allegory, emphasizing that the person who questions the objects of things, and begins to learn and contemplate alternate realities will be the individual who breaks away from the cave’s shackles and become closer to true understanding. Thus, as Plato would have it, at the end of the film, when Truman finally questions the reality in which he is presented and attempts to leave the show’s set, he would be essentially leaving his cave, heightening his conceptualization of life and his perceived reality. These questions, according to Plato, enable a person to see the world in a more full demeanor, which is precisely what Jim Carrey’s character does in the film.
The symbolic representation of the Allegory of the Cave has endured since Plato’s first illustrations in 400 B.C.E. While The Truman Show may not have been explicitly based off of Plato’s Allegory, it nonetheless raises the same pertinent questions of human existence and alternate realities that the philosopher once did as well. While we can never fully understand the full context of our realities, philosophers such as Plato architecturally illustrate that knowledge and questioning can lead a person to a more understood, or better, life, just as that of Truman in the The Truman Show.
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